It’s an 8-year-old girl’s dream come true. Instead of going to regular, boring old swim class at the local Y, kids age 8 to 12 can learn to swim like mermaids, complete with colorful, glittery neoprene tails.
The school started in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but it’s hitting the road this year, turning up not just in the obvious places, like the Florida Keys, but also New York, where Brooklyn hipster kids will have the chance to channel their inner Ariel.
The tails actually look like they’d make for a frustrating and confining swim experience, but I’ve never really had fantasies of being a mermaid, so I called my 7-year-old daughter over to the computer to have a look. Her gasp and wide eyes said it all. “Can I do that?” she asked. “I think that would teach me to swim!” To be honest, I think she believes that the tail has magical properties that will make her be able to swim instantly, with perfect grace. Of course, she didn’t read the part that says there’s a $95 discount for showing up with your own tail.
I can get into the fantasy of it all, and I bet it does build up their strength and ability, but it puts me off a little that the course cost also covers a photo shoot, and that the teacher is both a swimming champion and a swimming model. In fact, if swimming isn’t your thing, you can also just get a “mermaid makeover” and opt for ONLY the photo shoot, which also puts me off a little.
Now the site says that boys are just as welcome as girls, but there aren’t any in the videos, and only the girls get a matching top if they buy the school’s mermaid tail instead of bringing their own. Here’s the whole package:
5 one-hour instruction sessions
Backpack for your mermaid tail
Matching top (girls only)
2 professional underwater and on the surface pictures
I don’t know what kind of warnings come with the mermaid tail, or if they give you specs before approving the one you bring from home, but the fantasy aspect of this is undeniable. The proof is in the video, although it would be more effective (to us doubters) without the slow-mo.
So, Mermaid School? Why not? I think there are more opportunities here than people realize. Horseback riding could be called Unicorn Riding School with some creative accessories, and ziplining could be turned into Fairy Flying by attaching some wings. Franchise opportunities abound.
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