It seemed like a good idea at the time. The sun was shining, the sky a crystal clear blue and the weekend stretched out in front of me with no adult plans or responsibilities.
“Let’s go to the beach!” someone said. “Great idea!” I responded.
Then as I went to my room to get ready, the reality dawned on me.
I’d have to break out the bikini.
Don't get me wrong. I truly believe that all that is required to have a "bikini body" is to put a bikini on your body. Simple. But there's something uniquely confronting about putting one on, on what I've dubbed the "First Bikini Day of the Season", each time it rolls around.
It goes a little something like this. Please, step inside the roller coaster of emotions that is my brain. (Don't forget your seatbelt!)
1. Where do I keep my swimwear again? Do I even still own swimwear or did I throw them all out in a mid-winter rage/Marie Kondo-induced clear out?
2. Oh yes, they're at the back of the drawer where I shoved them at the end of last summer.
3. *Rummages through and holds up very stringy bikini bought in a panic last year* What was I thinking? Ah yes. Instagram.
4. Maybe I could do a one piece? They're back in fashion now. *Looks at how faded one piece is due to owning since forced high school swimming carnival days and shoves right back in the drawer* Bikini it is.
5. Can not for the life of me find the bottoms that match the bikini top.
6. Briefly contemplate mixing and matching totally not-at-all-matching bikinis under a guise of "fashion".
7. Aha. Find the top. Pray it still covers boobs.
8. Stand in front of mirror and begin to strip off.
9. God, I really am pale.
10. Like really pale. Is it too late to douse myself in Bondi Sands?
11. Simultaneously looks at clock and remembers that I have precisely zero tanning skills. Casper drowning in Factor 50 it shall be.
12. Puts on bikini top, which feels a little tighter than I remember.
13. Cross fingers that all the comfort food I consumed in winter and mornings I snoozed my alarm instead of going to the gym have not full sabotaged my beach plans. (It's called hibernation and it's a SURVIVAL tactic, ok?)
14. Feel a sense of relief when the clasp does up.
15. Do the awkward boob lift and tuck to ensure nipples are firmly encased in their neoprene cage.
16. Catch sight of rogue nipple hair. Why body, WHY??
17. Curse and tweeze said body betrayal.
18. Almost trip over the debris on my bedroom floor trying to step into bikini bottoms.
19. These definitely feel skimpier than last year. Or maybe my bum has just gotten bigger.
20. Turn around for the back view and confirm that bum definitely looks at least five per cent bigger than last year. And it's not from squats.
21. Thank the Kardashians for making big bums ~fashionable~ again.
22. Turn back to the front and notice something framing my crotch. Pubes.
23. Do an awkward run to the bathroom to conduct an emergency shave.
24. Forgo soap because I'm in a rush and just use water.
25. Mistake. Big mistake. Manage to nick myself and also just do an all-around average job.
26. Realise legs also need doing. Shave legs.
27. Get back to bedroom and immediately feel a large patch of leg hair that I completely missed. You win some, you lose some.
28. Look at crotch and no longer see pubes escaping. Excellent.
29. Take a closer look and realise hair has been replaced by stubble. Spend the next five minutes to trying to arrange bottoms to cover then just lose all care factor and prepare speech about how pubic hair is trendy again anyway.
30. Step back and get the first full look of my emerging winter body in what is essentially the least amount of clothes I've worn since last bikini season.
31. Let out a sigh. For some reason do not look like Steph Claire Smith/any Instagram influencer in their bikini??
32. Vow to lay off the nightly cheese and actually go to that place they call the gym that I continue to pay a monthly membership for despite not going since I signed up.
33. Remember that all those Instagram influencers actually workout daily to get their bodies and shudder in horror.
34. Get distracted by thought of cheese.
35. Look again in mirror.
36. No abs or thigh gap remotely in sight, but don't look too bad.
37. In fact, my boobs look kind of... alright?
38. Turn to the side. Ah.
39. Quickly turn back to the front. Realise I needed to leave about 10 minutes ago.
40. Throw on kaftan and straw boater hat and for a minute, fantasise about being some old Hollywood movie star headed to the shores of Cannes.
41. Brought back to reality of being an unfit Australian millennial who burns very easily and cannot find rash top and SPF 50 sunscreen. Contemplate cancelling the whole damn thing.
42. Find beach survival pack and shove into backpack. Finally leave house.
43. Friend compliments me on bikini.
43. Get to beach, undress and realise approximately zero of the other hundreds of people on the beach I was so concerned about even notice me or give a flying monkey about what I look like in my bikini.
44. Have an excellent day with my bikini body.
45. Agree to come back the next day. (Oh god.)