In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.

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In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.

Joanne Palmer: Solutions for selecting a swimsuit

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Joanne Palmer

Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at jpalmer@springsips.com

Find more columns by Palmer here.

— No other activity inspires dread in women quite as much as selecting a swimsuit. I'd rather walk barefoot across a field of broken glass than face a winter's worth of excess in the mirror. Soon, however, there will be no choice. School will be out, temperatures will rise, and avoiding the pool no longer will be an option.

There is no such thing as a simple swimsuit anymore. In the good old days, there were only two options - a boring tank suit or an itsy bitsy, teenie weenie, yellow polka-dot bikini. Now, there are so many variations on the swimsuit theme that one look at the pages of a swimsuit catalog will paralyze the decision-making center of the brain. In addition to bikinis, there now are slendersuits, slendertunics, miraclesuits, swim shorts, swim skirts, swim minis, magic suits, one-piece suits, tankinis, bandinis, twistinis and skirtinis.

That's not all.

There are v-necks, y-backs, racerbacks, x-backs, double-crisscross backs and adjustable-tie backs. Straps can resemble spaghetti or lingerie. There are suits that offer total coverage, athletic coverage or confident coverage. Necklines can be high, low or enhanced. Swimsuit fabric can minimize, slenderize or emphasize any part of your figure.

Curiously, swimsuits seem to have very little to do with serious swimming, (i.e. laps) and everything to do with molding, sculpting and camouflaging. One Web site I consulted had 206 swimsuit choices in styles that the ad copy proclaimed to "fit and flatter."

Yeah, right.

Swimsuits fit and flatter women younger than the age of 21. Between the ages of 21 and 30, you have a 50 percent chance of looking decent in a swimsuit. If you're older than the age of 30, you have a better chance of winning the lotto than looking good in a swimsuit.

Fortunately, Dr. Von Fleaburg and I have been tinkering in the garage again and have come up with realistic swimsuit solutions for the upcoming beach season.

- Trojan Tankini: This amphibious horse, guided by a waterproof GPS device, will hide you inside its body and transport you safely into the water. Once in the water, it morphs into your choice of a swim platform, submarine or lifeguard. Other than coming up for air, you'll never have to reveal your body in public. Holds three people, a dog, cooler, barbecue set and iPod. Once on land, pop the sunroof, crank your tunes and have yourself a private pool party.

- The Big Bandini: The ultimate cover-up. It looks like a beach towel and acts like a beach towel, but it's not. A giant waterproof bandage swaddles your body to create a slimming silhouette. Once in the water, it doubles as a rashguard. When you're ready to get out, it's ready to cover you up. Made from recycled hospital linens with a SPF rating of 50+ to protect your skin from damaging rays. Can shrink your body to a size 4, 6 or 8. Recommended by Dermatology Association.

- Bacteria Scare Bikini: Here's a bikini with a real twist: a prerecorded message that scares other swimmers from the water. Just push the button, hidden inside the waistband, and an authoritative voice will announce, "Everyone out of the pool! A virulent bacteria has just been discovered in the water. We need 24 hours to eradicate it ... if we can." Available in two editions: poolside, with a bacteria message, or ocean side, with a shark message. Message can be delivered in Spanish for an extra charge.

- Torres Tankini: Using top-secret "body double" technology, this tankini allows you to substitute the bodies of three celebrities for your own. Choose between Angelina Jolie, Olympian Dara Torres or Halle Berry. Add oversized sunglasses, and your look will be complete.

Now, grab your sunscreen and get in the swim of things.

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