Whenever my kids mention swimming, I’m filled with a sense of dread. Don’t get me wrong, I have no issues with swimming per se, in fact, I rather like the activity itself. Perhaps I should clarify – it’s swimming in public places that I don’t like. I have rational reasons for this… honest:
1. Swimming costumes. Why can’t I wear a Victorian bathing suit? Why do I have to have my pasty, sun-starved, resembles-a-pound-of-tripe thighs on show? Why does my saggy, kangaroo pouch of a tummy have to be on display for everyone’s scrutiny. Why does some perfect specimen of supermodel have to walk out of the changing rooms and into the pool just in front of me, emerging poolside seconds before to display me at my absolute worst just by direct comparison? Please, some fashionista take pity on me and bring back the full body bathing suit, I’m sure you’d be the saviour of self-conscious women everywhere.
2. Why does every lifeguard have to be a sneering teenage boy? And can’t they have some sort of mandatory training that enables them to prevent themselves retching when a particularly lardy specimen of womanhood passes by their big tall stool thingy? All that’s lacking is a scoreboard and my humiliation would be complete.
3. Hair. Why did God have to cover us in hair in ridiculous places that only needs shaving/ waxing/ ripping out in the most unimaginably painful way? And why do you always, always, miss a bit during the de-fuzz process, usually in the most obvious, visible place, so that when you discover your horrific oversight, you have to negotiate poolside practically crossed legged the whole time. And please, nobody swim by me underwater with their eyes open…
4. Chlorine. Otherwise known as chemical warfare.
5. Lockers. Everything I own will be stolen whilst I’m in the pool, my identity will be cloned by some drugs baron in Columbia and I’ll be on Crimewatch next week. Just as I dish up fishfingers to my kids, my cloned alterego will be conducting an illegal military coup in a small, barely known principality just left of Tanzania. Just after the washing up is done, a crack team of SAS soldiers will swing into my house and take me to a top security military prison. No amount of pleading ‘I was watching Eastenders when the president was being assassinated’ will persuade them of my innocence.
So there it is…. swimming.
‘Mum, can we go swimming today?’
‘Sure, sweetie, just after I chew my own arm off…’