Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mandy's Law of Little Black Dresses and Big Bad Bikinis

I had a completely self-esteem redeeming evening with a little black dress on Friday night.

I rode the wave of self-confidence and Mystic Tan® to the Nordstrom dressing room on Martin Luther King day because I had a dream. A dream of looking good in a bikini. A dream of buying my first new bathing suit in seven years.

Seven years ago I was a skinny rail of a woman, a leftover bag of bones after going through an atrocious breakup, and smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.

Since then I've quit smoking, married a lovely self-esteem-building man, had another baby, started weight training, and gained 10 pounds. Yeah yeah yeah, it's ten pounds of muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat. You could grate cheese on my abs. Blah blah blah.

Tell that to the florescent lights and the carnival mirror in the dressing room at Nordie's. You'd think if there were a kinder, gentler dressing room somewhere in the galaxy, it would be at the Nordstrom store where service is supposed to be top shelf. Right?

I should have known when the three saleswomen behind the Women's Active counter ignored me, that change was a' brewin' at my once-favorite department store. I wandered over to the next department, called Encore, where a saleslady tried to chase me back into Women's Active.

I actively informed her that the three saleswomen there were useless. She begrudgingly let me into a dressing room that could accommodate me, the baby, the stroller and the seven-year-old. I then got to work trying on black bikinis. My son got to work folding himself into the trifold mirror and then announced, "I can see 18 of me!" When I looked at myself in the same mirror, I thought the same thing. Though I was not as excited about it.


So it turns out that one magical Friday with a little black dress is not enough to combat a Monday with three cruel bikinis.

Call it Mandy's Law.


  1. You should have been able to ride the wave from Friday, for at least 3 months. You looked GOOD, girlfriend!

    Sue's rule - Never, EVER try on bathing suits in the store. I'll mail them back 10 times, before I let those lights destroy me. I know my size, I prefer to buy online.

  2. You do look great! Nordies' mirror lies!

  3. Don't ever believe the mirrors at Nordstroms.

    They are EVIL.

  4. Dressing rooms are only good for fully-clothed quickies...or nipping off the flask in your purse when your sister has drug you through fourteen stores on Christmas eve.

    Those boots could make a priest sweat.

  5. Woof: You didn't even read the post, did you?

    Soobs: This is brilliant. I'd avoided ordering bathing suits by mail but you're right. I can send them back if they don't fit. Genius.

    Eva: Thank you!

    That Janie Girl: After googling dressing room mirrors I found a blog post claiming that Forever 21 mirrors are skewed to make you look thinner than you actually are. The blogger acted like this was a bad thing.


    Chantel: That may be my favorite compliment ever.

  6. If I owned a store with dressing rooms, there would be the kindest of possible lighting in there.

    And perhaps a keg.


  7. If you think that crashed b self esteem, what about all of the ordinary non-cheese grater abbed women reading?
    You're doing what every woman on the planet does - judging yourself too harshly.
    The way to win at trying on bathing suits is to bring an assortment home with you and model them for the man who LOVES you. Don't get 'anything' on the ones you plan to return. Just saying...

  8. Listen, even after all you've accomplished (and it's a lot) I suspect you could get the highest compliment from the most credible source possible, and it would have absolutely no shelf-life in a department store dressing room (or possibly elsewhere). So I say screw what anyone else thinks. You thought you looked hot in your black dress.You were right. Now just stuff that in your pipe and (pretend to) smoke it because that's real.

    In the meantime, skip the bikini shopping till you try the following: Wrap some gauze across your top and some dental floss between your cheeks and admire your own insistent sexiness right there in your mirror at home. Once you like that, who the hell cares what color bikini you buy? Trust me, no one on that beach will object to the shade or the shape---hopefully, once you make the purchase, not even you. Just buy one, you silly gorgeous gal!

  9. Kia Motors? You forgot to mention that you do modeling for the auto industry now. Copy, catwalks - you are full service.

  10. Hi Mandy,
    "If you look good in a little black
    dress you look good in anything"
    So saith the wise man
    from long long ago.
    P.S. Hope you read my comment
    (#36) your previous blog. ;)

  11. It could have been worse. I heard a story recently about the women who complained that Victoria's Secret allows men to use their dressing rooms. I guess business is business.

  12. Chris Chaos: Glad you liked my post.

    Pearl: There should be champagne in the dressing room. Someone should write a rap song about that.

