Mermaids Swim Free at a Public Portland PoolAugust 13, 2012 @ 5:20 pm (Updated: 5:51 pm - 8/13/12 )
By Rachel Belle
When I was a little girl, one of my very favorite movies was Splash, a love story about a mermaid, played by Darryl Hannah, and a man, played by Tom Hanks. Splash inspired my California summers, which were were spent in the swimming pool, pretending to be a mermaid with my little sister. Now a 56-year-old Portland woman is living out this fantasy a little later in life. Pauline Long has taken to her neighborhood swimming pool in a mermaid getup and goes by her mermaid name: Myst.
"After about a year of thinking about it, I decided to take the plunge, shall we say."
Myst sits down on the edge of the pool and pulls on a homemade mermaid outfit, complete with tail.
"It's kind of a bluish-green, not quite sequins, a shiny material. I experimented with mine to make it full body. So it starts up on my shoulder, on one side, and goes all the way down to my toes...or my fin."
I wondered if the other little girls swimming at the pool were jealous of Myst's mermaid look.
"Not so much jealous. I think it's more like 'How do you do that? I want to do that. That looks like fun!' Even some of the boys have thought about doing it. There's nothing wrong with having a merman."
Pauline's boyfriend isn't a merman, but he is a pirate.
"Every mermaid has to have her own pirate, otherwise she can't transition into a human."
Myst is part of a mermaid pod that swims at charity events and weddings.
"It's a group of mermaids and you know how it might be a pod of orcas or something? That's what we call ourselves. They range from seven to 70. Doesn't matter how young you are or how old you are, you can be a size 2 or a size 22. The tail is fit to you."
Earlier this summer, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration made a shocking announcement: They said that mermaids aren't real. They say there is no scientific evidence that mermaids exist or have ever existed. But Myst doesn't care.
"If it feels right, don't put it off. If you want to swim like a mermaid, go for it."
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