By Kadia Goba
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Kadia Goba reports, for some, the magical world of mermaids means more than an animated Disney character. It’s a lifestyle that encourages camaraderie and a sense of belonging.
A recent summer day found Nicole Oliva sitting at the edge of her swimming pool in Holbrook, not dangling her feet over the water’s edge but wriggling, twisting and willing her legs, slathered in hair conditioner, into a 30-pound silicone mermaid tail.
Step 1: Oliva spreads the tail out on a mat in front of her, positioning it so that she can finesse her way into it.
Step 2: She applies the conditioner to both legs, from her feet to her thighs.
Step 3: Oliva sits poolside and puts one leg at a time into the tail, pushing her feet into the monofin at the end that resembles a flipper.
Step 4: With her pelvis raised off the ground and her elbows planted on the mat, she pulls the mermaid tail up from her knees toward her waist.
Step 5: The shimmying begins, as Oliva adjusts the tail to her contours and pulls at the silicone until it is wrinkle-free.
Oliva said she knows when she’s done based on how the tail feels against her skin. What used to require a half hour now takes Oliva a little less than 10 minutes.
For some, the magical world of mermaids means more than an animated Disney character. It’s a lifestyle that encourages camaraderie and a sense of belonging.
That was so much the case for Oliva that in 2016 she started a Facebook page and created a pod, a group of men and women who perform or practice as mermaids and mermen, that has grown from seven people to about 30 active members on Long Island.