Tri this one on for size.

When I went shopping for a triathlon suit, I decided to get it in two pieces, since 1) it was cheaper than the singlets and 2) it seemed practical. So, when I first got out of the pool about seven weeks ago I headed to the shower room to rinse off. I remembered to bring a towel.

The shower stalls are along two walls facing each other. There are no shower curtains or doors, just partitions separating the stalls. I turned on the faucet and rinsed off the suit while it was still on my body. I removed the bottoms just fine. But when it came time to remove the top, I had a problem. The top slicked to my skin, and the spandex was too stretchy. It didn’t have a zipper, and I couldn’t remove it the way I would a regular shirt. I tried, and the material just kept stretching and sticking to my torso. The more I stretched my arms, the more the spandex stretched, but the top wasn’t coming off. And, I couldn’t reach the seams that weren’t stretchy so that I could get a good grip and some leverage. I tried pulling my arms inside of the top and that only made the top tighter and harder to remove. I kept pulling the top over my head. When the front of the suit was against my face, it was hard to breathe, because the water made the suit impermeable.

So, there I was, wriggling my arms underneath this spandex suit. It must have looked like a black blob had consumed my torso whole, and I was trying to punch my way through, clawing my way to escape, but it kept clinging to my skin and stretching with every single movement, because it’s a well-designed suit.

I was facing the wall, but still, never mind my bare bum for all the world to see while I struggled and fought my way in vain out of the top. I tried not to think of the people passing by who must be laughing at me. It made me laugh a little, but I also wanted to cry, because I really wanted out of my suit. I thought I would never be able to take it off.

After what seemed to be at least five minutes wrestling with the top, I took a deep breath. I lowered the top below my head. I reached my right hand across the front of my body, around my left arm, just outside the shoulder blade. My hand stretched for the back band of the built-in bra, and my fingers curled under it for a grip. I scrunched my shoulders inward and forward while I pulled the left side the suit over my left shoulder, where I pulled my left arm free, then I pulled the suit over my head, then I used my left hand to pull the top off the right side of my body. I was free. I finished rinsing off.

Needless to say, I remembered this technique for subsequent showers at the gym. My life has been so much better since.