    Venom: Okay, I don't think you could actually grate cheese on them. But you might be able to crumble some feta.

    Christina's World: You want me to handcraft my own dental floss bikini? You are a cheeky monkey. Photos to follow.

    Wow: I know! I'm a traitor in front of that foreign automaker sign! That's what the Domestic Automaker Who Shall Remain Nameless gets for dumping my ad agency. Now I'm draping my sexy copywriter a** all over the imports.


    Raao: Thank you sir. I like your sage advice. And yes, I read all of my comments!

    Robert the Skeptic: What's a man with a women's undperants fetish to do?

  13. Bikinis aren't nice to any of us.

    Believe me.

  14. I have to buy a new swimsuit, and you couldn't grate anything on my abs. You could melt them for blubber though.

    Maybe this is why American women should be boycotted.

  15. Holyjesusmothermarygodonearth! Damn woman..you are fucking hot!

  16. hopefully I offended every denomination with that last comment! :-)

  17. Anytime a person at the level of(excuse my choice of how to best describe you) A Babe with all due respect, is talking about little black dresses and bikini's I am compelled to check it out. You really worked hard and you show it, but maybe sometimes worry without any reason, but this is normal , but why not let go of any doubt . You look spectacular Mandy.

  18. Just Me: That's the damn truth, girl. Maybe I should just cut my losses at the black dress and be satisfied with that.

    Logical Libby: My entire blog is basically Exhibit A for the Boycott American Women blog.

    Kenny: If you're not going to offend the Buddha, then don't even bother coming around here.

    And thank you.

    The Last Santa: I have often had secret whispery conversations with myself where I ask myself that same thing. A sort of "What would happen if you just let go and liked yourself?"

    And then I run away from myself and such thoughts of sacrilege.

  19. love the black dress - hate bikini shopping no matter the size. it's chemically ingrained to trigger once we have our 21th birthday. or is that 25th?

    mirrors lie regardless - too skinny, too fat, too yellow, too green...too too too. ugh.

    go into a room without mirrors and take a friend instead...or a hot hubby who will gladly help with the uhhhh, changing? :)

  20. Gosh Mandy, I didn't know there were bad bikinis--much less big ones.

    : )

  21. You will get there!! I just got to four inch heels and a little black dress. I am no where near swimsuit yet. :)

  22. But did you arrange the mirrors so you could do a high-kicking Rockettes routine in your bikini with your INFINITY MANDYS!

  23. Char: I've ordered a whole bunch of bathing suits to try on in the privacy of my own home.

    La Piazza: It's a scary world out there for us womenfolk.

    Kimber: Thanks for the reminder. It's about the journey not the destination.

    Steamie: Infinity Mandies! That is magical and resplendent. Once again I wish I had the power of photoshop.

  24. It really is touch and go. I can feel fabulous in my yoga pants and like Jabba the Hut in a shirt that's too short... ah, it's a process.

  25. And another thing.... change rooms are torture chambers.

  26. urghhhhh never take kids with you to try on bikini's ... be glad you can still even think of wearing them and finally... you look a million dollars in the dress.. I'd wear that every day!!

  27. Pearl sent me. She said you were funny and she's right. I am now a follower. Also, I loook terrible in black bikinis. My moobs aren't big enough.

  28. Pearl sent me. She said you were funny and she's right. I am now a follower. Also, I loook terrible in black bikinis. My moobs aren't big enough.

  29. The Nordstrom mirrors kill me every time. Not sure how they're set up in Detroit, but here they're set up so if you stand just right you can see the back and front of yourself at the same time. Which means while you're cringing at your stomach chub, you can also wince at the cellulite dimples in your butt. I guess that's a good way to get you to try on clothes - because you can't stand the horror of looking at yourself half-naked another minute.

  30. Janice: That's true. Some clothes are magical others are not.

    McGill: It was a bit of a circus act with the three of us in the dressing room.

    HumorSmith: Thanks for wandering over this way. Pearl is a funny lady.

    Mel Heth: They're the same here.


  31. Ha! There are the boots. I see you're offering special "readers-only" content here that isn't on FB.


  32. Richard: Ha. Special "Reader's Only" material.

    See Boots Now

  33. Don't listen to the bikinis... you're freakin' hot enough to be on a weather map.