I just bought a new swimsuit. Most women will tell you that this is usually not the best feeling in the world, but I'm pretty excited about it. It takes forever to find one that you like or one that fits perfectly and I did. It happens to be a Speedo, which is unfortunately synonymous with the scary image of the overweight guy on the beach wearing a tiny swimsuit that barely contains his package. But it's a good suit that lasts a long time.
I had a Speedo when I was thirteen and I owned it until a couple of years ago, when it practically dry-rotted from age. I made the junior varsity swim team and I was so proud. I wanted a Speedo swimsuit because that's what all the other swimmers wore. I begged my mom and finally convinced her that I needed one because they were the best kind of suit to wear for speed in the water. She probably knew I only wanted the name-brand suit, just like my thirteen-year-old niece now wants only Hollister...or American Eagle...or whatever kids these days wear. (I personally like clearance items now, but at thirteen that's a difficult sell.) We went to the sporting-goods store and I picked one out. There wasn't much selection and I wasn't crazy about the one that I got, but it was a Speedo and I felt like a real swimmer wearing it. It cost around $80 and I could tell my mom didn't want to pay that much, but knew it meant a lot to me.
When I went to practice the next night, I proudly wore my new suit. I was horrified when I saw an older girl there (the captain of the team no less!) and she had on the same exact swimsuit!
Access Hollywood will inform you that two actresses wearing the same gown is the worst thing that can happen on a red carpet and this felt pretty damn close to that. I was afraid that the other girl would hate me because I intentionally got the same suit as her. I was so embarassed. I regretted getting such an expensive suit since I knew I would always feel stupid wearing it. I spent most of the practice avoiding the girl, but at the end of practice she came up to me. I was mortified.
"Hey, I love your suit!" she said, smiling. "I guess we both have great taste, huh? Now you really look like we're on the same team!"
I couldn't believe it. She wasn't mad at me at all! I smiled and laughed and I felt so much better.
I had forgotten this experience until a few minutes ago when I looked at myself in the mirror wearing my new black and blue Speedo.
And she was right--I did now feel like part of the team, but not because of my Speedo. It was because of her kindness. It wasn't long after that I realized that my value wasn't determined by my clothes or swim wear, but I'm still happy that she helped me realize it that night.