February 24, 2021

tennis, pool side chats, and bathing suit stories

As I was drafting a post about my kids' sports happenings, I decided to back up the bus to the fall and share a tennis story. My reasoning will make sense eventually.

The mom of the twins that I sit for teaches math at our high school. Calling twin's mom TM for short. In case you were wondering, she hears from other teachers  when Tank incorporates one of the twins on his math Zoom calls.

One day in the fall Mini and I were telling TM about how a girl named Mandy was on the tennis team this year. She's AMAZING at tennis. Mandy, a state ranked tennis player, hadn't played for the high school team until this, her junior year. She was the only player not required to stick around during a match and cheer for teammates when her set ended. I assume she had private lessons, etc. and that her schedule with homework is busy because of her high tennis ranking. 

Of course the high school WANTED her to play for them, because they want to WIN. I assume the coaches made a deal: it was OK for her to play on the team, and unlike everyone else, be allowed to leave the minute she was done. Oh, and she wasn't required to attend practice. Just when she could make it.

Oh, well. Honestly I was like whatever. It is fun to win sometimes. 

It just so happens that Mandy thinks she is ALL that. And more. If asked, she would rank HERSELF highly from a non-sports perspective. 

Mini said it was awkward when Mandy showed up to tennis. Mandy doesn't have friends on the team. Well, her friends are limited since she only deems a certain group worthy. For Mandy, chatting doesn't come natural with commoners like Mini. When necessary though, she conversed with Mini and company, because she had no one else to talk to. Friendly Mini was OK with it, but she did note that Mandy would never talk to her in the school hallways, etc.

The crazy thing  . . .  when Mini was in 3rd or 4th grade, she was summertime best buddies with Mandy. I know, weird. 

Mandy's family belonged to the same pool that we belonged to. Her mom and I sat and talked while our kids splashed around. It was delightful. Our kids attended different grade schools, but we knew they'd be reunited in high school.

As a grown-ass-woman, I knew that Mandy's mom would never have chatted with me if we'd been in high school together. She was as cool as they come. The fun thing is though, we weren't in high school (um, she grew up in the south, so you get that we were never in high school together, besides I think she's older than me . . . that felt better than it should've) and when you aren't in high school anymore all you need is a good sense of humor and a willingness to laugh at yourself. If you need more than that, I'm screwed. So far it's been working for me. I'm sure Mandy's mom knew me for the role I could fulfill:  the goofy chick with the funny stories. Bingo. We got along great.

Oh, here's a Mandy's mom moment that will help put this in perspective. 

I bought a new bathing suit. It came with a cover up that showed one arm. I would model it for you all now, but I'm too pale, maybe after I return from Arizona. Anyway, she almost flipped over her lounge chair laughing when I described my shopping process. I tried on a suit and I couldn't quite figure it out. There were legs openings where I thought the arms should be. It was all kinds of twisted and once I got it on, I swear to you I almost couldn't get it off. How embarrassing . . . Um, I'll take this one, and I'll just wear it home.  I decided if I was struggling that much to put the suit on, then I didn't deserve to own it. I showed her the one I selected, and the coordinating cool coverup.

Mandy's mom:  OH, THAT COVER UP. YOU'LL WEAR THAT WITH A PAIR OF WHITE SKINNY JEANS. (said in a southern accent to make me feel that much more like a schlep).

I got her meaning with the skinny white jeans, but I knew that wasn't my 'look'. 


I'm sure you all appreciate how long it took me to find a photo of me wearing this bathing suit, circa 2013. The cover up was the same, but it hung over one shoulder. I'm in the orange/brown stripes. 

Present day:  Mandy and Mini's cute little buddy relationship went down the drain like discarded pool water after Mandy's family dropped their pool membership the next year. 

While looking for a pic,
 I came across this . . .
Curly in her
Lands End bathing suit.
Mine wasn't this cute.
TM was surprised to learn that Mini and Mandy had once been friends. She observes the social hierarchy in the school halls (or at least she DID when kids were IN the hallways). She told me that she had a hard time knowing who Mini was friends with because she seems to be friendly with all the girls. 

A gut busting pool story to follow. The laughing might count as an ab exercise, so adjust your workouts accordingly my friends. 

Anyone else almost strangle themselves trying on a bathing suit? That reminds me, I once wore a suit from Lands End with a built in skirt. (might be time to repost my first ever bikini wax story and then this will make more sense). It was navy and drab and it got too heavy when wet, making the skirt hang too low. Mary Ann belonged to my pool (this was before we were neighbors) and her MIL came with her one day and raved about my suit. Wanted to get one for herself. After she left, I looked at the other moms with a realization:  WHEN A GRANDMA RAVES ABOUT YOUR SUIT, YOU'RE WEARING AN AWFUL SUIT. (Well, dang it -now this post is longer than I intended, but the last bit was worth it, right?)


