It's amazing how much I've changed over the last several years, considering that I used to be a night-blooming hermit. Not that I'm a different person than I used to be (I'm still a night owl, in spite of the fact that the very presence of the sun tends to improve my mood considerably); but if you had told me ten years ago that I would ever get excited about shopping for shoes, or that I would ever spend hours in the mall without visiting a single electronics store (to look at CDs, DVDs, etc.) voluntarily, and be perfectly satisfied, I'd have told you you were crazy. But that was before I found out how much fun it is being a girl!
I was looking for some hiking sandals to replace the ones I bought many years ago that are finally starting to fall apart, and this is a good opportunity for me to get something in a more feminine style. I want something sturdier than a flip flop that I can wear for rugged walking (not that I haven't hiked in flip flops before, but they're not optimal for that kind of activity), but something that doesn't require me to wear socks (so, less laundry in the summertime!), and that I can slip on and off pretty quickly in case I'm out in the woods and get inspired to create some nude art!
The trouble, though, is that it's hard to find something that satisfies my three criteria: 1) it has to be a style I actually like (I'm willing to compromise on something so-so, but if I think it's just simply ugly, I'm not going to enjoy wearing it), 2) I have to be able to find it in my size (which is very difficult when shopping in stores, where you can actually try the shoe on and see if it fits comfortably), and 3) it has to be affordable (again, I can compromise by paying a little more for something I really like that's in my size, but right now $100 is a lot more than I'm willing to spend on a pair of shoes).
Switching gears, I got a little wet walking across the parking lot in the rain, but I didn't mind - my philosophy is that you have to get caught in a thunderstorm at least once each year or you haven't really experienced summer. A little heavier, though, and I would have risked wet t-shirt contest levels of soakage. The wetness, however, totally inspired me to try on some swimsuits, just for fun (because I don't actually need one - I already have more than I can wear). So I grabbed a couple cute bikinis off the racks and headed for the fitting room. It was pretty crowded, so they stuck me in the handicap fitting room, but it was really spacious and featured two mirrors at right angles!
This is the first bikini I tried on. In hindsight, I don't think it fit me that perfectly, but I thought it was really cute at the time. It kept me all covered up, and yet at the same time, I was excited by all that exposed skin, and the thought that this was something you would actually wear, as a complete outfit (albeit to go swimming in). Bikinis are awesome! I like the style of the bandeau-like top, but maybe it's not the best choice for my body - since I don't really have the breasts to fill it out, and instead it kind of pinches off the top of my pecs, and, frankly, emphasizes the width of my shoulders.
This is the second bikini I tried on. It's another cute design, this time with more pink; it even looks a bit neon. I like it; it's your typical string bikini, which means minimal coverage and maximal hotness. That also means I have the typical trouble with it - particularly the bottoms. The strings just aren't enough to counter the pressure exerted by my package, so that even if it keeps me in, it doesn't do a good job of staying up and on. The top, on the other hand, looks great on me. The triangle shape complements my shoulders much better, and there's even a little bit of curvature to give the hint of breasts.
I'd like to think that I have more trouble trying on swimsuits than other women, given the rare challenges presented by my situation, but the truth - to the extent that I've witnessed it - is that pretty much all women have trouble finding the right swimsuit for their body. But in my case, there's not so much anxiety about how I'll look as sheer excitement at seeing it on my body. As long as it's skimpy and sexy, I tend to like it, and if I had less sense, I'd probably buy every bikini off the rack that I thought was mildly attractive.
As it is, though, I have little if any opportunity to actually wear a bikini, as cute as I think they are, and as much as I'd like to have an excuse to wear one. By their very nature, bikinis leave little to the imagination, and if I do a pretty good job of giving people the impression that I'm female at a glance, there are some things that are hard to hide. I've read about "tucking", and even tried it once or twice, but I was very unimpressed with the results. Even to the extent that it may be effective at reducing my bulge, I wonder just how practical (and comfortable) it is if I'm going to be active.
I wonder (with anxiety) at the reactions I would get, too. A man wearing a dress is bad enough, but the more skin you're showing off, the more frustrated men tend to get when they realize they just eye-banged a "dude". And that doesn't even take into consideration the sexist rules at my local water park. A girl could wear that neon pink string bikini without any trouble at all, but as soon as a lifeguard notices what I'm packing, I'm suddenly in breach of their arbitrary dress code.
And then there's the ever-present question of which bathroom/locker room I should use. It's easy for you to say, "if you have a penis, use the men's room," but do you think I feel comfortable in the men's room looking all girly and wearing a bikini un-ironically? As much as I hate to do it, it's just simpler to play the role of a guy when I go swimming, and endure the comments of "mommy, that girl doesn't have her top on!" (I can't win either way, can I?).
But to end on a happier note, one of the two mirrors in that fitting room where I tried on the bikinis was definitely a "skinny mirror". I know I've recently been getting into better shape, but wow that mirror made me look skinny! I know it's just an illusion, but damn, I liked what I was seeing. I may have gotten a little carried away... :-3