Everything You Need For the Public Pool

It's one hundred degrees outside. 'Nough said.
Publish date:
June 29, 2012
essentials, public pool

There's only one response when you get a text like this from a friend, "OMG! Accuweather says the 'real feel' is 109!!!" Shave your pits, grab your tote and yell, "POOL TIME!" whilst hitting a double fist pump so tough the wind knocks.

One of the first pieces I wrote for xoJane last summer was a Nostalgia Reality check on the total awesomeness that is the public pool. Would it be as dope as I remembered from way back in 1992, replete with all the shirtless teenaged boys a girl could handle? The answer was of course, yes and yes!

Similar to my life in mid-90s South Central Los Angeles, I still don't know many people with pools of their own. Even my friends who live in fancy schmancy condo buildings with more than a lounge chair of their roofs steer clear of their top floors Friday through Sunday. Think "Jersey Shore" meets "West Wing." So, instead, we put our tax dollars to work by frequenting the free watering hole. And everything from last summer still applies. It's like a comforting time warp that place.

I traded in happy hours with Brooks Brothers and the like for hanging out in my bikini with Ray Ray and ‘Nem. I’ve judged diving contests. I’ve received relationship advice from a woman who treaded water for three hours -- with no hands. I’ve been hit on by a sixth-grader with more swagger than men three times his age. I’ve watched young girls poke their stomachs out in a two-piece and not give a damn.

Despite the "No Food or Drink" sign being pretty pointless, there are some rules to follow as one of the few adults there. Basically don't flash anyone and keep your booze hidden in a flask. Here are some options that make everything family friendly and fun.

Put your ta tas away.

I like to keep it modest at the P Squared. This ain't France. Plus, a little less skin keeps the sixth-grade Casanovas at bay -- sometimes.

Mossimo One Piece, $25 (Target), Dot-print Ruffle Bikini, $29 for set (Victoria's Secret), Profile by Gottex 'Spring Daisy' Tankini Top, $88 (Nordstrom)

Have a bag packed.

You never know when you might get the bat signal to get to the pool and primo spots go quick, so follow the Scout Motto and always "be prepared" with sunscreen, skeeter repellent if you live anywhere but the west coast, and a towel.

Baggu Bag, $9 (J. Crew), Wisdom by Winston tote, $17.99 (Modcloth), Rainbow Reusable Minnie Mouse tote, $3.50 (The Disney Store)

Bring Something to Sip On (and something to hide it in).

My friend Young Geezy (not her real name) is our resident mixologist and public pool ambassador (she knows all the lifeguards). Last week she decided "our" drink for the summer was a Moscow Mule made with vodka and not gin. If you don't like tossing the sauce with the sun, then swap in lemonade.

1) Wash external skin of limes and cut into quarters.

2) Squeeze the juice of 1 lime into a glass and add ice up to 2/3 of glass.

3) Add 1.5 oz of vodka and top off with ginger beer.

4) Shake well, serve and enjoy!

The great thing about this drink is that it's simple and all the ingredients can be picked up at a bodega on your way to the pool. Planning ahead, you can get ginger beer at just about any grocery store in the "ethnic aisle," the vodka of your choice at any corner store and this Stainless Steel Zojirushi Tuff Slim Vacuum Bottle at REI ($29.95)

That's my go-to list of pool time essentials but as always I'm open to suggestions.