Suz said...

I used to stress SO much over bathing suits...and I was thin, in shape, and young. What the hell? I should have just gone all nekkid.
You have to share the waxing story. For the love of everything.

Funny about the Tennis Queen. Should we name her Venus? Or Billie Jean? Kids in HS with an inflated self are doomed for problems later. Right? I mean, they should all be like you and I? Wallflowers and then when they're 50 they are as cool as all get out.
Ok, that might not be 100% true either, but I really don't care anymore so, there's that.

I love that your girl is friends with so many people and hasn't fallen into the clique lifestyle that can rule young girls lives at that age.

Ally Bean said...

Swimsuits have never flattered me at any age. I agree and laugh with you that if a grandma likes your swimsuit it might not be what you want to hear if you're not one of her peers.

As for the fair weather friend, they are a breed of their own. I'm glad that Mini has risen above Mandy, but will offer that they still exist outside of school. In fact I've found one or two in the blogosphere...

Ernie said...

Suz - I used to ALWAYS wear a bikini. When I was pregnant with Lad the woman I was sitting for told me those days were over. I was like HUH? No, I'd be back in a bikini. Um, no. I never went back. I have 3 suits all by Tommy Bahama with the same tan lines, a thin strap that loops around my neck or can be removed while tanning. Ahh, tanning. I've had these 3 suits for at least 3 years, so planning to shop again this summer. Hoping Tommy Bahama doesn't disappoint.

The bikini wax story is epic. It is in my early posts, but don't look for it because it is AN EARLY POST and I promise it needs some serious editing. I will get it ship-shape and re-introduce it soon. After my Lulu stories.

So much to share, this is what it's like when I go to lunch with a friend . . . never enough time.

I agree, if you start out on top during the high school years - where to go from there? The glory days come to an end. Mini sees things pretty clearly, and gets along well with everyone while having a very tight core group that she hangs with on the regular. She has friends from her various sports too, and she loves them all. I don't think she has any enemies. Not even the girl who won the president position, although Mini finds her annoying the other girls on the basketball team literally cannot tolerate her at all. Mini is like SHE'S JUST A KISS ASS - with a shrug.

Ernie said...

Ally - Oh the bathing suit purchasing task. Never fun. Why so high cut? Why so low cut? Just the basics here, please. My pool friends got a good chuckle when I turned to them and said DID YOU HEAR THAT? THE GRANDMA WANTS TO GET A SUIT JUST LIKE MINE. TIME TO GET A NEW SUIT THAT DOESN'T GIVE OFF GRANDMA ENVY. I was like early 30s. Mainly because I hated dealing with the bikini area. Loved the skirt concept. I've vowed never to go the skirt route again.

The nice thing about Mini being friendly with all the girl groups . . . she's not had one single day of girl drama. She's almost 17. I think that is the way to go.

Kara said...

Tankinis are my jam. Especially ones with shorts for bottoms. I hate halter tops (I blame my linebackeresque shoulders). Land's End suits are the best. I've recently switched to long sleeve swim tops, because I'm super pale, get burned as soon as I get in the sun, and I've had a few brushes with precancerous moles. My husband makes fun of me, but honestly, I'm one more mole removal away from getting a swim burqua to cover me from head to toe. Or just avoiding the sun all together.

Girl drama is THE WORST. My older two are friends with a pair of sisters, and the younger sister stirs up so much drama it's not funny. They're currently "on a break" because the youngest sister in the other family stirred up some massive drama a few weeks ago and got caught in some major lies.

Ernie said...

Kara - Ah, yes. What I wear is technically a tankini - but it looks like a one piece. Genius. I credit my Hungarian grandmother with my tanning ability. The rest of my blood is Irish, but thank you for that Hungarian bit. My siblings and my folks have had things removed. So unpleasant.

My three youngest are best friends with three siblings, the genders and ages line up. It is nothing short of amazing. I don't know what we would do if either our family or theirs introduced drama into the mix. That would be miserable.

Gigi said...

For the exact reason you mentioned liking the skirt when you first bought that suit is the reason I prefer swim shorts (plus they make my thighs look thinner).

I had the exact same thing happen with a skirt I was wearing - I was in the store where I had bought the skirt and happened to notice an elderly woman exclaiming over the same skirt - picking it out and headed to checkout. That skirt went to Goodwill the next day.

Ernie said...

Gigi - After the drab navy suit with the heavy skirt that was a grandma suit, I bought a suit with a skirt from Lands End that I wore for years. Loved it. They got the skirt right, not too heavy and draggy.

Of course I assume that I will not look like a granny in my old age -young folks will be clamoring to shop wherever I shop. I'll be a trend setter, dang it. My mom always looks stylish, but for her age I guess. My MIL has either given up, or maybe never carded wearing the exact same worn cardigan and pants and shirt to every event. And they are well off.

