Swimsuit Shopping {Part One: The Gray Hair}

There are two horrors no woman can escape: swimsuit shopping and gray hairs.  To endure both simultaneously with a toddler in tow should be enough punishment for a lifetime of sins (including all those I have yet to imagine and enjoy). 
Down here in the Sunshine State swimsuit season starts early.  Really early. If you don’t get your pale, flabby behind into stores while there’s still a nip in the air every decent suit will be long gone.  I didn’t want to end up at the pool party play date in a flowery control-panel suit meant for my Great Aunt Betty or hit the beach in a knot of neon dental floss geared towards anorexic Girls Gone Wild, so I dragged the Kiddo out shopping.

As a SAHM on a shoestring budget, I don’t have the luxury of hitting the department stores or swimsuit boutiques which feature pricey suits that supposedly flatter any figure. Instead I am relegated to scouring the no-frill discount chain stores (a la Ross, TJ Maxx and of course Target), and usually with a whining toddler in tow.

On this particular sad shopping spree, I snatched up every suit that looked like it had a fighting chance of fitting my awkward shape, praying there was one I could wear in public without a sarong or shame. I hauled Kiddo past the toy display and snagged the biggest fitting room with only a slight pang of guilt. Okay, I know technically it is supposed to be a handicapped fitting room, but isn’t shopping with a toddler enough of an impediment to qualify?  I parked Kiddo, some Matchbox cars, and the magic baggie of goldfish on the tiny bench facing away from me so he wouldn’t stare at me like I was a sideshow freak.  Off went my clothes…and my dignity.

I firmly believe every mother should be handed a certificate in the delivery room to come back for a little “sprucing up” after her kid is weaned to avoid tortuous situations like this. It wasn’t pretty. I wasn’t pretty. The white walls and harsh fluorescent lighting magnified each lump, shiny stretch mark, and stray leg hair. It was freezing cold. I had enough goosebumps to resemble a plucked chicken.

I discarded the first two choices as soon as I could perform the necessary contortionist moves to get them off.  Torn white granny-panties would have been more flattering.  The third suit…well, it wasn’t atrocious. At least it covered the saggy post-pregnancy elephant skin no exercise could erase.  Stretch marks were covered.  Muffin top was at a minimum.  Granted, the black fabric made me look as if I had been on display in a funeral parlor for a few days (I’m a far cry from Nicole Kidman’s creamy pale skin, I’m more Sunday Adams in need of a wax). It matched my black socks. It could have been worse.

I bribed the now bored and whining Kiddo with a lollipop for a few more moments of contemplation.

I shook my hair out of a ponytail and mugged like a Victoria Secret swimsuit model wannabe, boobs pushed out, head down, eyes looking up all sultry. As I glanced up in the mirror a strange sparkle along my hairline caught the light. I tried to brush it off, thinking it must be a piece of glitter. It didn’t budge.
No,” I whispered, getting closer to the mirror. “NOOO!” My mouth froze in a tight O, my saucers-sized eyes glued to the horrible thing sprouting from my scalp. I turned my head upside-down and scratched at it, trying to shake it loose. I stood up and the let the strands fall back into the natural part. It was still there… No, no, no…I’m too young… It CAN’T be…
It was.
I had a gray hair.
Technically, it was more silver than gray, but it was attached to my 33-years-young scalp. I started feeling dizzy. The walls closed in and I began to sway.
Kiddo sensed my panic and wrapped himself around my naked thigh like a octopus.
I had to pull the hair out. It could not remain. It kept slipping between my fingers as I tried to yank it from my treacherous head. “Get off me dammit!” My elbow smacked the mirror since I couldn’t seem to hold onto the evil thing.
Startled, Kiddo proceeded to wail. I could feel everyone in the store glaring at me through the flimsy walls, wondering if I was in there beating my kid or shoplifting.
In a desperate last ditch effort I looped the hair around my finger and yanked with all my might. The offending hair was torn from my scalp. I, however, lost my balance and fell flat on my rear. Kiddo collapsed on my bare stomach sobbing hysterically, probably scarred for life. His gooey red lollipop adhered to the swim suit. I had to buy it now.
I couldn’t decide if I should laugh or have a meltdown of my own.
Yes, I saved it and taped it into my journal.  I’m weird that way.

