Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Fat Flashback #3

I don't know if this is technically a "fat" flashback, but here goes-

I was about 10 years old, and in a dressing room with my mother and little sister. We were on vacation in San Diego, and we were in a department store, trying on swimsuits.

My mother kept exiting, and coming back with armload after armload of bright flowery, stretchy stuff. My sister and I were usually dressed in matching or complimentary outfits at all times, although, since she is a few years younger than I am, I was finally beginning to balk at this. What looks cute on a six year old doesn't look so hot when you're ten.

Anyway, my sister was prancing in a bright turquoise suit with hot pink hibiscus on it (remember, this was the eighties!) She was obviously thrilled. She looked adorable. Mom handed me the matching suit in my size, and I managed to yank it on- but not before I noticed her startled gaze alighting on my rear end.

I'd always been a skinny kid, and body consciousness was a completely foreign concept to me. I just remember mom squinting at me in the mirror.

"Maybe the next size up?" she said, and departed to go get it. My sister, never patient at the best of times, started hanging on the swinging door, while I performed my first dressing room manouver that every woman is familiar with- trying to look at my butt in the three-way mirror. Since I'd never really noticed it before, it was hard to ascertain what the issue was.

Mom came back with the turquoise swimsuit in the next size up- as well as a black swimsuit with bright multi-color polka dots and a generous ruffle around the hips.

I tried on the larger turquoise suit. It fit, but I could tell there was something about it that bothered her.

"Can I try the black one?" I asked. I had loved it on sight- The flirty polka-dots, the ruffle, everything. It even had spaghetti straps, and it was BLACK, which meant it was grown up. Plus, an added bonus- it matched nothing of my sister's. Yes!

I tried it on, and it was magical. I adored it. I felt grown up, I felt like a polka-dot mermaid. Needless to say, we bought the black suit.

We got back to the hotel, and jumped into the pool, having a great time splashing and playing Marco Polo and practicing hand-stands and underwater somersaults in the shallow end.

Then Dad got out of his conference, and we both hopped out of the pool to show off our new suits, ponytails dripping.

"Very nice-" he said, looking askance at me, and then said to Mom- "It's kind of grown up though- what happened to the matching?"

Mom sort of turned a reddish color, and then she said, "Well, um, she's got...a BOTTOM."

I could tell that they were both vaguely embarrassed, but nothing else was said. We all hustled up into the room and got dried off and changed for dinner.

Once Dad's conference was over, we went to Sea World, and the wild animal park, and visited my Grandpa and Great-Uncle. I just remember Mom and Dad watching me closely at intervals throughout the vacation. Evidently, they had just realized that I wasn't going to look like a little girl for very much longer, although, of course I was unaware of that at the time.

I wore that black swimsuit until the elastic finally gave out. The "bottom story" was finally brought up again when I was well into my teens- my mother joked that she'd been stunned in that dressing room. "You were such a skinny little thing- and then all of a sudden, BOOM! I remember thinking, Where did those hips come from?!"

I remember that afternoon in the pool in San Diego as being the last time I was free from self-consciousness about my appearance. It makes me sad that little girls don't seem to have that innocence today.

1 comment:

scribbleamus said...

hey..nice blog

something similar..on this side of the world too..:)

read this..if you have the time.