Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Dear Britain, Not All Americans Own A Swimming Pool

Dear Britain,

I am writing all the way from America to inform you (and a certain selection of your population) that, contrary to popular belief, not all Americans own a swimming pool.

Though films such as The Graduate, Fast Times At Ridgemont High and Meet The Parents would have you believe otherwise, there are, in fact, fewer Americans that do own a swimming pool than those that do not.

Yes, there are generally more houses with swimming pools installed in the US than in the UK, but this by no means dictates that 100% of the populace gets to enjoy them.

As a matter of fact, I've heard it said that swimming pools - as luxurious and indicative of wealth as they may look to the outsider - are an absolute pain in the arse to maintain. Not to mention that, even once the pool has been installed, there are countless maintenance costs to bear in mind. Most Americans, I imagine, would rather just not have the hassle.

The fact that America is the international flag bearer for capitalism does not mean that each individual owns a pool. It doesn't even mean that each individual is rich: far from it, in fact. What it does mean is that Americans become a target for certain uninformed Brits who believe, with no real evidence, that all Americans are born into an enormous college fund.

Moreover, I read on the ever reliable Wiki Answers the other day that around 36% of Americans cannot actually swim. While this figure is quite staggering in and of itself, has it ever occurred to you, Britain, that this third of Americans might be a little reluctant to own a pool? What did you think they were going to do, fill it with thousands of teeth whitener strips (don't get me started)?

I'm just going to be straight up with you about this, Britain. Swimming pools are not the big American accessory you thought they were. Sure, there are more pools in somewhere like Florida than in the Midwestern state I am writing from: but even Florida, with its sunny weather, can only boast a swimming pool ratio of 2 in every 3 houses (okay, that's actually quite high). The point is, only 33% of Americans actually own a pool. This equates to just 104 million Americans (okay, that's stupidly high). Look, not everyone owns a pool.

A British expat

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MommyHeadache said...

My neighbor has a pool and he let me use it last year. In Baltimore it gets to 100 degrees so you need one! Still we live near a creek and the pool kept getting flooded so it put me off having one built in my garden. Will just join the community pool this year.

Laurence Brown said...

I am lucky, Emma, in that I live in an apartment complex with an affixed pool. Obviously this means I don't have to worry about pool maintenance and the like and a pool, as you say, is a necessity in the hotter temperatures.

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Unknown said...

Laurence! You'll be mortified to hear that there is a typo in this piece. You have written "certain uniformed Brits..." Which is perhaps not what you intended. If however you are referring to the police force and fire brigade please disregard this comment.

Laurence Brown said...

Oh, haha. At least my typo was a real word. Thanks for pointing it out, Angus.

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Hettie Calhoun said...

Pools are absolutely great, especially as a showcase piece in your house. However, maintaining it is somewhat annoying because of all the processes that you need to follow. Also, it will cost a lot to change the water and add chemicals to it. I guess, this is a small sacrifice that you have to make if you want a beautiful pool in your house.

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Cathy said...

This is a very informative read! Living in a foreign country is already hard since you have to adapt to the culture and to the habits of the people. I’ve been reading your blogs and I’m glad that you’re clarifying some beliefs about Americans while also saying some facts about your own country. By the way, regarding the pools, are you staying in a house that has a pool at the yard? I hope you do. It feels great when you have a private place to relax any time you want to. :)

-Cathy Newman-

Laurence Brown said...

Hi, Cathy. Yes, my last two apartments both had a swimming pool and, I must say, the moment the pool opens for the summer is one of the highlights of my year.

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Dennis L. Ward said...

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