Outside the shop, the mannequin adorned with a designer swimsuit, its hat at a jaunty angle, stood as the herald for the haute couture that lay inside. But the signs outside, each bearing the iconic circle with the slash through the middle, signifying itself as a rune of denial, bore witness to the trials one must endure in the quest for proper littoral attire. Ice cream was not allowed, nor was pie or chips or roast beef. Even water was denied the curious shopper. But these signs were meant not as a cruel denial on the part of the shop owners. Rather, they were meant as a helpful, friendly warning.
Cathy stood in front of the mirror. She braced herself for the worst, imagining her the way her body looked in her new bathing suit. Her mind’s eye was filled with the image of her gut protruding, spilling out the sides of her suit. Her corpulent form stretching the suit in unnatural ways. Her rotund, grotesque body distorting what was once intended as a flattering garment. She imagined the suit’s designer standing next to her, recoiling in shame, or worse; disgust. Slowly she opened her eyes, looking at herself in the mirror, turning her body to inspect it from all possible angles. She was satisfied.
“Ta-da” She said, once more admiring the way she didn’t look hideous in her new bathing suit. Slowly she ambled over to her purse, enjoying the freedom and comfort of her new bathing suit. She reached into her purse and pulled out a bottle of water. She poured it down her parched throat, the coolness refreshing her.
Not even seconds later, she felt an odd sensation throughout her body. It stretched in all ways. The bathing suit could not withstand such forces pushing against it. It tore, rended by the force of her bloating.
“Ack!” She exclaimed, her voice rising high, imploring a cruel god to redact the cruel fate he had cast upon her.
Gathering her composure and leaving the store quickly, not sure if she should feel shame or exasperation. On the way out, a helpful shopkeeper pointed to a sign that helpfully intoned: Absolutely NO Exposing Swimwear to Water Before Purchase!