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But I do like the breaststroke

June 4, 2012

According to a new study, one in five adults admits to peeing in pools, and 10 out of 10 bathing suits make me look like a bloated before-photo in an ad for experimental diet pills that help you lose weight but probably irreparably damage all the organs you can’t live without, and last year in Boston 100 percent of a woman’s body went unnoticed for two days after she drowned in the deep end a murky public pool and in the meantime families were unknowingly playing Marco Polo in chlorinated corpse water, and I’m really bad at math and don’t remember how to do fractions but even I know this all unequivocally adds up to why at age 10 falling off my bike and smashing my wrist was kind of the best thing that had ever happened to me because it meant I was spared the horror of taking swimming lessons with my fellow fourth-graders who, while blessed with a bitchy thinness that made me both hate them and want to be them, weren’t nearly as conniving as their husky classmate who would maim herself or feign malaria to get a doctor’s note every year just in time for pool season. Allegedly.

Wardrobe malfunction — before wardrobe malfunctions were all the rage — in the mid-1980s. This is possibly the only photographic evidence that I’ve ever worn a swimsuit. You’re welcome, world.

My thoughts about the popular summer pastime are further expressed in this conversation with my friend Dana:

Me: I blew everyone away with my sex appeal at the gym today. Or possibly my oppressive stench, because I didn’t get a chance to wash my workout clothes.

Dana: I can see it now, the girls lining up to ask you out.

Me: If by asking me out, you mean asking me to leave. Then yes. I can see that happening, too. On account of the oppressive stench.

Dana: It’s a gym. Stench is a badge of honor. Or at least buys you some personal space. Or is the reason I like swimming.

Me: My fear and loathing of swimsuits always stood in the way of my learning to love swimming.

Dana: Oh, I despise bathing suits. But I love swimming.

Me: But, you kind of can’t do one without the other. In public. Unless you’re leading some sort of exhibitionist lifestyle that I’m not aware of. I guess it’s true that you never really know someone …

Dana: No one can see what the hell you look like once you’re in the water.

Me: But there’s all that time before and after swimming when your body, precariously stuffed into a skimpy layer of lycra that looks like you left the house wearing only Spanx and shame, isn’t a watery blur.

Dana: You wrap your towel around yourself most of the time, so it’s just six seconds between hanging up the towel and getting into the water.

Me: The longest six seconds of. your. life.

Dana: But swimming makes your arms look awesome. And in the water, you’re almost weightless.

Me: Huh. Like space travel?

Dana: If I said it was like space travel, would you try it?

Me: No. Because in real space travel, you get to wear a slimming suit that hides all your problem areas. Actually, it hides pretty much all your areas. This is probably why people become astronauts. That, and their taste for Tang. And their aptitude for science or whatever.

Dana: Swimming is actually nothing like space travel.


Dana: This is making me want to go swimming later.

Me: This is making me want to wear shapeless clothes and never leave the house.

33 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2012 4:35 AM

    Hmmm…. I can’t help but wonder: What is Diana a code name for?
    This is making me want to go pee in a pool.

  2. Cle permalink
    June 4, 2012 5:56 AM

    I love swimming but hate bathers ( our Strine for swimming costume) I struggle to find bathers that are cut mid thigh so I don’t have to consider my ‘bikini’ area jumping out and scaring other swimmers or small children.
    Good coverall bathers cost almost as much as a spacesuit.
    Needless to say when I go to the pool now with my own small children I wear baggy board shorts and a rash top.
    Waiting for the cash flow to visit the Speedo website and order their Victorian Grandmother model.
    Thanks for the laugh

  3. DMama permalink
    June 4, 2012 7:15 AM

    Your statistics are always enlightening! LOL. Thanks!

  4. June 4, 2012 7:17 AM

    swimmers have the best bodies. male and female. perhaps another reason why it’s tough to go to the pool… they both inspire and annoy me…

  5. June 4, 2012 9:10 AM

    One of the happiest days of my life was when my kids became old enough to be in the pool and ocean without too much close supervision. It meant that I di d not have to wear a swimming suit when we went to the pool or beach any more.

  6. June 4, 2012 10:01 AM

    i believe i originally said, “i despise walking around in bathing suits.” your efficient edit (“i despise bathing suits, but i love swimming”) makes me sound like a guerrilla skinny dipper.
    /cue striptease music/

  7. iampisspot permalink
    June 4, 2012 10:10 AM

    I’m not a fan of swimming. All I can think of, as I swim along, is the amount of people who may have peed in the pool. I also hate the band-aids and hair and dubious looking items that tend to float past.

    And don’t even get me started on swimming in the sea.

    Not gonna happen.

    When we go on our honeymoon (have you booked it yet?), let’s avoid anything that involves swimming, yes?

    • June 4, 2012 4:28 PM

      I was totally going to tell you to put on a swimming suit and enjoy the water. Then read this comment. Now I can’t stop cringing. Ick…floaties. My biggest nightmare of going to the lake as a kid was stepping on a dead body. Never did I think it could happed at a public pool…

  8. June 4, 2012 10:25 AM

    totally a skinnydipper. bathing suits are atrocious. everyone looks better nekkid. not that i get too many opportunities to skinnydip these days, mind you.

