Swimming Pools in Paris

I like to save certain words so that they retain their power for when a perfectly fitting situation arises, and in this case, that word is clusterfuck. Holy shitshow batman. You think the French are suave? Throw ’em in water and see how they do! They’re like cats. Or lemmings without legs. So much thrashing. So much body hair. It’s what I imagine a pod of sperm look like after they’ve been attacked by a splash of swimmer killer.

The obvious visual of latex caps aside, everyone swims in different directions, some dizzilly in circles, some on their backs, some just bob and float. Yet everyone is in some sort of lane headed in what one would assume would be an obvious direction, alas they’re headed nowhere. Then, there’s a little pool off to the side where the next group is training for battle with the equivalent of aquatic jazzercise while they anxiously watch their floundering friends racing around in spirals. Meanwhile, there’s always a girl watching harriedly from above. And I repeat: reproductive warfare.

There are no rules. No fast lanes. No structure. People will literally swim at you and crash into you without thinking twice. They might try to swim under you then give up half way and just float to the surface- which happens to be YOUR BODY.

I started swimming about a month ago at the Piscine de Porte de Champerret, which, aside from this shitshow, has been a really nice way of getting in some exercise, (also only 19 euros for 3 months since I’m a student) but every time I go, it starts so relaxing ooh sunset swim then BAM 15 people are trying to drown me.

There are several reoccuring factors that never fail to humor and deter me, and also fall into the categories of redundant natatorial stereotypes :

1.The fat hairy man in the banana hammock who lingers on the edge of the pool not swimming. WTF mate? Move it or lose it! Why are you sitting there staring at everyone. Also, and this is a note to all men, specifically the Frenchies though, wax yourself! No lady is gonna wanna touch what looks like a dead wolf laying in between two pink clamshells.

2. Alright this one could get me into some trouble down the line, but it’s not racist, just observational. Every single time I am at the pool, there are 2-3 black people in the corner, in swimsuits, not swimming. And I repeat, I love all races, ages, and hairstyles but what’s the deal with this one cliche?

3. The gasper- you know, that guy who just cannot f***ing breathe no matter how big he opens his mouth. Probably the guy responsible for all of the loogies in the pool too. Homie cannot get it together. Also swims at you, on you, and through you.

4. French women, cheese behold, have really nice butts: This is more of a startling observation, but wow! I mean even the suuuuper old little ladies have tight derriers. I’ll just leave it at that. Impressed.

5. Creepy overly tatted guys that swim behind you/chat up girls/are there for the social elements (slightly different from the fat floaters). Let’s be real, when I’m going swimming, it’s the end of the day, I throw on my asexualizing one-piece, a swim cap with a chin strap (damn thing doesn’t even work though, but makes me look like a synchronized swimmer…or an octogenarian…), leave my legs unshaven, and throw myself into the pool in an attempt to get just 30-60 minutes of solid cardio before practically passing out on my bikeride home. Not there to meet boys, which is something I would have done a decade ago, nevertheless, this pool isn’t the social pool like the Josephine Baker, where there are barca-loungers and a hottub to chat in (I love it there so hard), it’s the pool where the upper-middle working class tries to get some exercise before dinner. But noooo these creep-o-philes must get their loiter on just in case a mom happens to bring her teenage daughter along. Additionally: these guys are the greatest example of tattoos revealed. Pool always induce the double take: Is that a f***ing dragon on his thigh? Nope. It’s his mom.

Anyhoooo I’ve only got three weeks before I loop around Europe so I’m going to try to get in as much swimming before I depart, because, creepy doods and phlegm aside, I love swimming, and the Parisian government does a good job with these pools. It also makes me feel closer to my aunts who are total water babies. Will I join the municipal pools in New York when I’m back? Probably not. At the end of the day, public pools are still pretty damn gross, but when abroad, a total savior!

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