We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of Cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
  • Edit

Finns train as mermaids and mermen to live their childhood dream

2019-01-14 19:10
Want to swim like a fantasy sea creature? At "mermaiding" classes in Finland, adult women and men swim wearing a garment that combines a monofin flipper with fabric from the waist down to create a distinctive mermaid tail. "It's my childhood dream-come-true. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a mermaid or a dolphin but I think it's easier to become a mermaid because it's half human," Finland's first professional mermaid instructor Maija Mottonen, 28, told Reuters on a recent visit to one of her classes at a pool in Espoo, on the outskirts of Helsinki. Her ornamental pink mermaid tail and the pool's ocean-like blue color make it hard to remember that outside it is a blistering cold winter day with the ground covered in snow. Since August, Mottonen, a former kindergarten teacher, has taught more than 200 mermaids and mermen how to swim with a tail on, one of them being 29-year-old construction worker Markus Parviainen. "It's kind of magical or something," he said. He described the feeling of diving with the green tail that he had ordered online for some $195. Parviainen, who is also into cheerleading, said his merman hobby had raised some eyebrows among his coworkers when he first started but has paid little attention to what others think.