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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)

TITLE: Oh, The Horror!
By Chely Roach
~1st Place


tor•ture (tôr'chər) n.
Extreme anguish of body or mind; agony.

After too many long months of being held captive within the walls of our humble abode, my kids are ready to jump from the second story windows. By now, I am ready to push them. Don’t judge me; the fact that I survived the winter without psychiatric intervention is a miracle in itself.

Over the course of ye eternal winter, we watched the daily progression of a ginormous mud hole into a full blown water park. This aquatic center is a mere three blocks from our house. My four children can literally see the top of its five story speed slide from their bedroom windows. I think it goes without saying, they speak of little else. Even the one who can barely talk.

This new expenditure of local tax revenue has brought on the inevitability of something I have been procrastinating for several years now; the looming torture of shopping for a new swimsuit. Oh, the horror...

Perhaps it’s a tad melodramatic to make comparisons between torture and shopping. Then again, any woman with an age or BMI over 24 can probably embrace this analogy. If, per chance, she has also gestated offspring—and furthermore nursed said offspring—then she is probably nodding in agreement.

T minus nine days until Chlorine Heaven opens its gates…

I made my initial mistake by going to the mall. Granted, I knew better than to even glimpse into the designer stores; I am automatically repelled by stick figures bathed in cologne so pungent that it burns my eyes as I walk by. These stores have mastered the art of pedaling four triangles of fabric held together by dental floss with a price tag that equals four new tires on my minivan. No thanks.

I wandered into KD Schmenney’s making my mental list of water-wear criteria:

  • Coverage and lots of it.

    For one thing, I have the fairest, most scorch-able skin you can have this side of albino. Just sit me near a window and I freckle like a banana.
    Besides the skin flambé issue, I have stretch marks from just south of my collar bone to just north of my knees. And something the natives call cellulite. Not pretty. (See above reference to four kids)

  • Structurally sound support.

    This goes right along with coverage. Did you get the part about the five story water slide? And the breastfeeding of four children? I would opt for a scuba diving wet suit if I weren’t afraid that I’d be mistaken for a lumpy half seal/half albino mutant.

  • Reasonable price tag.

    (Again, the kids [and the mortgage, and health insurance, etc.])

  • An iota of (age appropriate) style.

    Something somewhere between Gossip Girl and Golden Girls.

After two hours, three department stores, and a Cinnabon, I realized that the majority of the swimwear market was primarily focused on the young, the skinny, and the monetarily solvent. I am none of these, hence the minivan, the five-thousand-calorie-cinnamon-roll, and the four children. I weeble-wobbled home in defeat.

T minus six days…

Yesterday, during my weekly wallet purging at Poor-Mart, I mustered up the courage to take a gander at their swimwear. The prices were attainable, and there were even a couple contenders; until we met in the fitting room. The black tankini pushed a puddle of pale pudge from between the “tank” component and the “kini” component. I tried on the swim skirt to hide the derrière dimple brigade, but the brigade won. All of this was amplified by three angled mirrors and ghastly florescent lighting. I bit my quivering lip. Twas fashion terrorism at its finest.

I sulked back out to my cart, where I noticed something in the plus size section. I was amazed. It was genius. It was called a shortini; a long tank top, and full-coverage-water-slide-ready-SHORTS. The biggest downside was that they were too big (the dimple brigade could fill the shorts, but the deflated, over-nursed bosoms looked pathetic in the tank-top). Also, the floral pattern appeared to be a replica of my grandma’s bedspread…in 1978. Practical but beyond hideous. I was halfway there.

I wiped my tears, paid for the gross of toilet tissue, and went home to Google “shortini”. Halleluiah choruses rang out as I chose my modest but stylishly feminine, age appropriate, full coverage shortini, and two day shipping.

I stood my ground, and refused to negotiate with the terrorists.

Break out the SPF 80…the albino mom is on the loose.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jackie Wilson07/17/09
I can definitely relate -- I have been there! Loved your attitude as much as the writing!
Laury Hubrich 07/17/09
Thank you for standing up for all of us mother's! You are to be commended! So hilarious and so very true. Well, well done!!!
Seema Bagai 07/18/09
Funny story. I liked the MC's voice and sense of humor.
Catrina Bradley 07/19/09
What a fresh, real voice! I feel like I'm friends with your MC. Great writing!
Jim McWhinnie 07/19/09
First let me congratulate on the word, "ginormous".

I really, really loved this piece. I am still smiling.

