The other day I stripped down to my underpants and strutted about in front of a room full of strangers. I had made sure I had shaved my legs especially, because I knew they would be able to see me in my almost-naked-glory. They, I got in to a giant bath tub with someone else in their underpants and gulped down their sweat and dead skin and spit.
A trip to the swimming pool.
My brother lives in Australia and has his own pool. It’s almost standard there. Like the Minogue sisters and big spiders. I would move to Australia for my own pool (not really mum. Don’t worry, the best child stayed here with you…*wink*).
Seeing someone else’s soggy plaster on the floor of the changing room, trying to stop your kid from eating someone’s half a bourbon biscuit on the floor by the lockers (Alex, of course) and getting so much chlorine in my eyes I end up looking like one of Danny Boyle’s Infected…who has been out on the lash the night before…and has conjunctivitis…and an allergic reaction to contact lenses, just makes me feel queasy. It is an infection cocktail. Mmmmm, a dash of gastroenteritis with a measure of psoriasis, and a sprinkle of verucas!
But it gets worse. What’s worse than bathing in a child’s wee and spitty-chokey-vom from swallowing too much pool water I hear you cry? Well, I will tell you. A swimming pool toilet. These loos are the rare instance in which maybe the boys’ loo is nicer than the ladies’ loo. Boys can (try to) whizz in your own loo, your granny’s posh loo, against a tree, the wheel of a car and of course, in to a public loo. But women in a swimming pool loo? Well, women are forced to attempt a circus trick. Swimming cossies tend to be onesies (I live in England, not Brazil). If we want to get to our lady bits we have to remove the whole ensemble. The floor is always wet with what we hope is just spit and dead skin juice (pool water) and we do not want to step out of our costumes and let our cossie flop in to it, only for us to put it back on our bodies. But, for those amongst us who are hoverers (no alien loo touches my bottom) we have to perform a balancing act of epic proportions in a cubicle the size of a telephone box involving peeling, rolling, one footsy balance, remove leg, two footsy balance to ensure our cossie does not hit the floor. It’s exhausting me just thinking about it. Plus, standing butt naked in a cubicle whilst there are strangers queuing up outside the door, chatting away about X Factor, is quite frankly, weird. Perhaps this is the real reason the Romans just dived in naked. The problem of the ladies loos.
My boys are, as they should be, 100% oblivious to what swimming pool water is 80% made up of. But, I do not need to worry about them being naive about personal hygiene. Ed knows all about personal hygiene. We had a big shoe polish stain removed from our lounge carpet last week. The carpet guy was down on his hands and knees, checking out the stain, picking at it with his bare fingers and bringing his fingers and fibres up to his eyes to figure out what remedy would work best, when Ed says, out of nowhere
“Mummy! The best way to not get verucas in a swimming pool is to not walk about bare foot! I know that now!”
Carpet man freezes, his picking little fingers still embedded in our carpet, and slowly turned his head towards me…He had eyes bigger than the moon.
I wished my stained floor had opened up and swallowed me.
“THE TV!” I said, pointing at Cbeebies Dr Ranj checking out the verucas on a puppet “They are talking about it on the kids’ programme!”.
But I can get over the grossness of the swimming pool. If I have to. And I do have to because of the boys. They need to learn to swim. But perhaps the thing that scares me most about swimming pools is this…
About a year ago we had arranged to go swimming with our friends and their kids. The first time I had been swimming since I had had Alex. I found my cossie and held it up. Ugh. That’ll never fit, I think. I try it on. And…It. Fits! It actually fits! RESULT. Spurred on and feeling fabulous and thin, I am thrilled about going swimming all of a sudden. It’s like I am manic. Skinny and manic with ADHD and skinny! Huzzah!
We get to the pool, strip off, get kitted up and enter the pool itself. It felt like someone had flicked my confidence switch and there I was, in a size 12 swimming cossie, feeling really good about myself and striking up conversations with other mums and dads. I was having a great chat with a group of people in the jacuzzi before Alex decided he had had enough, so we climbed out of the jacuzzi, leaving everyone behind. Staring at my behind.
After I got him dressed I was packing up the wet towels and cossies when I noticed something that makes my blood freeze in my veins and bile rise in my throat…
You see, I hadn’t managed to fit in to my costume after all. What I had done was stretch the fabric with my overly large arse until I had a 4 inch wide transparent strip that went over my bum crack. Framing it. I had a butt crack frame. It looked like two planets colliding. It looked like Vanessa Feltz’ cleavage but ON MY ARSE.
So, there you go. The Romans may have made brilliant straight roads and nice pictures from smashed up tiles but I think they had a CRAP idea with public bathing.