Swimwear: The Worst Wear Of Them All

There comes a time every year where I feel my mood falter.

I wake up feeling sick to the stomach and as I step outside, I know the horrid truth: it is starting to get too warm to wear stockings and Dr Marten’s boots.

Every year when this happens, I rush to the nearest computer and type in my least favourite Google search term: “swimwear” (my most favourite Google search term is “cat eating with chopsticks”).

I have lived in Sydney for something like six years now and I’ve been to the beach probably four times. I’m not a huge beach fan, I am prone to freak accidents and I’m not sure I want to tempt a shark attack. However, Sydney is a sweat pit in summer. It gets freakishly humid, I’m talking I’ve been to Bangkok and I didn’t find it that much different to here, so occasionally a girl might like to cool off.

Swimwear shopping is fraught with issues for most women I know, and according to my friend Daniel Stone (no not that Daniel Stone, the other one) for men too, if they happen to have child-bearing hips.

According to my very scientific studies, swimwear designers only believe the following body types exist:

  1. Short and stacked and slim;
  2. Tall and slim and flat-chested;
  3. Short and slim and flat-chested. 

For everyone else they design a token tropical-themed muumuu kaftan-esque thing in a synthetic material that is guaranteed to slow cook you in your own juices after half an hour in the sun.

This is the woman I see most often when browsing for swimwear: 

As you can see, she’s very happy because she’s been able to buy a flattering pair of pink swimmers to wear to the beach this summer. Her breasts are of a size that she can look modest in swimwear. She’s never had to fight to keep her tatas covered even when doing nothing more than sitting on the sand, nor flashed a man and his two young children when exiting a water-slide (family holiday, Ballina, some time in the late ’90s).

Now, I don’t know what she’s got going on downstairs, maybe she’s a dramatic pear-shape, but I think it’s a safe bet to say she’s not struggling with life’s great ‘to boardshort, or not to boardshort’ question.

Here’s my problem[s]:

  1. I’m tall, taller than average so if it’s a one-piece, it needs to be long enough to avoid the danger of being sawn in half vertically;
  2. I have junk in my trunk. My front and back trunk. Which is a poor metaphor for being generously endowned in the butt and chest area, mostly in the chest.
  3. I’ve lost a bunch of weight, but not enough to be like, ‘Hey! Here is stomach skin for you, general public!’

So basically, I have a whole heap going on and judging by what I’ve found online, my options are to either spend the entire summer flashing people, or buy a wetsuit.

Last Weekend of August

I had a super exciting spontaneous kind of weekend that’s left me with a ringing headache and a celebrity crush on Bruce Willis.

On Friday night I went with some lady friends to Ms G’s in Kings Cross. I’ve been there once before and the food is pretty great. I would highly recommend the grilled corn on the cob with parmesan, the steak tatare and the evocatively named dessert, ‘Stoner’s Delight 2.0’.

They also have amazing bubble tea cocktails. I really like the piña colada.

On Saturday I had lunch with Mush and my housemate, Katie. We went to Twelve, my brunch place of choice in Newtown, mostly because they have pancakes and bacon and hash browns and most importantly, an amazing cinnamon, pear vodka and apple juice cocktail.

I accidentally dressed as a pirate.

Afterwards Katie and I pottered around at home until Mush came to take me to get a tattoo which I’d decided upon at brunch. I went back to Mischief Moon because I’ve used them before and like their service.

There’s really no story behind this one, I read a lot and I think ampersands are gorgeous. I felt like I needed to do something a bit spontaneous and I’ve been needing the space to be myself a lot lately, I’ve felt cramped and confused a lot this year and there’s something nice about doing something for no-one else but me.

I sent a picture of it to Mum with ‘Sorry!’ attached and she sent the most gorgeous reply: As far as the new tatt is concerned, I might not get one myself but you are you and that is who I love. Don’t apologise for being you.

I think that’s exactly what I needed to hear right now and what I’ll be thinking about from now on.

On Saturday night Katie and her friend Robbie went to a costume party with an Australian film theme. Katie went as a BMX Bandit:

Robbie went as Pharlap:

Sunday was lazy until Mush and I went to check out Matt’s new place in a converted warehouse and Matt and Jamie made cocktails and pulled beef nachos and we ate a cheese and watched Die Hard which I’ve somehow never seen.

Cocktails!

Tequila!

Nachos!

Fancy in-floor lighting!

Skull boyfriends!

A+++ weekend, would do again.

Weighty Issues.

*deep breath*

This is going to sound really strange, but I had not noticed my weight loss in photos until today and I feel very nervous and kind of eiiip about posting these, but they don’t really just represent weight loss, but huge life changes which should be acknowledged and celebrated.


September 2009

I think this was probably around my biggest. I actually quite like this photo, but wow. I don’t think I realised until I saw this today where my weight had actually peaked.


June 2010

I’d started to lose weight at this stage, without really trying, but clearly I still had a loooong way to go. I remember this wedding, where I was taking photos, and the skirt I’m wearing was cutting into me a bit. I wore it the other day and it’s so loose it falls off now.


June 2012

My weight has bobbed around this level all year, which is around 10kgs lighter than the end of last year. I still have more to lose, but it is so much less scary to need to lose weight from this point than before, when it seemed impossible.

Most of my weight loss has been accidental, but it’s nice to be in a head space where I want to keep going and can see results.

So yay to that, I guess!

