03 Jul
If I’m Not Miss America, Why Is My Swimsuit Being Checked Out?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

Our neighborhood has a community pool and I take my kids there about 3-4 times a week. Unfortunately, this summer, my friend’s husband (who was just laid-off) has been taking their kids there instead of her. I like him, but I’ve noticed that he keeps checking me out in my swimsuit and it makes me really uncomfortable. I can’t really avoid him because our kids are friends and they usually sit with us. What can I do?

Signed,

Yellow Polka Dot Bikini

__________________________________________________

Dear YPDB,

I’m not going to win any fans with this answer, but here it goes.

Most men look at women’s bodies. And some men look at men’s bodies. Some other men look at goats, but this isn’t that kind of website, so back out slowly.

The men who look at women, look at them in bathing suits, they look at them in shorts, in jeans, in skirts and probably in burkas. Some are better at hiding it than others, but  most of them do it.

So if this guy is doing it and not hiding it well, you have some options:

1. Ignorance Is Bliss. Pretend you don’t notice him checking you out.  Since we’re not in the 1950s, let’s reject this one right away.

2. Lie Through Your Teeth.  Say something along the lines of “Ha ha, can you believe how that guy over there is checking out that woman in a bathing suit? He must think she’s blind. Sheesh, what kind of man does something like that?”

3. See Something, Say Something: Next time you catch him checking you out, say something. A casual “you seem to like my bathing suit, but I’m afraid it doesn’t come in your size” should drive home the message that you noticed him looking and you don’t like it. Sure, he’ll feel uncomfortable, but that’s sort of the point.

Whatever route you choose, remember that if he makes you feel uneasy, you are not obligated to continue to sit next to him. Even if your kids are friends. Even if they are best conjoined friends. Ask another friend to join you  at the pool and make sure she takes the seat next to you. Or get to the pool first and grab a seat in a busy area.  The kids can still play together even if their parents are not sitting next to each other.

Good luck!

 

Marinka, TMH

13 Responses to “If I’m Not Miss America, Why Is My Swimsuit Being Checked Out?”

07.03.12#1

Comment by Bikini wearer.

Boys are dumb….buy a one piece (wrap in a burka) if you’re uncomfortable… (otherwise…strut those boobies with pride…one day you’ll complain that men aren’t looking at you anymore)

07.03.12#2

Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

Great advice Marinka!
And, YPDB, are you sure your uncomfortable feeling is not a sign of YOU being uncomfortable with your body? If it is so, take this opportunity to go on a bit of dieting: with the heat of summer it is easier to have more fruits and vegetables and less carbs! 😉

MommyTime Reply:

I just want to say that I don’t think the notion that a man’s gaze makes someone uncomfortable should EVER be taken as a clue that the someone ought to feel uncomfortable in her own skin. Perhaps the only thing more awful than imagining that he is ogling is imagining that he is staring because somehow YPDB is so unattractive that she needs to lose some weight. I find this suggestion offensive and only likely to make her feel even MORE uncomfortable at the pool.

YPDB: unfortunately, it won’t matter if you change the bathing suit itself, since he’s not looking at the suit but at you. It might make you feel better to be more covered up (i.e. tie on a breezy sarong for wandering around the pool deck), but the flip side of it is that it’s your summer, at the pool, and you should wear what generally makes you comfortable for poolside and (unfortunately) just ignore him. If, on the other hand, he starts to make inappropriate comments, THEN you have to say something to nip it in the bud. I second Marinka’s advice to sit further away from him. Bring a book to read. Meet up with a girlfriend and her kids so you have someone else to talk to. Above all, do NOT let him ruin your summer fun at the pool.

N and Em's mom Reply:

I got what Desparate Dietwives is saying. When I was young, I was totally uncomfortable with my body. It only intensified when someone was checking me out. It is ironic that now I’m over 40 and 40lbs heavier I could care less what anyone else thinks even when I’m in a bathing suit in public. However, I will disagree that losing a few lbs is always the answer to feeling uncomfortable. I had a rockin’ body when I was young; I just didn’t know it. Body image is more than a number on the scale.

