When I was a child the bathing suit for the mature figure was boned, trussed and reinforced, not so much sewn as engineered. They were built to hold back and uplift and they did a good job.
Today's stretch fabrics are designed for the prepubescent girl with a figure carved from a potato chip.
The mature woman has a choice - she can either go up front to the maternity department and try on a floral suit with a skirt, coming away looking like a hippopotamus who escaped from Disney's Fantasia or she can wander around every run of the mill department store trying to make a sensible choice from what amounts to a designer range of florescent rubber bands.
What choice did I have? I wandered around, made my sensible choice and entered the chamber of horrors known as the fitting room.
The first thing I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength of the stretch material.
The Lycra used in bathing costumes was developed, I believe, by NASA to launch small rockets from a slingshot, which give the added bonus that if you manage to actually lever yourself into one, you are protected from shark attacks as any shark taking a swipe at your passing midriff would immediately suffer whip lash.
I fought my way into the bathing suit, but as I twanged the shoulder strap in place, I gasped in horror - my boobs had disappeared!
Eventually, I found one boob cowering under my left armpit.
It took a while to find the other. At last I located it flattened beside my seventh rib.
The problem is that modern bathing suits have no bra cups.
The mature woman is meant to wear her boobs spread across her chest like a speed bump. I realigned my speed bump and lurched toward the mirror to take a full view assessment.
The bathing suit fit all right, but unfortunately it only fit those bits of me willing to stay inside it.
The rest of me oozed out rebelliously from top, bottom, and sides.
I looked like a lump of play dough wearing undersized cling wrap.
As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from, the prepubescent sales girl popped her head through the curtain, 'Oh, there you are,' she said, admiring the bathing suit.
I replied that I wasn't so sure and asked what else she had to show me.
I tried on a cream crinkled one that made me look like a lump of masking tape, and a floral two piece which gave the appearance of an oversized napkin in a serving ring.
I struggled into a pair of leopard skin bathers with ragged frills and came out looking like Tarzan's Jane, pregnant with triplets and having a rough day.
I tried on a black number with a mesh midriff and looked like a jellyfish in mourning.
I tried on a bright pink suit with such a high cut leg I thought I would have to wax my eyebrows to wear it .
Thanks to Judy for the laugh.
Finally, I found a suit that fit. a two-piece affair with a shorts style bottom and a loose blouse-type top.
It was cheap, comfortable, and bulge-friendly, so I bought it.
My ridiculous search had a successful outcome, I figured.
When I got home, I found a label which read -- 'Material might become transparent in water.'
So, if you happen to be on the beach or near any other body of water this year and I'm there too... I'll be the one in cut-off jeans and a t-shirt!