Linda Maye Adams

Summertime Legacy: The Bathing Cap


It always found it strange when I hear that someone never learned how to swim.  That was a statement I heard often in the military, particularly from people in the Southern states like Georgia.  How can you grow up and never experience a swimming pool?!

Swimming … and going off the high dive is kind of like a kid’s rite of passage.

Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, though the actual date isn’t until June 20.  Washington DC is normally sweltering by now, but we had an arctic front come in.  It was in the 40s!  We were all lamenting that our heat was off.

But no fear, it’ll be 90 later this week.

When I grew in Los Angeles, the end of school for the summer, signaled days over at the local city pool.  In the very early days, they still required a rubberized bathing cap for girls.  Those were god-awful things.  Try getting a close-fitting cap over your head while it pulled your hair.

Or worse!  Getting the thing off without taking out a clump of hair.  They never kept my hair dry, so it was ‘what was the point?’

But the worse thing about them was that the pool authorities only required girls to wear the bathing caps.   Everyone always it was so the long hair didn’t clog the drain, but it was only applied to the girls and not the boys.  My brother hated getting his haircut so he let his hair grow out long enough to mistaken for a girl from the back, but he was not required to wear the bathing cap.

One of those things disguised as fashion, but seemed to single out girls.

They did disappear after a few years, because it was on the tail end of the trend.  Now the caps are more fashionable for professional swimmers.  Men and women wear them for an extra bit of speed in the pool.

Still don’t look very comfortable.

 

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