Swimming Pool Stereotypes

Swimming Pool Stereotypes

You thought you’d left this back in school didn’t you? Well I hate to break it to you, but the world is still divided into bro’s, alts and nerds, whether you’re 14 or 40, male or female. After a weekend at my apartment pool, I’m never more convinced that the stereotypes last…  because they’re actually true.


To the uninitiated, “Bro’s” are jock (athletic) meat-heads who find farting hysterical, consider beer a food group and who live in fear of being accused of being ‘gay’. They tend to be good looking (sadly), have muscles bigger than their brains and use volume as a key mood indicator. Loud = Happy. They’re the ones cannon balling into the pool, chatting up the hot chicks and generally laughing louder than any joke ever warrants. Not all Bro’s are fit, but they make up for it as the clowns of the group, filling their swim pants with air and trying to keep themselves central in the group. You can spot these guys easily.. you hear them first then look for the ones with the red plastic cups. There’s your Bro.
The female equivalent is pretty, popular and social, lives on salad and laughs/ rolls her eyes at all manner of bro humor. She loves the elliptical (she can read People while she works out), and nothing is more fun than a good gossip with her ‘grrls’. She’s toned and already tanned, her hair isn’t getting near chlorine this side of Christmas but she’s entertain herself with watching the buffoons and being hit on. Hey, she’s already got her date lined up for the evening. I should know, I heard all manner of date dissection going on all weekend, from what to wear, to what he meant, to whether they’re going to ‘whether he’s worth it’. I was exhausted just listening in.


Nerds, well just turn on the TV for the historical explanation, or just look to the nearest skinny/fat person who doesn’t seem entirely comfortable. But today nerds aren’t necessarily all sitting around playing D&D or breaking into FBI databases. Nerds come in many different flavors, but they are  really interested in conspiracy theories and get really pedantic about stuff (I overhead one guy argue about the literary aspersions of the latest Mad Men episode as though it was his Master thesis). Nerds can be new wave hippies, complete with their home made kombucha and unshaven legs; they can be hipsters with ginger beards and Goodwill swim shorts; or even workaholics in Ralph Lauren, glued to their iPhone and rechecking email compulsively despite the holiday weekend. Can’t let go, obsessive, pedantic and generally quick to find fault, Nerds are still out there everywhere. Even at the pool. They’re just wearing Factor 50 and scowling at the Bros.


Then there are, as there have always been, the ‘alts’. Yes, we are still living in John Hughes’s world.
Those who don’t fit it the jock or nerd stereotype.. they’re unique. Historically everyone liked to consider themselves ‘alternative’, but few actually are. And as adults, after hours spent watching people work, play and laze around a community pool, I came to the conclusion that the majority of Alts probably aren’t at the pool. They’re off backpacking, attending a chalk art festival but certainly doing something more interesting than ‘tanning’. I found a few… who I could only categorize as ‘the ones who don’t care about fitting in’. Who are happy alone, or not; who are comfortable rocking their stretch marks and wore their tattoos without embarrassment. Weirdly most of them didn’t hang around… I guess they had something more interesting to do. Like attending a music festival or fixing their bike.

Its weird that even stripped down to the a uniform of swimsuits, bikinis and swim shorts you can still spot the stereotypes. Apparently we can’t escape who we are by simply removing our clothes.
Which is why I’ll be wearing a burka for the rest of the summer.

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