I made it half-way through the fall without a wetsuit, and if it were left up to me, Thrifty Thelma, I’d see if I could push it to Christmas.
However, as the weeks went by, Ted noticed that I was shivering more and more during our sessions so to the surf shop we went.
My only other experience with a wetsuit was during swim practice in high school when a teammate brought a few suits to the pool. Surprisingly, there were no other takers on that fall day, so I figured I’d give it a shot.
With no instruction, I inefficiently began yanking it on. By the time I finally had it up and zipped, I was not only exhausted (who knew it’d be this hard??), I was uncertain that it was the best fit. I had to wait for my teammate to finish her warm up – that’s how long it took me to get it on – to ask her if the weird fit was due to the fact that it was her brother’s wetsuit.
“Zipper goes in the back, Maureen,” she told me before she pushed off the wall to begin her next set.
So I was a little nervous about getting back into a wetsuit, but luckily my experience at Mr. Surf’s wasn’t nearly as trying as the high school pool deck in 1998.
The clerk at the shop gave me a plastic bag to put my foot in before stepping through the leg of the suit to reduce the friction. It worked like a charm and with a few other tips for getting into and out of a wetsuit (peel it off, don’t pull it off), I was pleasantly surprised at the ease with which the whole thing went down.
I tried on two and ended up selecting a wonderfully stretchy 3/2 full suit made by Roxy. The 3/2 measurement is in reference to the thickness in millimeters – it’s three around the core and two through the arms and legs. That way, it’s a good blend of warmth where you need it most, and mobility everywhere else.
Next up was Ted, who wanted to replace his old wetsuit. Now, if I knew the spectacle that was about to ensue, I would have brought the camera. He chose three suits to try on but for some reason, he seemed hurried to get through each one (note, putting on a wetsuit is not something you should rush).
It probably didn’t help that more than one attendant knocked on his fitting room door to make sure he didn’t need anything. While they were just being attentive, I think it may have contributed to his rushing.
He liked the first two options, so he tried them both on one more time to make a decision. Now the attendants were gathering around his door making small talk.
When he had the first one back on, he stepped out to show us…and that’s when I saw it, the pervasive beads of sweat that so frequently crop up just below his hairline. Ted will start to sweat over just about anything. Even eating something spicy will do it (and by “spicy,” I don’t mean a meal only found in a place like Goa, even a slice of pepper jack will get him cranking).
By the time he put back on the third option (so his fifth wetsuit donning of the day), he was sweating so much that the store owner actually asked him if he was okay. Ted of course responded in a manner so nonchalantly that, if you were speaking to him over the phone and didn’t you wouldn’t know his face was becoming more flushed with each passing minute.
As he continued posturing with this passé demeanor discussing the pros and cons of the two finalists, the number of attendants “helping” him was steadily growing (I guess news of The Sweater, had gotten around the shop).
But Ted’s not one to wilt under pressure. Almost as though to make a point, he continued to weigh his choices until he eventually decided on the last suit he had on. I think everyone breathed a sigh of relief when he went back into the dressing room to take off the neoprene insulation.
He must have really made an impression because they remembered him a few weeks later. The owner said something along the lines of, “Hey man, were you ok? I’ve never seen someone get so overheated from trying on a wetsuit before.”