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!

7 comments:

Juicy77 said...

"drinking champagne in the kiddie section of the pool" LOL! I can see it now. :o)

Tha L said...

Girl, get your swim on. I don't do it nearly enough, but I love to swim, wet hair or not. I understand the perm/pressed reason behind many of us hating to get our hair wet, but with natural hair, what's the issue? Good luck finding that swim cap, but even if you don't, don't let that stop you from learning!

Strength/Courage/Wisdom said...

@Juicy: Yes, it was quite hilarious!

@Tha L: I can't wait to get in the water! I'm thinking I may only have hair problems on day 1 of class, since I have to go to a party soon afterward. I don't want to have woolly locs. Sigh.

aoc gold said...

The Bight

At low tide like this how sheer the water is.

White, crumbling ribs of marl protrude and glare

and the boats are dry, the pilings dry as matches,

Absorbing, rather than being absorbed,

the water in the bight doesn't wet anything,

the color of the gas flame turned as low as possible.

One can smell it turning to gas; if one were Baudelaire

one could probably hear it turning to marimba music.

The little ocher dredge at work off the end of the dock

already plays the dry perfectly off-beat claves.

The birds are outsize. Pelicans crash

into this peculiar gas unnecessarily hard.

it seems to me, like pickaxes,

rarely coming up with anything to show for it,

and going off with humorous elbowings,

Black-and-white man-of-war birds soar

on impalpable drafts

and open their tails like scissors on the curves

or tense them like wishbones, till they tremble.

The frowsy sponge boats keep coming in

with the obliging air of retrievers,

bristling with jackstraw gaffs and hooks

and decorated with bobbles of sponges.

There is a fence of chicken wire along the dock

where, glinting like little plowshares,

the blue-gray shark tails are hung up to dry

for the Chinese-restaurant trade.

Some of the little white boats are still piled up

against each other, or lie on their sides, stove in,

and not yet salvaged, if they ever will be, from the last bad storm.

like torn-open, unanswered letters.

the bight is littered with old correspondences.

Click. Click. Goes the dredge,

and brings up a dripping jawful of marl.

All the untidy activity continues,

awful but cheerful.

----- by cheap runescape gold

Cami said...

I can't, either. Don't feel bad. A lot of black women can't. I learned, but the skill has escaped me now, lol. A friend tried to sign me up for swim classes once, and I refused. I need to get back on it, though.

Eb the Celeb said...

Well its a good thing you are going... I know how to swim because my mom did ever thing to keep us out of the house during the summer so we went to camp, took swimming lessons, was in the track club, the list goes on... anything to keep us out of her hair... but I cant even remember the last time I went swimming though... hair being the reason

MangoButtahQueen said...

I miss swimming...being originally from an island (Hawaii) I miss being in water I can see through...eventually I hope to go back just for the beaches...