It's bathing suit season — but I probably don't need to remind you. Since March, we've all been inudated with messages like "get that beach body!" and "look hot in a bikini!" and if you're anything like me, they certainly don't do anything to motivate you. Truthfully, I hate the beach, and I hate bathing suit season. And not because of how I look in a swimsuit (seriously, anyone who actually cares what anyone looks like in a bathing suit needs to examine why they're staring at people on the beach all day long), but because I hate applying SPF 45, only to walk away with third degree burns after being outside for 20 minutes. NO THANK YOU. So with that in mind, I have a few tips for embracing your fine self as summer progresses. There is no "beach body," there is only you and your bathing suit — which, technically, is just another piece in your closet.
1. Tip #1: Get over the "perfect body" myth
There are few things I can promise, and the first is that the "perfect body" does not exist. Okay fine, you've seen it on movie stars, but those are millionaires who have the time and finances to pay for an all-day trainer, and specialty meals, and a serious lack of donuts. Do you want to do that? I do not. That actually sounds terrible. Especially since anyone worth knowing would never — ever — judge you on the way you look, bathing suit or not. And here's the thing about "perfect bodies": they're still imperfect. Even the most perfect-looking supermodel wants to change something, and that's valid — she's human. We're all human. And because of that, we all look different, and thank the gods, because life would be incredible boring if we all looked like so-and-so, on the cover of a tabloid.
2. Tip #2: If a guy hangs your self worth on your beach body, he needs to be dismissed pronto
Listen, I get it. Before I realized that not being sunburned (and not getting heat stroke) outweighed getting sunburned (and getting heat stroke), I had near panic attacks over seeing the guy I liked at the beach or anywhere I'd be wearing a bathing suit. "What if he doesn't like me?!" I'd worry. And that's a fair thing to think: we're being told constantly that we're only the sum of our literal parts — what are we supposed to think? Well how about this: any man who makes a comment about you in your bathing suit (unless it's invited by you), is a garbage person. Your body isn't his business! It's yours. And any guy who would say something bad, or even something that qualifies as cat-calling, isn't anyone deserving of even a look of irritation. You're at the beach, you're wearing your bathing suit, and you're being yourself — any and all comments are uninvited unless you say, "Please tell me what you think."
3. Tip #3: Wear the bathing suit YOU LIKE
I remember shopping for bathing suits in high school (where most traumatizing experiences ensue), and worrying about needing to look "hot" (nope) and/or "sexy" (ugh, I was 15 for heaven's sake), so I chose the types of bathing suits that would accomodate those traits. Sadly, I didn't want to wear those types of bathing suits. I wanted to wear retro one-pieces because damn it, they look cool. So while I don't actually own a bathing suit now, I will say this: wear the type that makes you happy. Bathing suits are simply a part of your wardrobe, and like you wouldn't settle on a dress or a shirt or a pair of pants, don't settle on a swim suit that makes you feel less than yourself. You want a one piece? Go for it. You want one of those high-waisted bikini numbers? Absolutely. You want to wear board shorts and a t-shirt? That's your call. There's no wrong way to wear a bathing suit, just like there's no wrong way to dress. Self expression and comfort takes precedence, and you owe it to yourself to feel amazing.