Brenda’s Unfortunate Record Of The Week #2


Progressively more manic and claustrophobic, Mikael Seifu’s track is definitely well suited for this unfortunate experience. 

Guys, here’s a lesson on being a girl ……….

If you happened to read last week’s article, you’ll know I suffered an injury and can’t run. In my denial I initially dismissed swimming as an alternative. It costs money & I hate letting go of precious pounds for something as quotidian as exercise. But after a couple failed attempts to get back on the road errrr grass, today I decided to try my local pool. 

The initial plan was to just pay the once, but that came in at a rather steep £4.90 so I enquired about a monthly membership. £29.95. Feasible. 4 weeks of swimming might not be such a bad idea. Despite £30 in my wallet, the lady registering needed a debit card & I lost mine up Ally Pally over the weekend (Grace Jones – my gwad!!!!). Thankfully she was super nice, booked us an appointment for Friday and let me enter free. 

That’s the fortunate part of the story. 

Before I go on, lemme say that in order to even get to this point (i.e. walking through leisure centre), I already had a mini-battle with weird social anxiety. New environment, new activity, I’ve never been to this pool before – is my swim suit suitable? Will I know what lane to go in? Will my bleached hair turn green? What’s the changing room etiquette? Flipflops or not? Where will I put my towel etc… etc … 
It may all sound a bit neurotic but I’ve got that kind of character. I can struggle with the unfamiliar. 

Once I’m in the dressing room though, it’s all good. I’m doing this. I get changed, shower, see a woman coming from a swim with her serviette, so figure there must be somewhere for me to leave mine and I head out, draping it alongside others on a railing near the pool. I’ve worn my flipflops and am happy to see a neat line of plastic sandals right by the ladder. 

Deep breath. It’s around midday and the place is calm – only 3 or four older bodies in the slow lane I’ve opted for. I climb into the water. It’s a bit colder than expected and I’m edged straight into a breast stroke (the kind of awkward head above surface one – I don’t have goggles and as I mentioned, am worried about hair discolouring). 

Pretty quick, I start to get into it – five laps like this then I’ll have a go on the wee kick-board. Someone else is using one and it seems straightforward. And then I notice the lifeguard looking at me. Like really looking at me. I give him an awkward smile & focus back on the water. On my first board-length he says something. I miss it but am thinking, Am I doing this right? What’s he trying to tell me? I tug at my swimsuit, making sure it hasn’t slipped down my arse. ‘Sorry?’ I ask. And then he comes out with, ‘I think you’re lovely’ which totally throws me. Not what I expected and really not what I wanna hear. I kinda laugh it off, pretend I haven’t caught on properly and keep swimming. 

Errrrr awkward. 

Every time I pass he tries to catch my eye. WTF is he doing? This is totally inappropriate – I’ve just come to work out! I try to ignore it but a few laps later as I near him again, he kneels down. 

’How long you swimming for?’

‘Ummm… 30 minutes?’ I say, moving my arms as quick as possible.

‘Oh that’s too long. I wanna give you my number but I’m off in 5’ . Another awkward laugh as I push further away. I can’t get to the end of the pool quick enough. 

I’m terrible in these situations. I’m there to exercise, not pull. I already feel uncomfortable and this prick’s just making it worse. So I splash about, trying not to look up at him, literally out of my fucking depth. I mean I don’t wanna be rude or cause a scene but I do want to be left alone. And it’s not like he’s some random punter I won’t ever cross again. He’s the fucking lifeguard. I don’t wanna talk to anyone let alone him, unless I’m drowning or we’re suddenly subjected to a chemical attack or there’s an earthquake or fire or bomb and we all need to evacuate quick. The next 5 minutes are spent trying to avoid eye contact. As his shift ends, he decides he’s gonna slip a piece of paper under my towel. He shows it to me, ‘It’s pretty small, but I’m putting it there’, pointing to the railing. I shrug (what a hapless choice of words). 

The rest of the swim is spent wondering what to do. I’m obvs not gonna call him but should I complain? I mean, that’s pretty bold and out of order. Surely he’s crossed some profession line – I definitely wasn’t soliciting attention. But then again, I do wanna come back tomorrow and if I say something and happen to see him, it will be even more uncomfortable. It’s probably easiest to just to leave it. If ever I’m there and he’s on duty & makes another pass, I’ll just laugh it off. Worst case if he’s really persistent I’ll go to reception. In saying that, this whole thing has caused debate with my girlfriends. Is it not my duty as a woman to call him up on shit like that? Guys should never get away with creepy behaviour and staying silent gives them the green light. I’m still wracking my brain about the whole thing. 

I dunno, maybe Mr. Lifeguard’s been reading too much of themodernman. He should check out Laura Bate’s article in The Guardian instead. Like a lady wearing headphones, my bet's most women in the pool aren’t there looking for love. 

He’ll probably get away with it this time but let this be a warning : keep your mind on HOW TO SAVE A LIFE, cause you definitely ain’t bagging me.


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