  9. June 4, 2012 11:17 AM

    Or just keep in mind that there is always bound to be someone looking sillier that yourself around. Not the kindest sentiment around but it works. Have to say though… I rather wear a swimsuit than a short dress. Sad, I know.

  10. June 4, 2012 11:24 AM

    Very well expressed- you captured The Fear of the Suit!

  11. June 4, 2012 11:35 AM

    Your opening sentence goes right to the heart of my mortal fear: swimming in urine.

    For swimsuits, how do you like the male German/Euro/speedo look? Is that appealing to you?

    • June 4, 2012 2:02 PM

      I’m absolutely horrified by the Speedo, but can’t look away. Like a lesbian moth to a penis flame.

      • June 5, 2012 2:51 AM

        Now I’m sad because I’m not artistic enough to design a lesbian-moth-to-penis-flame candlestick.

  12. June 4, 2012 12:33 PM

    Classic, loved it!! Believe it or not I used to lifeguard and I was on a swim team even being fat!!

  13. June 4, 2012 1:07 PM

    I grew up in San Francisco where most summers it was foggy and cold so I had no motivation to doff my heavy coat to learn how to swim. Since I preferred taking my bath in a life preserver (to this day in fact — is that TMI?) and I avoid boats as if they’re individual floating leper colonies, I don’t anticipate I’ll buy my rainbow via drowning in a pee and water cocktail.

  14. June 4, 2012 2:10 PM

    Okay, totally JUST got the title. Hours after reading this. I am a lame.

  15. June 4, 2012 2:30 PM

    Okay, HOW did I miss the thing about the dead woman in the pool? It’s like we live in two different Bostons. Which, come to think of it, is true, because I live in Teh Suburbz. Gah.

  16. June 4, 2012 2:36 PM

    As a wee lass I rocked mammoth granny panties beneath my swimsuit with no apologies. To this do I cannot explain this penchant. I probably sauntered around snapping my own panty elastic bellowing, “MORE TO LOVE!”

  17. June 4, 2012 4:33 PM

    i was a swimmer (former all-american…if you must know). i lived in/at the pool from the age of 4 til 21. for this very reason…i am not a germaphobe. it also explains why i am uncomfortable fully clothed. *you just crossed me off your list…didn’t you?*

  18. June 4, 2012 10:18 PM

    “Spanx and shame”. Perfect description. Fortunately for me, my activities in the water are largely limited to kayaking and I almost always wear a rashguard and board shorts which keeps me from being required to show any real flesh to the teeming masses. On the bucket list is diving Molokini crater which will require showing flesh to the teeming masses. I dread having to do that. I think that swimsuit anxiety is why they invented Xanax. Just swallow drugs that end in the letters ‘pam’ and you won’t give a damn who is looking.

  19. June 4, 2012 10:57 PM

    i grew up on Tang. i think that explains everything. also, what’s worse than shopping for a new bra? shopping for a new bathing suit. and that is why mine is 7 years old. and just awful.

  20. June 5, 2012 4:36 AM

    Bring back those bathing suits with attached skirts. they hide all sorts of flaws.

  21. June 5, 2012 9:36 PM

    True story, my sister used to be so self-conscious that she wore thermal underwear to the pool. And the beach. Because obviously people wouldn’t stare at her then….

  22. June 6, 2012 2:08 PM

    I’m not sure how, but you’ve managed to bogart two of my blog post ideas. Are we brain twinsies?

    PS LOVE THAT PHOTO. Too adorable.

  23. June 6, 2012 8:34 PM

    Can I be that person who wears the t-shirt over her swimsuit?

  24. June 7, 2012 9:46 AM

    Man, there’s never a body in my public pool. Though I’ve actually never been to my public pool. Maybe there’s a body there and its’ just waiting for me to discover it. WHY am I keeping that poor body floating about in agony? I’m a monster.

  25. June 8, 2012 6:19 AM

    I’ve totally given up on swimming because I just hate everything about public pools, the floaties, the filth, the people in them, and of course wearing swimming costumes in public. But I actually do really like swimming. Which is why I need to become a best-selling author super-quick so I can buy a house with a private heated swimming pool. And a tiki bar.
    When that happens (and it totally will, despite the fact I’m in the process of burning my manuscript and starting the whole thing again and the publishing industry is on its knees), you’re welcome to swim in my private pool and then join me for a cocktail at the tiki bar afterwards.

  26. June 8, 2012 4:19 PM

    People become astronauts not just for the jumpsuits and Tang…don’t forget you get to squeeze all your meals from a toothpaste tube. mmmmm….meatloaf paste.

  27. June 10, 2012 7:18 PM

    hahaha this made me laugh a lot but then it made me sad because we’re too self conscious about the way we look. I say screw anyone who’s looking at you and please do not deprive yourself of the pleasure of swimming. There is nothing that can compare to that feeling of lightness and freedom…maybe it’s just the Pisces in me speaking but still. I want pics of you swimming 😉


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