Thursday, August 13, 2009

French Fakeroversy

And today's international fakeroversy (fake controversy) hails from a swimming pool in Paris in the land of France. What we have there is a woman who goes by the name of Carole who wished to use the local swimming pool. She ended up being banned in the pool because she was not wearing swimming attire which had been deemed appropriate for such an activity (ie, all the swimming). According to the AP, France has "...unusually strict hygiene standards in pools". I don't know what "unusually strict" is supposed to mean when it comes to "hygiene standards in pools", but I wrongly assumed that it had something to do with bodily functions when, in fact, it has to do with the attire that you wear in the pool. (Actually, I think I'm in favor of unusually strict hygiene standards in most instances which involve members of the public. Have you been out in public? Heathens, I tell you. Unhygienic heathens roaming about!) I then again wrongly assumed that this woman must have been banned for being unclad or less than clad (going by the French standards of clad, of course). In fact, she was banned because she wanted to wear the Muslim equivalent of a swimsuit, the burquini, in the pool. Behold!
Oh, what the hell is that? THAT is a woman clad in a burquini (or burkini). Yes. She was going to go swimming in that! Now, if you're like me and you were thinking that a burquini is a cross between Delta Burke and a martini, well, you'd be wrong. The word "burquini" is a cross between a "burqua (or burka)" and a "bikini (or bikini)". I, for one, think that sounds asindiculous (a cross between "asinine" and "ridiculous") and for one glaring reason. That get-up that she's wearing has absolutely NOTHING to do with a bikini! It's not in the bikini family! It's not even a neighbor of the bikini! I doubt that it would even be the bikini's pen pal! But I digress. Where was I? OH, right...asinidiculous.

The public pool policy of the French says that "...swimmers are prevented from wearing any street-compatible or baggy clothing, such as Bermuda shorts, in favor of figure-hugging suits." Apparently, the guidelines include "...swimsuits for women and tight, swim-specific briefs for men — and caps to cover their hair. Bathers also must shower before entering the water." Sounds fun and relaxing, doesn't it? Yeah, not so much. So clearly, the woman's burquini did not conform to those standards. Thus, she was banned. That would be the end of the story if she wasn't Muslim. Then again, if she wasn't Muslim this wouldn't have happened in the first place...because she wouldn't have been wearing the burquini at all! She would have been wearing more appropriate pool attire. Perhaps like that of Carla Bruni, wife of France's President Sarkozy. Behold!

You guessed it. Because she's Muslim, her not being able to swim in the pool whilst fully clothed is due to her being Muslim...if you ask her. If you ask anyone else, they'll tell you it has nothing to do with Muslim and that it had to to with the fact that what she wanted to wear in the pool isn't allowed. Nope. Not according to her. According to her? Muslim!

When she purchased the burquini, she did so because "it would allow me the pleasure of bathing without showing too much of myself, as Islam recommends. For me this is nothing but segregation." See, and that's where it becomes apparent that she and I are difference because for me, this is nothing but her needing a dictionary so she can become familiar with the term "segregation" and what the actual definition is because this is a lot of things, but it is not segregation.

I would have (yes, again, incorrectly) assumed that not being able to wear something that looks like a cross between a housecoat and a wet suit in the pool would be a safety issue. When something like that gets wet, it's going to add a ton of weight for you to carry around. Drowning sounds like an option in that scenario. No public pool wants the drowning stigma attached to it. But it turns out, the reasoning isn't necessarily safety. If you believe a one Daniel Guillaume (with the choice job of being "a regional official in charge of swimming pools), he said "....swimmers throughout France must wear special clothes to the pool, whereas a burquini could be worn all day long, collecting everything from food spills to sweat along the way." Spills? Maybe, maybe not. But sweat? OH, heck yes they're sweating in those things! It'd be like spending every day in your own personal traveling sauna.

Mr. Guillaume said, "These clothes are used in public, so they can contain molecules, viruses, et cetera, which will go in the water and could be transmitted to other bathers. We reminded this woman that one should not bathe all dressed, just as we would tell someone who is a nudist not to bathe all naked." VERY glad to hear about the "don't bathe naked" guideline there. That was some good thinkin'. (You think there's problems with the burquini? Double those problems if you've got a naked guy.) I disagree with Mr. Guillaume's rationale, as the "molecules and viruses" that he cites would likely be killed by the chlorine in the pool. That's just an aside to the fact that "molecules and viruses" are transmitted in a gazillion ways, and being fully clad in a swimming pool is probably just one of them. (Since when did "molecules" become part of the conversation? What happened to good old fashioned bacteria?)

As far as the purchase of the burquini (God, I'm hating that word SO much right now), "I thought that it could enable me to enjoy the pleasure of bathing without uncovering myself, as Islam recommends.” Yeah, see, that's the thing. Islam recommends a lot of stuff and not all of it is acceptable. Perhaps she is unaware that for women, Islam is a bit repressive. She also said, "I understand that it might shock people, but I am annoyed because I have been told that it is a political matter. I didn’t set out to cause a stir." Well then, whoever is telling you that it is a "political matter" is wrong. It's not. (She's not listening.)

I guess she might have viewed this next statement she made as some sort of a threat or something, but it's really a grand solution to the whole thing. Actually, it's the most reasonable solution to the whole thing. She said, " “I will fight to try to change things. And if I see that the battle is lost, I cannot rule out leaving France.” You're going to leave? France? You're going to leave France if you can't swim wearing a complete track suit? That sounds like the best solution I've heard yet!

See, that's how a lot of things work. If you don't like it how it is where you are, you are able to go somewhere else where you might find the surroundings and the rules within a bit more to your liking. Are folks supposed to be appalled by that? You want to take your ball and go home? Have at it. Can I pack your burquini for you?

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