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Shopaholic that I am, I own five different swimsuits — except, I can’t swim. Well, I can doggy paddle, but flailing pathetically around a pool just isn’t very attractive. I would wear flotation devices, except that’s even less attractive. (But, it’s a fashion statement! Suuure.)

Instead of confronting my fears, I ignored them by hitting snooze on my alarm clock the day of the swim test. I’m a lazy person, so I never thought this act might haunt me. (I really didn’t think MIT would deny me a degree for not knowing how to swim. For not passing physics, yes, but swimming?)

So, when my friends somehow all found incredibly attractive men by the pool — I started thinking of my past flings not met at the pool.

Guy 1: Had a tattoo from a drunken bet he lost that his clothing hid successfully. After his shirt came off, I told him to put it back on. It was Superman, except he wasn’t so super. He then proceeded to tell me of the breakup which lead to it. I can deal with emotional baggage, but when he referred to her as his “kryptonite,” I realized I’d never replace her.

Guy 2: Had a farmer’s tan that his clothing hid successfully. There are varying degrees of a farmer’s tan, and his was like in the third degree. It completely ruined my notion of him being a walking model of perfection. He then remarked he went to tanning beds in a wetsuit. Tanning beds? Wetsuit? Enough said there.

From these experiences, I’ve come to the conclusion that clothes are the most misleading invention.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that the pool tends to be the most honest place to meet anyone. Everywhere else there’s too much clothing, too much make up, and too much booze. You don’t even need a fake ID to go to the pool. It’s the one place where it’s all out there — the gut and the farmer’s tan. Better yet, if the guy is wearing a Speedo, a preview of his package. In this day and age, it’s rare to have it all out there.

It works both ways though — guys get a preview of girls. Nothing can hide cellulite on the legs, and makeup will wash off after swimming. Trust me when I say there’s nothing more embarrassing then hearing a guy remark after stripping, “Is that the freshman fifteen?” (Thanks, jerk — I didn’t say anything about your gut.) At least if the two of you met at the pool, he can’t say he was surprised, which wasn’t the case with one fling who told his whole fraternity.

In the end, the Institute probably has our best interests in mind by forcing us to learn how to swim. (*coughs* And, forcing me to take physics as a humanities major? I will figure out a point to this.) So, maybe I’ll buy a new swimsuit (shopaholic logic), and then I’ll learn how to swim this time. I might even pick up an honest summer fling along the way, and he won’t have a drunken tattoo.