I recently moved into an apartment complex that includes a pool, which—many of you will recognize— is both a blessing and a curse. If you live alone, most of your trips to the neighborhood pool are likely to be undertaken solo, and if you’ve long suspected that going to a crowded pool alone is basically the worst thing you could do, I can confirm that it is so.
Some things you can expect:
- There will always be at least five kids at the pool. Sometimes they will be adorable, sometimes they will be obnoxious hellions, but they will ALWAYS be in your way.
- There will always be a couple young-ish guys who came together. If you’re a woman, they will stare at you too long. And even if just moments ago one of them squealed like a little girl as he waded into the water, they will still seem kind of threatening and rape-y.
- As with many activities, swimming solo is like holding up a mirror to your own abilities. And you may find that you’re actually not as great a swimmer as you think you are when you’re playing frisbee at the beach with ten other people.
- Swimming laps in a crowded pool seems extra douche-y when you’re not even a very good swimmer.
Ways to cope:
- Stake out your territory. I like to swim along the float line because it makes a handy guide to keep your laps straight and no one else wants to swim there anyway.
- Focus on your “form” and “breathing pattern,” and try not to make any weird, grunting noises in doing so.
- Also, try not to people watch. This is usually the best part of any solo endeavor, but it gets uncomfortable when everyone is wearing garments that should be underwear but are made of lycra and are therefore considered appropriate for public display.
- Try not to think about how much pee is in there.
*When a family with 4 kids all wearing floaties takes over the deep end while the shallow end remains empty, you will become enraged. This anger is rational and justified, but is best kept to one’s self.
**When someone inevitably invades your territory, you will become enraged. Dirty looks should be enough to communicate your displeasure, but if that doesn’t work, you pretty much just have to leave.
***While this post is about swimming at a populated pool alone, it’s probably not a great idea to go swimming completely alone either, because drowning.