*runs away and hides*

Uncertainty about MEN

In the past 12 months I’ve had more needles sunk into my veins than I thought possible, I’ve had more body fluids collected and analysed than I knew I had in me. I’ve had blood samples lost and re-done, lugged urine samples around on public transport and quietly loved my housemate for never once complaining about the mysterious 4-litre bottles than appear and disappear from our fridge.

I have had two ultrasounds, a CAT scan and bone density scan. I have felt like my veins are on fire from iodine chugging through them and have cried more than once because of claustrophobia.

During one particularly trying time earlier in the year, every test came back diagnosing me with something new that required follow up tests. I was seeing doctors on both sides of the bridge at least twice a week for a good solid month.

I took stress leave from work and stayed with my parents and acted as Chief Chook Guardian and Egg Collector more than once.

There’s been silver linings. I can pee into anything you want me to now, I’m pretty much at the point where I can’t claim to be scared of needles anymore, I can tell you how many layers of clothing you’re allowed to leave on for most scans, I’ve read a lot of books in waiting rooms with old men who eye me suspiciously and whose medical histories I have invented to pass time, I have realised my Russian doctor isn’t cursing me when she ends a appointment with a thick ‘ … good luck’, but is actually wishing me luck (which is unsettling in it’s own right, but never as much so as thinking you’re being cursed).

I have one more ultrasound to go, and the results of 100,000,000 tests to get back and then I think I’m done.

I mentioned once before that I was being tested for something called multiple endocrine neoplasia, which I have no definite diagnosis of yet, and I think the stats are swinging in my favour to miss that one. What I do have is rare strand of a genetic disorder called primary hyperparathyrodism. It’s not so scary. Mostly my parathyroid glands are sucking the calcium away from my bones and into my blood. Stupid parathyroid glands! My bones, they need the calciums!

Nothing is being done to treat it at the moment, but sometime later down the track, probably early next year, I’m going to have the glands removed, which is a neck operation which will leave me with a scar that I plan to claim is the result of a Russian Necktie that I got after a naked fight in a bath house.

I don’t have a fantastic history with operations and surgical gowns, so expect tales involving accidentally exposing myself to strangers while I struggle against anesthetic and counting backwards from ten.

eHorrible

I was sitting at work today when an ad for eHarmony came on and a bright and bubbly woman with pink boxing gloves told me all about how she’s just so keen to have fun and meet people and have a healthy, active life. I smiled at her, not because I still believe people in the TV can see me, I got over that years ago, but because these eHarmony ads tell me we women all want the same thing and we can get it with the combination of shiny, happy personalities and eHarmony. eHarmony ads lead me to believe that by the weekend, I too could be making love while ‘Careless Whisper’ plays quietly on the combination CD/tape deck in the corner of a suburban bedroom with matching pine bedside tables.

My eHarmony profile would go something like this:

“Hi I’m Julia and I’m 29. I go to the gym just like every second person alive and I hate it. I don’t do classes because frankly? Gym staff have never been that friendly and I don’t like meeting new people or having to ask questions about how to do things.

Sure, I like having meals with people, but I don’t share food. I’ve never understood that. Why would I want to share my chicken and cashew nut stir-fry with you? I order it because I love it, not because I feel indifferent to it. I want to eat it all.

Do you call your friends “The Boys” and do you expect me to refer to my friends as “The Girls”? Yeah, this isn’t going to work out.

I’ve never really understood online dating. So I made this quirky little profile about habitually getting my head stuck to things and how I like to read books and how I’d shag Christopher Hitchens given half a chance and a time machine and you think “Oh ok, mildly amusing” and then we have a date and we have to sit and make small talk and pretend the whole shenanigans isn’t really about sizing each other up in the first seven seconds of the date and trying to imagine each other naked before deciding it’s too gross to contemplate and then choke down a dinner one-handed while frantically using the other to text a friend to make a fake emergency call to get us out of having to do the awkward end-of-date “Sooooo, well this was … fun. Yes! Fun, I had a fun time and you seem like a fun girl and I’ve got to head off and meet The Boys now, but ahhh, nice to meet yo- TAXI!”?

I’m not sure about sundresses and bikes and you’d have to understand that I take my ladyfriends on dates to Pizza Hut all-you-can-eat and we stay so late and eat so much that we get kicked out that I get obsessive about things like how much James Carville and Hunter S Thompson look alike and how weird the word ‘couch’ is if you stare at it for too long.

I also don’t like pink boxing gloves. I don’t want to do sissy boxing. If I’m going to box, I want it to be in some kind of sweat dungeon amongst men who don’t like women very much and to whom I have to prove myself able to roll with the punches so to speak. Initially there’d be some culture clashes as we awkwardly negotiate the unisex bathroom situation, but begrudgingly they’d teach me to throw a few combinations, help me strap my hands and provide a fatherly shoulder to cry on when one of you assholes breaks my heart. Then we’d hit the bags and they’d start calling me ‘kid’ and I’d have them all over for Christmas lunch when I’ve discovered they’re all estranged from their adult children and fed up wives.

I can’t take my clothes off because of poor tattoo decisions in my teenage years and I feel safest wearing grandma underpants. I still dress like I listen to Hole every day mostly because I still do listen to Hole every day.  I’m also not very good at makeup and although I know the white stain on my shirt today is deodorant, to you and everyone else, it probably looks like a body fluid and let me just be upfront about this: I don’t really care. Today I look like I have meth face because despite years of reading Seventeen magazine profiles of Niki Taylor, I never quite stick to the golden rule of supermodeldom: don’t touch your face with your hands.

Small children and men seem to like my chest, but let’s be honest, its glory days are past and it’s all downhill from here. Literally.”.