Sex and the Single Fat Girl: Swimsuit Socializing
Posted by Guest in Loving Our Bodies,Plus-Size Fashion,Sex + Relationships
Finding your summer clothing comfort zone takes practice Image by hartman045

Nobody should have to make a first impression while wearing a swimsuit. This isnít just a fat girl problem Ė itís intimidating for every single person. The unstoppable weekend machine of warm weather activities is running on all cylinders right now. To complicate things, these barbecues, trips to the lake, and afternoons at the pool are frequently an open invitation to friends of friends. They're a great way to introduce new people into your group or get to know someone better, and you're likely to notice that some of these new-to-you friends are single. If you're as lucky as I am, they seem to crop up, unannounced, on that one weekend where you've finally worked up the courage to shed your sarong.

While I love and look forward to most of these activities, they all carry with them a kernel of anxiety that just won't go away. Why? Because they mean choosing between wearing what I know looks good on me but leaves me totally overheated, uncomfortable and stuck on the sidelines and joining the fun while wearing skin-baring things like bathing suits and shorts that expose some of my least favorite parts of me. In reality, those single new people either think you look hot (check out those curves!) or they don't care about what you look like, so we might as well (un)dress for the weather.

If I could tell you how to have unshakable confidence and feel secure in your beauty while running around mostly naked in public, I would. I'd also be fantastically wealthy. We worry about being too big. Other girls worry about not having curves. Guys worry about their man-boobs or hairy backs. It's a universal problem whose cure is mental, not at the gym or the surgeon's table. We have to realize that everyone sees us, all the time, and they already know what our bodies are like. You know what? That's okay. Get a swimsuit that flatters your good points, a pair of board shorts or sarong, and get out there! Find a compromise between comfort and being covered up that you can feel good about, because life is too short to put off having fun and enjoying the world around us.

I thought I had these unfounded fears beaten after spending every weekend last summer at the lake, until the guy I'm dating said I should get a bikini because, "Babe, you'd be so hot in one." I tried to tell him that they don't come in my size. He sent me a picture of someone much bigger than me in a white bikini. I told him I'd think about it but didn't want to go out in public in one. He said he wants to go to a water park for his birthday. I told him to get his head examined. And then the idea of having one Ė my first bikini ever Ė wouldnít leave me alone. Thatís how I found myself in line at Walmart late last night, a green string bikini - in my size - in hand. I couldnít try it on since the dressing rooms were closed, but at $15, I didnít really have an excuse not to try one. He loves it. I refuse to wear the bottoms where anyone other than him will see me. Weíre compromising: Iím going to be brave by wearing my modest tankini bottom with the bikini top at the apartment pool, but Iím wearing whatever I want to the water park because my comfort is more important to him than his eye candy. I still canít reconcile myself to the idea of me in a bikini as a desirable thing, but hey, thatís part of why Iím dating him, and I appreciate that he's helping me see myself through new, appreciative eyes.

The message that women should be more covered up the bigger and older their bodies get is a strong one in American culture. We are highly critical of ourselves, even when there's nothing to criticize, and I'm tired of that holding me back from having fun. The beaches I've been to in other countries have women of all ages and sizes running around topless and unashamed. I try to think of them because it helps me remember that my body is something to be enjoyed and appreciated ó at every phase of life. If grandmas can walk around wearing only bikini bottoms in Spain and Italy, surely I can relax around strangers at the water park in my tankini. When you go meet people for a backyard pool party this summer, I encourage you to chat up at least one person you haven't met before. Hold your head high and project the confidence you feel when you're wearing your favorite outfit. I think you'll find yourself feeling graceful and bold, no matter what you're wearing when you make a first impression. If you donít feel that way, at you can feel lucky that youíre not sitting in a hot tub in your first bikini, praying that your boobs stay contained within those little green triangles.