September 10, 2010


I'm going surfing this weekend. Exciting. I have been swimming recently (like, training) in an attempt to develop my subpar swimming skills. The whole thing has awoken some bad memories involving swimsuit malfunction, and created a new one.

2004. I moved to Dunedin, New Zealand for a year. In my first week there, I did the obligatory I'm an American With No Friends So I'm Going to the Beach by Myself Trip. It was sunny, the water was gleaming, I waded out into the ocean with all the screaming children and attempted to body surf for a while. I was wearing a bikini top and a ridiculous shin-length skirt because I'm self-conscious. After half an hour, I was blinded by salt and tired. A pale behemoth rising from the ocean, I turned, and fighting the current and my skirt, began to stagger to shore. I passed a man playing with a baby. He looked away with an expression similar to horror. I continued to pass families, children, and finally some tan snickering boys. The boldest yelped out, "Hey! Noice top." I looked down. My bikini top was not a top anymore. It was a twisted flora-print string under my boobs, tucked away and filled with sand.

I then went a few years without major mishap. One moment on the Washougal last summer but only after diving. That happens to everyone. Most people adjust underwater rather than waiting until they've stood up proudly, blowing water out of their nose, but apparently that's just not me.

And then. The training: Columbia Park Swimming Pool. Lap swim. I got this new one-piece. I want to be a swimmer and everyone knows that serious swimmers wear a one-piece. Liz is a serious swimmer. She has a one-piece, a cap, goggles, and an actual routine. Not just like, make it to that end, cling to the wall for a while, make it back to the shallow end, stand, gasp for breath, repeat. I feel successful if I don't get hung up on a lane divider. Anyway, after lap three, I did my typical shallow end routine of standing up and gasping for air. As did my right breast. In front of another lap swimmer who made a horrified expression and looked away. The one-piece purchase was a total failure.

So, here's the positive. I'm going to be wearing a wetsuit while surfing. It is thick and neoprene and extremely difficult to get any portion of my body in and out of it. The chances of my chest's exposure to open air are directly proportional to my chances of being ripped into pieces by a shark. Which, I think, are pretty small.


Elizabeth said...

I believe you may have mistaken 'shame' for being caught staring at a woman's nipple, for 'horror'.

Kyle said...