I can still remember climbing into the tight flowered bikini that my teen-age sisters picked out for my plump 4-year-old body.
And ever since, I've had a love-hate relationship with the infamous bikini.
Of course at 4 years old, the rolls of fat are adorable. But today, I'm a little less excited about revealing my cellulite. Still, I haven't given it up.
Yeah, I usually say I wear a bikini because I'm trying to get the almost all-over tan. But the truth is I'm a slave to fashion just like the rest of us.
It's always the most stylish women at the pool or beach who are parading around in chic bikinis. I'm just trying to follow suit. Besides, I wouldn't want to be caught dead wearing a grandma-style one-piece swimsuit.
But it hasn't been easy. Just ask any bikini wearer.
The saga usually begins at the stores. If you're going to wear a bikini, you better set aside several days to find a suit that fits. Most men probably won't believe this, but for some of us with unique body shapes, it could take years to discover the perfect style.
Nowadays, the modern bikinis are a bit more sophisticated. They offer underwires, padding, straps, slimming panels in every shape and color to assist in the quest for the precise fit.
After you've found the right suit, the problems don't end. What about when you want to take a quick dive off the diving board? Forget it.
Now that you're a bikini wearer, you have to be extremely cautious doing acrobatic water activities, like skiing or tubing. The two pieces of small fabric covering the important parts of your body just weren't built to withstand the forces of nature. Even the slightest movements can cause crunching, sliding, bunching or worse yet -- untying.
I've tried the gamut of styles during the years. I proudly wore a K-State purple velour style last year and before that I had the tank-style, some frills, bows, stripes, plaids and even a famous teenie weenie yellow polka-dot bikini.
And speaking of teenie weenie, that's something else bikini wearers like me have to put up with. Comments about the size of the garment.
For years it was hard for my parents to comprehend how less than a yard of fabric could cost more than $50.
"Is that a Barbie outfit?" my mom would say as I grabbed my towel and headed for the beach.
"You can't wear that outside in public, you'll be arrested!" my dad would shout.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but sometimes they were right. There have been several occasions at the pool when I just didn't feel like "sucking it in" the entire day.
During the years, I've been open to new trends in two-piece swimsuits. But there are two things that will turn me into a religious one-piece swimsuit wearer.
The thong bikini and stretch marks.