Friday, August 26, 2011


Britannia Beach
We live near a beach, a lovely, sandy beach on the Ottawa River, with a gently sloping shoreline. It's about a 20-minute walk away.
A fun place to learn how to skip stones.
I like going there, but it is highly improbable that you will catch me actually swimming. I swim in chlorinated, "dead" water where the only living things are people. There are a few reasons why.

First of all, I grew up in Burlington, Ontario in the 1960's. Burlington is nestled on the shore of Lake Ontario. In the sixties, seventies and eighties, the steel refineries upstream in Hamilton contributed to a lot of pollution in that lake, with the result that the shoreline was perpetually carpeted in fish corpses. Rotting, stinky, and possibly double-headed fish bodies. That was my introduction to "fresh" water — not exactly enticing, though I will admit to having swum in it. I'll probably end up with toe cancer now.

Second, the beach we live near now is prone to dangerous levels of e. coli bacteria caused by the burgeoning population of pesky seagulls. It's not enough that they try to steal my food (No! Not my perfectly browned, twice-fried French fries!), now their sh*t is making the water poisonous. So, there's that.

Third — and this is the first time I've confessed this to anyone other than my husband — I am afraid that a living thing will actually swim. Up. My. Vagina. Skinny-dipping is out of the question, of course, but even with a bathing suit on, very tiny waterborne creatures come into contact with mucous membranes. And it doesn't make me happy.

It probably has something to do with repressed sexual memories or something Freud would have a lot of fun with, but there you have it: I'm afraid I will be fish-fncked.

I've never heard anyone else mention this fear, but how can women not worry about this?

I'll stick with my idyllic pool.
Now THAT's more like it.
(And don't worry. I'm totally not thinking about what living things might (or might not) be swimming up towards YOUR mucous membranes.)


  1. I watched an episode of "Monsters inside Me" where a parasite swam into men's urethras. I don't think about it. Ever. I thought you were better at denial!

  2. Hmmmm... my fear comes more in the form of fish biting my toes and an inexplicable phobia of seaweed. Pretty sure you have just solidified my fear of swimming in "fresh" water, though!


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