Bibliomama said...

Angus was asked to join the high school baseball team under the same conditions - just show up when he could - because he was the best player in the school but also had a very demanding outside baseball schedule and a demanding courseload. He was cool about it, though, and was friends with the rest of the team. I agree about the snobby high school kids - one of them was bullying my sister and he said something about how they were absolute pond scum and the rest of their lives was going to be a long slow slide, and it really rang true to me.

Ernie said...

Ali - I was honestly happy to have Mandy represent the high school. We're one of the smaller schools in our division so it's tough for us to dominate in a sport, and I get the arrangement. It's just a shame that she couldn't lower herself to be more friendly with the rest of the team. It made things a little awkward, but Mini is pretty good at meshing those situations.

Funny how not being cool in high school felt kind of crappy, but then later when you realize OH THINGS ARE JUST GETTING GOOD FOR ME it all balances out. Similar to Mini, I was good at laughing at myself in high school so people mostly accepted me. Who doesn't embrace the joke girl who doesn't get fashion but can laugh about it? :)

Anonymous said...

Oh my, that ending did have me rolling. I understand the problem now though, the past few years it’s hard to find a swim suit that’s comfortable in between the grandma suits and the barely-any-fabric-to-cover-anything suits.
How in the world are you tan and Irish? Haha... my people are Scottish/Irish and I am pale and freckled with red hair. Even as an Arizonan who loves outdoor sports and activities, I only ever get more pink. So let’s meet up this weekend in AZ and I’ll lay out in the sun and burn while you tan! I definitely appreciate the friend qualities you listed in the post.
Enjoy your trip!

Ernie said...

AM - I cannot explain my tanning ability. I think it is the Hungarian blood though. My sisters and brothers can tan, but some are more of the freckled/burn type who eventually tan. I don't have a single freckle, which has always bummed me out. I was conditioned to think that looking Irish was the way to go, and yet - I don't think I look Irish at all. I might get a little red if I invite the AZ sun to fry me up.

The granny bathing suit was really pathetic because despite having giving birth to several kids at that point, I still was basically thin. It wasn't my body that needed covering, it was . . . well, let's just say I was exhausted by the bikini line. Dear God, my first bikini wax. Let's just say I found the performance in 40 Year Old Virgin during the waxing scene overly relatable. It is hard to be a woman sometimes.

Meet me in AZ- are you in Phoenix? That's where we are headed. The weather looks awesome. Coach will be the one in the shade.

This post was a background story . . . I'm looking forward to sharing the main event on Monday.

Beth Cotell said...

Ugh.... you are reminding me that bathing suit season is near and I've definitely gained weight since last summer. :(

Kari said...

Finding swimsuits is not fun. Finding a pool that is not near any friends is better. ;)
I love that swimsuit on Mini! I used to find the cutest swimsuits for the girls; for me? Notsomuch.

Ernie said...

Beth - Yes, bathing suit season is right around the corner. I love that I found suits that worked for me for YEARS. As I'm packing for AZ I recognize that they will need to be replaced this year. Still - let's celebrate that SUMMER IS COMING, SPRING EVEN.

Ernie said...

Kari - Oh my gosh, the swim suits my girls used to wear. They were so stinking cute and so fun. I often got them matching suits. By the time Curly was ready to wear Mini's suit that matched her original suit, she was sometimes done with it. And those suits didn't always hold up for another kid. As a result, Curly got new suits and then had some that were slightly ratty looking but still doable. The girl was living the life.

Anonymous said...

Teen girl politics omg. How does anyone survive? Mini sounds like one smart cookie - balancing everything and shrugging off the drama. Good for her!

Loved your Grandma bathing suit story! So true. The little old lady swim club at my childhood pool always wore skirted suits along with swim caps. The caps had flowers on them. Just saying.... if you want the Complete Grandma Bathing Suit Look. ;-)

Once I discovered board shorts (or whatever they’re called now) I was set suit wise. Love being able to mix n match tops n bottoms. I guess when I reach Grandma age I’ll buy the skirted board shorts!


Ernie said...

Maddie- I do think avoiding girl drama is so clutch. Maybe Mini should write a 'HOW TO AVOID GIRL DRAMA' book. I did not experience girl drama in high school either. I floated between groups too. Maybe that's the secret.

I think some girls feed into it and some parents I know fall into the trap. I know a mom who bought her daughter a whole new wardrobe the night before 7th or 8th grade started because her daughter told her no one was wearing Justice brand or whatever. I was like HUH???

I've gone the board short route too. I struggled with wet shorts rubbing between my legs and that was uncomfortable.

I have seen my fair share of granny swim caps with flowers. My kids are shocked that my sisters and I had to wear a bathing cap back when we were kids if our hair was long. Pool rules.