Like most women, I'm not a big fan of shopping for swimsuits. I'd much rather spend my day eating cream cheese and looking at pictures of rashes on Instagram. Of course, this is why my current suit is so old, it once voted for JFK. Plus, the long wool skirt gets kind of stinky in the sun.
But fortunately, there are expert swimsuit buying guides to help apprehensive women like me shop for a new suit. You really can't avoid these guides because they come out every year in almost every women's magazine. I've even written a couple of these guides myself, hoping to catch the attention of the people who make Miraclesuits so I can tell them to change their name. Obviously if their suits actually performed miracles, my pool water would now be a nice, buttery chardonnay. I really hate false advertising.
I also hate these swimsuit guides. They're supposed to "help" women find a suit that makes them feel like The Princess of the Waterpark, but what they actually do is make women's self-esteem crash and burn before they've even set foot in the badly-lit dressing room at Macy's. (Also, why don't those dressing rooms keep tissues and a bottle of Jack on hand during the summer months? Seems like a no-brainer to me, department store fools.)
Now, before these guides came into being, women used to be content knowing they needed to lose a few pounds here or there. Knowing their one or two "problem areas." But then these experts popped up and told us, "Baby, it's worse than you think. Way, way worse. You have no idea, but we do because we are Fashion Experts who know how to spell 'Givenchy'." Then they told us to choose our swimwear based on the fruit we most resembled.
Are you an apple? Wear this suit.
Are you a pear? Wear this suit.
Are you a dented can of fruit cocktail? Stay indoors, asshole. You make me sick.
Suddenly women were no longer human-shaped. No, we were something that escaped from the produce section. Not the organic produce section, either. More like the produce section that's covered in DDT and Agent Orange. So, being fucking loser fruit, we were advised to only wear one-piece suits with bright colors on the top that drew the eye away from our massive fruit guts.
Only the Celery were allowed to wear bikinis.
But you know what? We got used to it. We even started to label our friends this way. "Hey, Pear. Thanks for joining us at the pool! Is Watermelon bringing snacks or is it Green Apple's turn? Uh-oh. Kumquat might be drowning, gotta go." And it was fine. It was good. Until Redbook magazine unexpectedly flipped the switch.
In their June 2014 issue, Redbook has a swimsuit buying guide called "Meet the SLIM Suits" and three pages of suggested suits by body type. But guess what? This time they weren't happy to just categorize womankind by Fruit Type. Oh, no. That's so passe! Yawn! Instead they want women to really, really know their figure flaws. And if we don't know them, all we need to do is stand in front of a full-length mirror with this List of Shame and we'll soon find out how disgusting we really are:
Top-heavy + tummy
Petite + big bust
Wide hips + flat butt
Really tall + long torso
Small bust + belly pooch
Flat chest + no hips
Thick waist + full rear
Wide hips + love handles
Short torso + tummy
Classic pear shape
Plus-size apple shape
Post-baby belly pooch
Chesty + thick waist
Flat butt + no hips
Droopy bust + short legs
It's like the Value Menu of Sexiness. And it's so hard to choose which one you are! I mean, what if you fit into more than one category? Can you mix and match? Pick and choose? If you're a Curvy Hourglass with Wide Hips + Flat Butt, do you wear two suits? Three? Can it be a la carte? And how long do you have to stand in front of the mirror examining your flaws and weeping before you can hit the mall? What if your body is so repulsive that it takes too long and you completely miss summer? What then, Redbook? Will you at least send us XXXL t-shirts to wear during our intimate moments? It's the least you can do, I think.
Of course, maybe I'm overreacting a bit because there are never swimsuit guides like this for men. None. You know how a man chooses a swimsuit? "Small, Medium, Large: Pick." (Unless, of course, they're European. But let's not get into those Speedo freaks right now because those men are the complete opposite of "low self-esteem.")
So maybe Redbook should consider spreading the self-hate wealth. Maybe they should raise the stakes and make men loath their bodies, too. After all, it's 2014. We can take pictures with our phones, for god's sake. We can shame everybody all day long with just the push of a button. It's the new age, people, and it's time for real equality. And it can start with swimsuits.
Men, which body type are you--choose wisely because it's super important for your Summer Success:
Beer belly + chicken legs
Moobs + flat butt
Plus size bowling ball
Broad shoulders + love handles
Barrel chest + Michelob pooch
Frosty the Snowman Inflatable
Non-existent ass + vagina knees
Thick thighs + sunken chest
Flabby arms + hairy pelvis
Monkey-like torso + thick calves
Droopy pecs + lady thighs
Back fat + stooped shoulders
Prepubescent Richard Simmons
Once everyone, male and female, feels like shit on the beach, we'll know we've advanced as a society. And that's a good thing for everyone.
Especially us Sour Apples + Droopy busts + flat asses.
Follow Wendi Aarons on Twitter: www.twitter.com/WendiAarons