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Chlorine, Swimsuits, and the Five Stages of Grief


Every person has experienced it, that feeling of rapturous joy as you open a new summer season with the absolute perfect swimming suit. After months and months of shopping, far too many dressing room visits to count, and hours of strenuous gym training, you are finally ready to hit the pool in that perfectly form-fitting, wonderfully flattering swimsuit. Unfortunately, the euphoria of owning the perfect, new swimsuit (as you bask in the admiring gazes of handsome onlookers) lasts approximately one month into the summer. It is then that you notice that the swimsuit that had been so bright and beautiful just four weeks ago is now starting to look fairly dull, and the elastic just does not seem to hug your body like it used to. That perfect swimming suit is already starting to sag, and there are still two sun-soaked months of summer left to enjoy.

So, what do you do? Chalk up the loss to another inevitable case of chlorine damage and hit the stores to search for the not quite so perfect replacement? Simply admit to the fact that all things (including swimsuits) eventually fade and lose their luster? Sadly enough, you will most likely be forced to accept these facts and move on with your life and your summer. However, to help you through the journey of swimsuit grief, from the initial shock to the eventual acceptance, we have provided a few tips to prolonging the life of your swimsuit and to accepting its eventual demise.

In this day and age, chlorinated swimming pool water is a necessary evil. Germs and other pathogens can quickly travel from body to body in a swimming pool, and chlorine, dangerous as it is in other aspects, helps to protect our bodies from these pathogens. Still, as chlorine kills and/or damages bacteria and viruses that occur in swimming pool water, it also kills and/or damages cells in the body. More important to the focus of this article, chlorine damages swimsuits to an almost irreparable extent. Swimming in a chlorinated swimming pool is effectively equivalent to soaking your swimsuit in bleach for a couple of hours. Needless to say, this is hardly a practice that encourages the durability and color-fastness of your swimsuit.

Interestingly, the eventual acceptance of the inevitable decline of your swimsuit closely follows the well-known five stages of grief. First, there is the initial denial that your perfect, beautiful swimsuit could actually be fading. Perhaps it is just a trick of the light? Then, there is the anger at having something so beautiful and flattering taken away from you so soon. Why did I spend so much money on such a piece of junk? Then, the inevitable bargaining…I promise I’ll do 50 crunches every day for the rest of my life if you (the swimsuit) will only last throughout the summer. Bargaining is followed by depression. Why should I have expected to make a splash at the pool this summer in my new swimsuit? It really doesn’t matter anyway. Finally, acceptance, the most helpful and constructive step, comes along. I know that chlorine is an inevitable factor in the life of my swimsuit. Now, what can I do about it?

Despite the fact that an eventual trip for your swimsuit or bikini to that big swimming pool in the sky (or the big landfill south of town) is inevitable, there are a few steps you can take to prolong the life of your swimsuit. Chlorine will always be the eventual victor; it is too powerful of a poison to vanquish entirely. Still, attentive care to the washing of your swimsuit can help to ensure that it maintains its life and vitality throughout the summer.

If you have accepted the ultimate demise of your beautiful swimsuit but are not yet willing to give up the fight, here is what you can do to prolong the life of your swimsuit, despite constant dippings in chlorinated water. First of all, you must truly accept the fact that your swimsuit is not meant to last forever. While there are fabrics that are treated for chlorine resistance, no fabric can entirely resist chlorine’s damaging effects. Second, you should make a consistent effort to take care of your swimsuit. After swimming, rinse your swimsuit as soon as possible in cold water. This act will remove much of the chlorine before it has too much of an impact. Also, when washing your swimsuit, be sure to hand wash or run it through the gentle cycle of your washing machine in cold water. In addition, you should never put your swimsuit in the dryer; the dryer will tend to exacerbate any fading that may occur.

With careful attention to the care of your swimsuit and a general acceptance of the inevitable decline of that swimsuit, you should be able to safely travel through the five stages of swimsuit grief and enjoy one, glorious summer with the swimsuit of your dreams.

Article provided courtesy of Everything Bikini and Swimsuit Style.

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