Monday, August 11, 2008

White Men Can't Jump, Black Women Can't Swim

I can't swim.

Some of you are surprised. Your mouths are agape, eyes popping out of their sockets. What adult can't swim?? It's soooo easy! I know your thoughts. Believe me, I've heard it all before.

But there are those of you who understand what I'm going through. I'm a black woman. And that means I do NOT want to get my hair wet under any circumstances. (It's somewhat easier with natural hair, but it's still a challenge) Then I have this general discomfort of being in a bathing suit and exposing myself to a bunch of strangers. Plus, I wear contact lenses. If I were to get in the water -- dunk my head underneath and everything -- I'd either have to take my contacts out, or where goggles.

This summer, I went on a vacation to the Caribbean that made me want to change my ways. I spent five glorious days in St. Martin, where I spent alot of time in my bathing suit, on the beach or in the pool or the ocean. Because I can't swim, my exposure to the water was limited to jumping over the waves, drinking champagne in the kiddie section of the pool, and having a gentle splash fight, that managed to keep my hair mostly dry.

I returned to the states wondering what it would be like to actually learn how to swim. So I signed up for beginner swim classes at the new 'Aquatic Center' near my home. They start soon, and I already have a pair of goggles to protect my lenses. (I hope they work!) I haven't been able to find a swim cap yet, but I may have to go for drastic levels. If I can't get a swim cap in time, I'll braid my locs up and shroud them up with a scarf and no less than two shower caps. Think I'm playin'. This was enough to save me when I got baptized.

But let me not forget to add the most worrisome part of this upcoming swim class. The adult/beginner lessons are open to people aged 13 and up. I can't wait to be surrounded by teeny boppers!