This week some friends of mine invited me to go to the public pool with them. It sounds like great fun, right? Nothing is better than a care-free day spent swimming and tanning.
But at this pool, to go in the water you must wear a swim cap.
Why? It can't be vital for the functionality of the pool, because lots of pools let people swim with their hair waving free.
I think it is clear that they do it to cut down on flirtation, namely between swimmers and lifeguards.
First of all, the lifeguards will see you in your swim cap at some point. Sure, you could just stay out of the water the whole time, but that is enough to break even the most image-conscious person. It's just too tantalizing. If it was May, maybe you could do it, but it is July, and it is far too hot to sit in the sun looking at the water without actually going in. So sooner or later you will jump in, even if it's just for a moment. And the lifeguards will see you.
Secondly, the lifeguards don't have to wear swim caps. They sit under their umbrellas in packs, laughing and being tan and good-looking. Mostly they don't interact with us common folk(but you kind of know they are talking about you every once in a while...like when they burst out laughing as soon as you swim by) except to blow their whistles at the few people who try to slip into the water with their dignity and without their caps.
It would take an enormous amount of self-confidence coupled with desperation to flirt with the lifeguards. It can't go well.
Say you go up and talk to them before you don your aquatic headgear. And it goes really well. Then you go in the water, and they see you, and you see that look of horror in their eyes as they realize that you, the bald sea-monster, are the same person with whom they were bantering a few short minutes ago.
Or you talk to them after you swim. They've already seen you at your ugliest and that might be a big step for a healthy relationship, but for a first impression it just scares them off. They will forever be scarred by that image of you.
I'm assuming no one would ever try to flirt with anyone while wearing a cap.
I didn't see a single person speak to or make eye-contact with the lifeguards the whole time I was there.