I bought a bathing suit last year while I was in Italy.
I haven't purchased a bathing suit in probably ten years.
In fact the last new bathing suit I got was given to me as a parting gift when I left my job at the magazine five years ago.
It wasn't like people had gone out of their way to buy me gifts, certainly not swimwear, but while I was walking around the office on my last day to say goodbye, one person gave me a gift from their desk. As I carried it around while I said my goodbyes, it made each subsequent person I met think they should take something from their desk to give to me as well.
Like they thought I was going on some tremendous journey where I would need supplies.
Supplies being, among other things,
A bible sized book on men's style
A rock and roll action figure
A green and orange bathing suit
And those are just the things I still have.
Amazingly the bathing suit actually fit perfectly. It was just somethign sitting on one of the style editors desks, which, I realize now means that it might have been worn in a fashion shoot. But we'll pretend that wasn't an option.
That was my most recent bathing suit. The one I bought before that I got from Target in Arizona and was too big and too long, purchased at a time when neither of those things mattered. What did matter however was the fact that it had a bottle opener in the pocket. I am almost positive thats why I bought it.
I also have two basic blue billowy bathing suits from when I was a non-CPR certified pool attendant at a hotel on Long Island. I was supposed to get CPR certified it just… never happened. Thankfully the closest I ever came to saving anybody there was distributing bee sting ointment.
Last year, after taking all of these facts into consideration, and reading an issue of Esquire had told me men's bathing suits were generally too long (it didn't mention anything about bottle openers) I started to realize that it was time for a new bathing suit.
So while soaking up the Italian sun on a beautiful walk from Portofino to Santa Margherita Ligure, my girlfriend and I came across a little beach boutique. The sign outside said that that it was closing for the season. It was literally the last weekend it would be open for the next five months and they were having a massive sale. We figured we'd take a peek.
We went in and each tried on a variety of colorful clothing and bathing suits made by this French beachwear company. I have never owned french beachware, but I learned something very important about the French that day.
Seeing as the pants fit me the way a pair of spans might fit a gorilla, I was left to believe that my calves are bigger than most frenchmen's thighs.
I gave up my hope of any pants and moved onto bathing suits which I actually had no trouble fitting over my thighs seeing as the suit itself barely covered half of them. After slipping it on I was suddenly left with the sensation that I was showing a considerable amount of leg.
And seeing as my legs are about 60% of my body, that is a lot of leg.
I felt like some kind of strange more than half naked pale chicken man.
This bathing suit was not only short, it was shorter than most of my boxers.
It's a strange feeling to put something on and still feel like you are wearing nothing. I debated whether or not to leave the dressing room, feeling a bit like I might be accused of indecent exposure.
When I emerged from behind the dressing curtain like some kind of shy mostly-naked-pale-chicken-man-magician.
And for my next trick… I will make this bathings suit REAPPEAR!
My girlfriend assured me they weren't that short.
Be that as it may I was almost positive I could hear the hairs on my upper things screaming in terror,
WHERE ARE WE? WHAT'S HAPPENING? QUICK HIDE US!!!
While not a speedo by any means, it was closer to public nudity than I'd ever been.
However all of those fears were drowned out by the fact that I actually really liked the suit, it was 50 percent off.
So I bought two bathing suits and even wore one that day for a dip in the freezing ocean.
I felt so European.
I then brought them both home and put them in my drawer where they have remained for months and months.
Until last week.
I pulled them out and saw that I had left the tags on one.
Like I might fly back to Italy to return it.
Hi I bought this a year ago and umm, I think it's too skimpy, can I have my 40 euro back?
Sometimes I have a hard time committing to things.
However, I bit the bullet, ripped off the tags, and climbed into it pretending, as I walked along the beach, that I felt perfectly normal and not at all like a giant pair of reflective legs attached to a head with nothing in between.
But it worked out. And I've grown to love it, because really, what other choice do I have?