If there is a woman alive today who never pushed her legs together and pretended to have a fin in a pool or lake or particularly impressive puddle, I have yet to meet her. It certainly is not me. As a chubby child with reddening hair, drunk on one too many viewings of The Little Mermaid, there was a family vacation to France during which I only swam mermaid-style, a cumbersome and slow under-water body roll that annoyed my sisters until they got into it as well.
Aqua Mermaid’s “mermaid classes” in Toronto were, actually, the reason this column began. THIS LOOKS INCREDIBLE, I MUST GO I shouted at no one, before sending a calm email about “fitness” “goals” to my editors at FLARE. Perfect. “Fitness.” Soon I would be wearing a tail, joining the many excited women, including Miley Cyrus and North West, who have hopped fin-first into this perfect trend.
I was a little worried heading into the experience. What if I had hyped it up too much? What if the photos of me in a tail became part of a popular but embarrassing #chubbymermaid meme? What if the other mermaids didn’t like me?? What if there was a men’s swim team just trying to practice in the pool but the sight of a voluptuous adult mermaid whipped them into such a sexual frenzy that they all drowned??? None of that happened, but it was an interesting and ridiculous and very silly experience. While it wasn’t a super-intense workout, Aqua Mermaid will be starting a more fitness-oriented class series in the autumn. For now, please find an incomplete list of mermaid school’s pros and cons.
Obvious, immediate PRO: You get to wear a mermaid tail and swim around like a beautiful creature of myth/petulant sea teen.
CON: Getting into the fin is like putting on Spanx but in front of other people and at the end of it you are lying on the deck of a public pool, panting in a bikini top.
PRO: The fins legitimately help you move through the water faster and more gracefully, although not as graceful as the willowy twin sisters who are also in your class, and who were on the swim team in high school.
CON: This feels a lot like an activity for children that you are paying money to do as an adult, a feeling reinforced by the presence of an actual party of children (Happy 7th Birthday, Sara!) with whom you share the pool.
PRO: If you have any swimming experience whatsoever you will feel extremely advanced and impressive, like some kind of water baby.
CON: Water babies who get overly confident in their swimming abilities will end up with a nose and mouth full of water.
PRO: It’s extremely fun, and, if you commit to swimming a few laps, quite a good workout for your abs.
CON: Before you get the hang of things the vibe in the water is a little bit PMS Shamu.
PRO: Aqua Mermaid is very aware that this is about wish fulfillment (their slogan is “Realize your dreams”) and arrange a photo session at the end of the class so you can Instagram the whimsy.
CON: Taking photos after an hour of light exercise, with wet hair, and whatever all that dolphin kicking has done to your mascara. Taking photos with aforementioned #chubbymermaid meme–fear in the back of your mind at all times.
Obvious, inevitable, con-conquering PRO: If it’s good enough for NORTH WEST, it’s good enough for me.
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