There are millions of pool parties on the Fourth of July, but living in Brooklyn, I don't get invited to many. There just aren't too many people in my social circle boasting the kind of lifestyle that comes with an urban in-ground pool, you know? The fact that my friend Victoria and her boyfriend, Guillermo, were having a backyard barbecue was impressive enough; not every first-floor apartment in Brooklyn comes with yard access! This was major!
But then Vic texted me on Friday, and everything changed.
This was simultaneously exciting and terrifying. I hadn't been in a pool in literal years. I hadn't even been in a bathing suit in years, with the exception of an XO team outing to a spa in 2013; I bought a one-piece on sale at Target the night before said spa outing because I simply didn't own a bathing suit.
A combination of not really being a beach person, not having easy access to a pool, and feeling self-conscious had kept me out of the water and out of bathing suit for a really long time, but even though I'm a work in progress when it comes to body confidence, I got it in my head that I'd get in that slightly dangerous-looking pool in Vic's yard on the Fourth of July.
Ironically, shortly after Vic's text, I saw this ad on the subway.
BLARGH. I don't look anything like that. I'm not even sure I want to. But I'm pretty sure I don't have to in order to get into a pool with my friends and friends of friends.
Despite deciding my body was pool-ready, I thought I'd at least put a little more effort into getting my would-be-exposed skin ready, but I totally slacked. I didn't apply self-tanner (I'm scared to do it alone), and I only did some very basic exfoliating. I realized just a couple hours before the party that I didn't have a fresh razor, and I wanted to give my legs and bikini line a good clearing, so, because I'm a super-sophisticated beauty editor, I bought a single, two-blade razor from the bodega when I was picking up some dog food. By some miracle, that didn't backfire.
I threw the same Target bathing suit into a bag along with a towel and made my way to Sunset Park, where people were clearly in DGAF mode, which helped erase the already fading memories of that terrible subway add.
After some hemming, hawing, and a grapefruit beer, my friends Becca, Sonny and I took our turn in the pool. (You really couldn't have more than five or six people in there at once.)
Although it was scary for a hot second to be more exposed than usual, my self-consciousness passed really quickly, and I just enjoyed myself. IT CAN BE DONE!
And I think maybe getting back in a bathing suit after several years helped me not freak out when the xoJane staff decided to pose in crop tops in response to O, The Oprah Magazine's bizarre dictate that you shouldn't wear one if you don't have a flat stomach.
This might turn out to be my most confident summer in a long time, mole-shaming be damned.
So, my lovelies, tell me...
- What do you do in preparation for putting on a bathing suit, physically and mentally?
- Did you go swimming last weekend?
- Are you a wearer of crop tops?
- What other beauty thoughts are on your mind right now?