07.03.12#3

Comment by Bitsy.

Marinka is right. They are all looking at you. That’s what men do. It doesn’t matter if you’re not Miss America. Ignore it, enjoy it, nip it in the bud, whatever makes you feel better.

07.03.12#4

Comment by Peajaye.

As a gay man with no children, I naturally have very strong opinions about this matter. From what little YPDB wrote, she seems like an honest broker; i.e., that she has conveyed to this man with her tone and manner that she is not receptive to his advances, and yet he persists. Assuming he’s older than 19, it seems there are only two possibilities. 1. He’s a little dense. 2. He’s a cad.

I’m guessing it’s #2, because they’re both married with kids. So I think YPDB needs to be a little more assertive and direct. For some people, humorous retorts come easily, but for others, especially in situations where we feel our safety is at risk, it’s hard to carry off that savoir faire. So maybe next time she catches him leering, she could look him in the eye and say something like, “Look, that makes me uncomfortable, so I’m going to sit down there for today. Make sure you keep on eye on the kids at this end of the pool. Thanks.”

I think this gives the cad an opportunity to act like a gentleman in future encounters, but it puts him on notice. And if he does try the “I-don’t-know-what-you’re-talking-about-you-must-be-on-your-period-you-fat-cow-I-love-my-wife-I-was-just-looking-all-women-are-bitches” defense, just shrug it off. You are the one acting righteously and responsibly.

And even if he does apologize and admits the subtext of your previous encounters, I might still sit on the other side of the pool, just to drive home my point. But IDK, I think your instincts will tell you what’s right in that moment.

07.03.12#5

Comment by Zeehive.

I would say she should a) enjoy it long enough to be glad she can still rock a bikini and draw attention and then b) mention his wife over and over in conversation until it sinks in that you are friends with her and that, (hello?) if he doesn’t stop staring at you in your bikini you might just accidentally mention it to his wife. I say over and over because yes, men are dumb.

07.03.12#6

Comment by Suzanne.

@Zeehive That might work for you, but she said that it makes her uncomfortable, so giving her advice that she should, “enjoy it long enough to be glad she can still rock a bikini” is not helpful. For some women, having men stare at them makes them feel like objects, and that the men have a some control over them….not very enjoyable at all.

The advice that gives her assertive ways of dealing with this are much more helpful IMHO.

07.04.12#7

Comment by Ink.

I think this guy LIKES making her feel uncomfortable! After all, she’s not complaining about all the other husbands in town.

What I would do is wear a one-piece and a grandma beach shirt, bring a friend, bring paperwork, have an unsexy business conversation on my cellphone, wear sunglasses, and/or headphones with a book.

In short, make yourself as unsexy as possible, shades and you talking on the phone/with someone else is a must (because half of his jollies are making you feel uncomfortable, but this only works if he knows you are seeing him).

If he’s creepy assertive about you noticing that he’s noticing you, talk about his wife and your husband A LOT.

07.05.12#8

Comment by Plano Mom.

I’m for the direct, but kind approach. No one should feel they have to change their appearance unless they’re dressed inappropriately to begin with. This doesn’t sound like the problem.

How about, “You know, I’m flattered that you find me attractive and easy on the eyes, and my husband also appreciates my bikini body. But it makes me uncomfortable when you stare as much as you do. I value our childrens’ friendship too much to make a big deal out of it, so I’ll just sit over here until I can feel less awkward.”

07.05.12#9

Comment by Jenny.

The next time you’re chatting, casually mention your raging yeast infection or something equally unsexy.

07.16.12#10

Comment by Ester.

Marinka, you’re always the best, and in this case, Peajaye’s advice is a close second 🙂

07.01.13#11

Comment by Play Date Pool Etiquette | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] grandparents had a pool growing up and I loved inviting friends over to swim. And I think they loved it too because my […]

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