Whoever you are, you need to be writing for sitcoms.

Keep it up.

My, this was good!
Melanie Kerr 07/20/09
The humour was great! I have been there in the search for the perfect swimsuit.
Eliza Evans 07/20/09
Just blow-me-away clever and hilarious!
I can easily see this published in a top woman's magazine.
FANTASTIC. Thank you for the HUGE smile. You are soooo talented!!
Loren T. Lowery07/20/09
It is always fascinating to see how a woman's mind works. Is it any wonder men love them and get a chuckle when they get a glimpse of their thought process. Great writing!
Noel Mitaxa 07/20/09
Thank you for this light 'summery' of feminine thinking, which we males rarely grasp - let alone anticipate.
Mariane Holbrook 07/20/09
Just a terrific piece. I laughed aloud when I silently read "momentarily solvent" instead of "monetarily solvent" because both are usually true. The man who invented the 3-mirror approach in the dressing room must be the most despised man in the world today. Why can't they use those slimming mirrors we all love at the circus?? This was a great read and now I'm really envious!!! You're just too good!!!(grin)
Graham Starling07/21/09
A sheer delight to read with some superb word play. Being equatorially enhanced myself I can relate to the dilemma (y chromosome notwithstanding). Spandex is a privilege I relinquished long ago and it's great to laugh alongside someone else who sees the ridiculous side to life.
Steve Fitschen 07/22/09
Hilarious! (I think I'll leave it at that!)
Sara Harricharan 07/22/09
ROFL!!! This was simply hilarious, I was giggling all the way through and I was SO glad that she did find something to wear afterall, that fit everything on her list. Lovely job! Kudos to you on an excellent piece, my favorite for the week!
Eddie Snipes07/22/09
I liked how you met the problem head on with a Cinnabon. LOL
Shirley McClay 07/23/09
Oh yeah. This was top notch! Congratulations!! And might I add that the comments added to the giggles... especially the men. ROFL
Mona Purvis07/23/09
This is the style of writing I find myself gravitating to...just a pleasure to read. I love this piece. sometimes, we just have to look at life through humor! Congrats!
Sharon Kane07/23/09
Hearty congratulations on FIRST place. From the line "By now I am ready to push them" I knew this was going to be a from-the-heart piece of writing. Superb genuine voice, and you speak for so many women at so many levels. Great job.
Jim McWhinnie 07/23/09
I just knew it from the first words I read.

I am mighty proud of your work.

Well done, good and faithful servant, ... even if a tortured one.
Carol Slider 07/23/09
This is hilarious, and so much fun to read! Congratulations!!
Patricia Turner07/23/09
THOROUGHLY entertaining and at the same time far too close to the mark - you've clearly been there and lived to tell about it! HUGE congratulations!!
Connie Dixon07/23/09
This is hilarious (unless you've "been there, done that." Then it's only funny way later. I felt your pain, and I loved they way you described it. Good job! Congratulations!
Shelley Ledfors 07/23/09
I LOVE this! There's so much to enjoy here from beginning to end. --Just one of the (many) lines that really "tickled" me was, "The black tankini pushed a puddle of pale pudge from between the “tank” component and the “kini” component." LOL!

Very well done, and a huge congrats on a well-deserved placement!
Sherrie Coronas07/23/09
I've so been THERE - I mean exactly there!!! Thanks for writing this awesome piece. Congratulations.
Glynis Becker07/23/09
Very well-deserved first place (I say as I wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes!). This is wonderful writing because it is both funny and true. Congratulations!
Joy Faire Stewart07/23/09
Love the mc's voice, hilarious. Congratulations on your 1st place EC.
Lynda Schultz 07/23/09
Great story. Congratulations on a well-deserved win.

Even without the kids and all that comes with them, swimsuit shopping anytime during, and after, middle age is a terror.
Diana Dart 07/24/09
ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! I will be smiling all morning thanks to this piece. I'm cheering! Jumping with adrenaline! Almost crying in her victory! Did I mention that I also discovered the shortini this year? A blessing, to be sure, for myself and all on the beach with me ;)
Margaret Villanueva07/25/09
Beautiful! I will never go swimsuit shopping again without thinking of your story, and I will laugh instead of cry.
Allen Stark07/29/09
Wow! Loved it! Definitely worth of first place.
Charla Diehl 07/31/09
Oh, the funny pictures this story put in my mind. I could see the MC in that dressing room and my heart went out to her. Wonderfully funny and creative piece. Congrats.