laura packardHold the phone, y’all.

Stop the presses.

Sit down ’cause you are never going to believe what I am about to tell you.

A researcher in Australia not too long ago conducted a study that shows . . . Wait for it . . . Wait for it . . .

Trying on swimsuits tends to make women depressed.

Yes, that’s right. It seems tugging a teeny, tiny, tight piece of fancy, fake fiber up over your hips can make you feel down in the dumps, objectified and plain old mean.

Seriously. Don’t we all already know that? I think the earliest study was done in the Garden of Eden when Eve stared at her figure in the reflective light of a shallow tidal pool under that apple tree and wondered if the fig leaves made her butt look big.

Who needed 102 female grad students, a four-page questionnaire and a $40 stipend to uncover that piece of earthshaking news? Find me someone who just loves, and I mean loves, to try on bathing suits in the crippling light of fluorescent bulbs while imagining herself bending over, squatting, running, chasing after kids, a Frisbee, a floppy hat and/or a dog day all day, and I’ve got some gorgeous beachfront property in Ohio to sell her.

This is how it really goes down:

After two hours, lots of tears and a dozen different sizes, styles, and “how ya doing in theres,” most women find a suit that’ll do, hold their nose, and surrender some serious cash before marching straight on down to the outdoor food court for an iced mocha and a cinnamon sugared soft pretzel and a serious dose of fresh air.

Though there was one interesting part of the study, that, when I read it, made me pause, take a sip of my morning Chocolate Royale Slim Fast shake, and say out loud, “well, you could have fooled me.” It was the part explaining that women were more upset and discouraged in the dressing room than when wearing the suit out on the beach. This is because once they are out having fun in the sun, these lab rats said they get too busy and kind of forget about being stuffed in, tied up tight and lodged into a garment about as big as an industrial-size glue gun.

But I don’t buy it for a second . . . even if you did have a couple strawberry daiquiris and a Miller Lite before you unrolled your beach mat and sprayed on your SPF 50. You simply don’t fail to remember, especially when a nice easterly breeze flows by, that you don’t have a whole heck of a lot on.

See, imbibing or not, I find them both equally terrifying and depressing – the trying on and then the subsequent wearing of the overpriced slip of shiny looking material masquerading as a slice of artificial second skin. But hey, that’s just me.

Trying to chase down a seagull (who just snatched my baby’s favorite sand toy) does not make me overlook the fact that I just might have a wedgie the size of one of those Styrofoam pool noodles in my sand packed bathing suit bottom. Or that as I run . . . well, jog . . . alright, walk quickly after the pesky bird, I am probably exposing the very parts of me that I have no personal desire for the rest of the world to see, even if I shaved my legs the night before and I’m sporting on all-over spray tan.

‘Cause let’s face it, y’all. When you peel on your brand new $120 swimsuit, we all know we’re just putting on a more expensive and fancier pair of glorified underwear and no marketing genius from Madison Ave is ever going to change that.

But all this pity and malaise is not particularly fair to me and my self-image. At least, that’s what all the experts keep telling me.

They say I should love me for me. I should embrace my curves – every hairpin and harrowingly steep-sized one of them.

Better yet, I should work it like I own it, strut my stuff, put a little swagger in my step. Basically, I should show it all off with aplomb, confidence and a hefty helping of attitude.

I don’t do that in my regular clothes. Most people I know don’t do that either.

So even though we are slap dab in the middle of one of the most disheartening and irritating times of the year, fear not fellow ladies. For no fluorescent lighting, flimsy fabric or forceful sales girl can keep us down.

Go ahead, girls. Get moving and go gracefully towards that good night . . . uh, I mean . . . towards that rack of swimsuits at your local department store or boutique. The inanimate and microscopic sack of quick drying spandex might make you testy, but it’s not going to bite. That’s what the horseflies, gnats and overpriced frozen drinks are for.

See all of you bathing beauties out on the sand this summer. I’ll be the one covered up to my neck in it.

Read more ‘What I’ve Learned by Accident’