Poolside Tyranny!

Fuck the French are annoying!

What should’ve been a fun adventure – our five-month-old’s first time in a pool – was spoiled through what can only be described as a ridiculous adherence to regulation. Just as we were about to enter the paddling pool for infants, an over-zealous employee of the Palais des Sport accosted us and forbade me from entering the pool, due to my inappropriate swimming attire.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking, dear reader. ‘Oh, Jimi. What scandalously skimpy swimwear were you about to traumatise the children with?’ Well, that was far from the case let me tell you.

The problem was that my swimmers were not revealing enough. I kid you not. Instead of Speedos, I was wearing rather short swimming trunks, which weren’t skin-tight but could in no way could be considered baggy board shorts – the French have real issue with them for some reason.  Then she demanded I change before entering the water. I know the French are fashion conscious but this was really a tad overboard. What made matters all the more confusing, was that I’ve found that the French tend to err on the side of prudishness in regards to the public exposure of one’s body.


Remember, all we were going to do was sit in the paddling pool, while our son splashed around a bit, with no intention of going for a proper swim.

“But he wore these exact swimmers here, last year,” countered my husband. *

“Well they’ve been banned for eight years,” replied the swimwear police officer.**

*I had, in fact, worn these and others similar in style over previous summers with no such problems.

**Note the above exchange is translated from the original, increasingly annoyed, French.

Graciously, she said I could stay if I wrapped a towel around the offending outfit and stayed firmly out of the water. Deciding that would defeat the purpose of the excursion, I huffily stomped off to buy one of their ludicrously overpriced, and frankly hideous, Speedos from the vending machine in the change room. After changing into their approved attire I was infuriated to discover that they were roughly the same length as the trunks I’d had on. The main difference being that their version was so tight it practically showed ever vein.

Stonily-faced, I returned to the pool and proceeded on with our family outing, while I not-so-silently fumed away at the sheer stupidity of it all. Don’t even get me started on the prohibition of flip-flops – heaven forfend one try and not pick up all the various foot infections that run rampant in such environments.

We were also unable to record our boy’s first pool time for posterity, as any photography or filming was strictly forbidden – there were a multitude of signs about the place, so we were forewarned. This, at least, I can understand, as no one wants creepers hanging about snapping away at random people.

Anyway, we still managed to have fun and we are better prepared for the fascist dress code for next time. Excuse me, while I go pour myself a large glass of rosé to calm my nerves.

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