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When In Doubt, Use Parsley
June 21, 2001

Inspired by I know not what, I signed up on Monday afternoon for a prenatal water aerobics class. This led to much panic, as the class started on Tuesday night and I had no maternity bathing suit and no free time on Tuesday to purchase one. So Monday night, after work, and after driving an hour and a half to Wheaton, IL for a bridesmaid dress fitting, I headed to a mall to procure myself something suitable to wear while splashing around in a public pool.

I headed straight for the supplier of most of my wardrobe these days, Motherhood Maternity, and chose a suit from their selection of about 2 pathetic little remainders hanging forlornly on the rack. It wasn't too hideous (so I thought)...it's blue and white gingham, and the top is a sassy little flouncy thing, and there are matching...bottoms...wait, here's a picture:

So I toted it off to the dressing room, but when I put it on and turned to face myself in the mirror, I had to throw my hands over my mouth to muffle my scream.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present a picture of me in the bathing suit:

I am so magically delicious.

Let me help you to imagine another desirable scene featuring me, the rotund.

I was at the bridesmaid dress fitting mentioned above, and I went into a dressing room alone to change into my platinum frock. The first thing I tried to hoist on was my strapless corset bra.

Yes, you heard me correctly. Some woman at a store called FIRM FOUNDATIONS told me that the only strapless bra that would be appropriate for my bridesmaid dress would be a long one. So she selected for me the world's largest bra, took me in the back, and forced me into it.

"ADJUST YOUR BREASTS" she bellowed, and I did. Quickly.

So now I was all sassy at my dress fitting with the apporpriate undergarment and I took it out of its bag and pondered how to get it around my bulbous stomach and all hooked up in the back...by myself.


After Cinda helped me into the bra (in a moment of sister-in-law bonding the likes of which we will not see again, I hope to God), I took off my pants. Whoops. I forgot to bring my industrial strength underwear that would catch the extra fat/baby part that was trying to creep out of the tight-fitting corset, so I had to make do with my stretchy Sam's Club specials that are little weary with their increased load. (I'm not even lying that these underwear are from Sam's Club. I get possessed in that place and will buy absolutely anything.) Needless to say, these underwear did nothing to hold the bottom of my stomach in, so I waddled about the dressing room in a most uncomfortable state.

By this point I was sweating, my hair was hanging in my face, and I faced a struggle in getting the dress up over my middle, my arms in place, and the back zipped up as far as it would go. Trying not to fall out of the dress, as it was large and billowing on the bottom, tight across the middle, and falling off my shoulders, I tried to cram my feet into my snappy silver sandals that I wore last year in Joe and Katie's wedding. There was no way my puffy dogs were going in without a fight, however, so I had to chase the shoes around the room, trying to poke a foot into one while balancing on the other foot and holding up the dress so I wouldn't trip. Finally, I took the dress off, tossed it on the floor, rounded up the shoes, and sat down on a stool to force my feet into them.

It was at that moment that I looked up and caught sight of myself in the mirror.

I looked like a wild animal.

Hair matted and damp. Flushed face. Corset squeezing my boobs into a mass of cleavagey flesh. Innertube of a stomach protruding from the top of my worn white Sam's Club Specials. Naked, pasty legs. A wild look in my eyes.

"You," I told my reflection, "Are a rock star."

So I waddled into the pool at the health club on Tuesday night wearing my Motherhood Maternity special, noting that even the old people in the therapy pool couldn't look me in the eye, so hideous a picture did I paint in that damnable frock. The instructor shepherded me over to sit at the edge of the pool, and I watched my pregnant sisters file in for class.

There were six of us. Six out of nineteen of us in that cheap, piece-of-shit bathing suit from Motherhood Maternity. Six assholes in festive blue gingham with a flouncy ruffle and SPANKIES, and thirteen women in sedate, grown-up dark tank suits.

I couldn't even look up.

I enjoyed the class heartily, though, as we all know that I am a creature of the water, and I was only mildly shocked when the instructor began to give us commands that led me to believe that she wanted me to exercise.

The hour passed happily with all of us bouncing up and down and kicking and running and paddling, but when I went to climb out I was horrified that somehow, during the hour I spent in the pool, two Volkswagens had become tethered to my ankles. I paused in my ascent and looked behind me in horror, wondering if anyone else was noticing my sudden case of clubfeet.

"You feel a lot heavier on land, don't you?" the instructor said, offering me a hand. "That's normal."

It only took a few minutes of lurching around the pool deck before I could point myself in the direction of the locker room without looking completely shitfaced.

My mom's utility room is all pulled apart while painters take down some hideous flowered wallpaper and paint the room white. She called me just now, a little loopy because it's 10:00 p.m. and she just got in from a concert in the park.

"Did you come over and see my utility room?" she asked. "Doesn't it look nice?"

"Yeah, mmmmmm hmmm," I answered.

"I've got to get over to Home Box Office tomorrow and get some shelves for it."

"Mom, it's really unfortunate that you just said that because I'm working on my web page and that last line is going on it."

"What? No! Shit! I'm not telling you anything any more. What did I even say?"

"I'm sorry, you're going to have to think about it."