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My Almost Bathing Suit, My Always Strand

I went to Paragon Sporting Goods to buy a Speedo bathing suit. My old Speedo looks old. My other swimsuits don’t thrill me and don’t feel right when I swim laps.

There were no Speedos in my size or style at Paragon. I tried on four other swimsuits. The saleswoman checked on me, saw I wasn’t doing well, and brought me three others. “These are just like the Speedo you wanted.”

I tried them on. One had a very low back, another a ridiculously low front, and the third had almost no material anywhere no matter how much I pulled. NOTHING like the Speedo. The saleswoman said, “You might consider something with a skirt.”


My mother, who swam through her late 70s, doing a decent crawl stroke too, wore a flowered number that looked like the bedspread my great aunt with no taste had, but she didn’t wear a bathing suit with a skirt. My grandma did. In her 80s. She wore a dark, plain bathing suit with a skirt when she waded in Lake Erie at Crystal Beach. Her friends, with whom she waded, also wore bathing suits with skirts.

I left Paragon empty-handed.

The next night I offered my second workshop in the rare book room of the Strand Bookstore. In most of my classes and workshops, I intersperse the lessons and pointers with guided writing exercises. The first at the Strand: a place where they feel comfortable. As their pens started moving, I thought about mine: in the rare book room of the Strand.

I then had the Strand people write about a place where they were uncomfortable.

Easy: trying on bathing suits.

Love 'N Stuff, Nancy

Feel free to share below where you feel comfortable and/or uncomfortable.


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