Thursday, 10 July 2014

Boom or bust on the beach

Summer is well and truly here in Greece.

I can tell from unmistakable aroma of my fellow passengers on the train during my daily commute (a heady mix of sunblock, sweat and last night’s tzatziki). 

If that wasn’t enough, in the five minutes it takes to step, cool and refreshed, from the shower, dry off and get dressed I’ve started oozing perspiration from every pore (even ones I never knew I had). I would blame the inevitable march of the menopause – after all, by all account, hot flushes are the one things everyone tells me are unavoidable. But to be honest, if I wasn’t hot and bothered when the temperature’s flirting with 40 degrees C, I’d probably be dead, right?

It’s time to start planning our escape from the grime of the city for the dust, dried leaves and cicadas of the country. Time to resurrect the wardrobe.  

A quick review reveals that:
  • I don't possess a single pair of shorts – they just don’t seem to make them to accommodate my thunder thighs, unless they come with an elasticated waistband large enough to go around a small family car;
  • Inexplicably, the five or six pareos I had in varying shades have been whittled down to just one – in pale lemon yellow. Considering that my skin tone ranges from pasty, fish-belly white to painful looking surprised pink, yellow is simply not my colour;
  • Time, repeated wear, exposure to salt water and sun, and being abandoned in the in-laws’ country house for nine months has taken its toll on my swimwear collection. The bikini tops and bottoms that saw me through the last few years are no longer a viable option. Either they’ve been worn to a whisper-like, single molecule thick sliver of slack lycra that I might as well just hit the beach in the nod, or my efforts at the gym since I last wore them has resulted in the briefs drooping delicately to my knees 20 seconds after pulling them up over my still considerable haunches.

Don't get me wrong, I REALLY want to be that confident big lass who strips down to a bikini to enjoy the beach in all her glory, without a thought to the imagined sneers of onlookers offended by her acres of flesh. Trouble is, to be that paragon of plethoric virtue and personality. I need to find the right two piece – and that means I’ve got to go cozzie-shopping. Oh lawd!

I hate clothes shopping. More often than not, it’s an exercise in humiliation for me – and the merciless fluorescent lights in the changing rooms don’t help. But attempting to squeeze my lumps, bumps and bits into a collection of multi-coloured cornetto cones, camel toe creating briefs, busten-boosters, DIY wedgies and triangular scraps of fabric has got to be the worse.

And of course, just like you gotta kiss a lotta frogs to find your prince, you have to wriggle your heaving, sweating bulk into a lotta bikinis before you find the one you’ll dare to grace the beach in.

I’ve already done a pre-shop market survey – and the news is not good.
Triangular scraps and shoestrings dominate – unless I want to go for the heavy-duty upholstered cargo crane style bustenhalters and granny knickers look. 
I don’t.

My spirits did soar briefly when I spotted a nice, seemingly sensible and vaguely presentable two-piece in a shop window with a price tag of 35 Euros – until I realised that was just the price for the briefs. Unless I want to unleash my nearly half-century old boobs on an unsuspecting beach near Oropos frequented by Greek families who frown on toplessness in general (and my son and his friends who would object even more strongly to aging mums swinging low), I’d have to shell out another 35 for the top to go with it.

I don’t think it’s worth deportation and my teen boy never speaking to me again.

My last resort before being forced to shell out 70 Euros or more is good old M&S.
I don’t know how much the Greek economic crisis has eaten away their selection at their Athens stores, but I’m hoping that they will have something in stock that (a) can cover and hold in place the important bits of a female any larger than an anorexic ant, (b) doesn’t have a cleavage boosting bra whose infrastructure of wires and stiff moulded foam looks like a Jean-Paul Gaultier reject, needs 3 hours to dry and can also act as a stand for your iced coffee, and (c) won’t make me look like a granny (no offence to grannies on the beach – I fully plan to become an action grannie myself when my time comes – but not before I retire).

Wish me luck. If I fail in my mission you may be reading reports of sightings of a mysterious white sea beast surfacing off the eastern coast of Attiki.

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