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30 thoughts on “Swimsuit Shopping {Part One: The Gray Hair}

  1. Jennifer

    I feel for you sister…..I however have been dealing with gray hair since the sweet young age of 25, I blame my daughter. The bathing suit thing scares the bejesus out of me…the thought of my white butt in a swimsuit is terrifying. Great funny post. I love your writing style.
    My recent post Writing Sheds

  2. Mandi

    Same here, the story of my life it seems. Grey hair and swimsuits are the things that strike fear in me. I am 33 now and have had a grey streak in my hair since about 25. WTH? Not fair! Even more not fair is that small streak has now turned into quite a lot of grey strands of hair all over my head. I'm too vain at age 33 to let it go grey so hair color is my friend!!!!! 😀

    Followed you over here from the Tuesday followback.
    ” target=”_blank”>http://www.smileandmamawithme.blogspot.com

  3. Debbie McCormick

    HAHAHAHA – love this. You can always color your hair. Over the counter hair color is a staple at my house. And what is it with the florescent lights in fitting rooms? No one looks good in those lights. PUT the peach lights up there that make everyone look like a sexy vixen, already! Geez.

    Love your blog and following you from Fun Tuesday Hop. http://www.mccormickmadness.com

  4. stephanie

    I LOVE this post!! Oh, and there is something I need to explain… I just "liked" it on FB but apparently my husband was logged in so HE liked it on FB! Ha! Oops. I'm sure his friends will love reading about your bathing suit shopping. When you see a Neil Armstrong (yes, that is his name) … know that it's really me!
    My recent post Real world insights for proudly imperfect moms

  5. heather

    Nice to meet you from the hops.
    I wish I could be more sympathetic, but mine are just about all gray. I tried to make the most of it and convince myself that it blended in with my dirty blonde hair as highlights, but my mom put at end to that kind of denial.
    So did you pick up some hair color on the way to the register with the gooey swimsuit?

  6. Babymama


    Just stopping by to say hello and have a laugh.

    Is there anything worse than swimsuit shopping? Seriously. Who looks good in those mirrors?

    Sorry about the gray. I recommend destroying it immediately and pretending it never happened.

    My recent post The ONE!!!!

  7. Barbara

    I agree that we should all get a certificate for a "tune-up" after the baby is born. I'm sorry about your gray hair, I still remember my first and I was devastated, luckily I wasn't swimsuit shopping at the time so the blow wasn't as hard.
    My recent post These are the moments

  8. Melissa

    If that experience isn't gray-hair-inducing, I don't know what is! I totally agree that some "sprucing up" should come with birthing babies. When the Hubs goes in to get fixed, I think I should get some sprucing. 🙂 I buy all my swim suits online because swim suit shopping is torture. I find like 10 of them that might work, buy them all, pay a crap load in shipping charges, try them on, return the ones I hate, and pay another ship load in shipping charges. But at least I avoid the dressing room. Visiting from the time travel.
    My recent post Naptime makes me fat and broke

  9. melindaraineythompson

    I feel your pain. I got a chapter out of this topic myself in my first book, Southern Women Aging Gracefully. It's called "The Swimsuit Dilemma." I actually couldn't remember which book and had to go look that up . . . how embarrassing is that? Clearly, we share the same sense of humor! I think this is the funniest work I've seen since joining SITS.

  10. Katie

    Hahaha, I love this! I found my first gray hair at…oh man, I don't remember, 20? 21? I'm only 24 now and I can't remember! Gosh my memory is gone! But I love your reaction, because that was exactly how I reacted, except in my home, and the scream scared my entire family!

    Happy SITS Day!
    My recent post Layouts, Layouts and More Layouts!

  11. aka_vinobaby

    20? OMG! You poor thing. Although, I've been coloring my hair since then {shh} so technically there could have been some nasty greys creeping around I just never noticed. Nope. Denial. Thanks for dropping by.

  12. happykidshappymom

    Congratulations on your SITS day! 🙂 As for swimsuits — this is one reason I am glad I live in New England. Nothing but sweatpants and parkas up here! And as for gray hairs, hold onto your hat, because I got my first two (yes, two at once) when I was SIXTEEN. It's in my genes. Your post was bright and funny and I'm happy you were featured today!
    My recent post Night Skating


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