A Philadelphia barista and water sports enthusiast says she was ridiculed by staff and, eventually, prevented from swimming at a public pool for wearing a swimsuit that looked like "a bra and panties." It was, in fact, an American Apparel bikini, which she demonstrated by letting a male employee pull out the waistband of her bikini bottom to read the tag that said, "SWIM." This, apparently, was not enough, and she was kicked out anyway.
Lisa Conn shared her story with Phillymag:
"The large male security guard refused to let me swim," she recalls. "He said I could not get in wearing a 'bra and panties.' Those were his words. I insisted it was an American Apparel swimsuit."
According to Conn, the guard then instructed the lifeguard, also a man, to check the tag on the inside of her bottoms (it reads "AMERICAN APPAREL SWIM"), which she allowed him to do.
Once the lifeguard verified that Conn was, in fact, wearing a swimsuit, he granted her access to the pool. She was embarrassed but, as she puts it, determined to complete her mission. So she jumped in.
But he didn't let up.
"He ridiculed me loudly," she says. "He told everyone that I was swimming in a bra and panties. I finally left, asking for his name, which he refused to give me. I came in smiling and happy and left on the verge of tears."
Conn attempted to report her treatment to parks administrators, but couldn't get through to anyone (the voicemail box was full).
The following day, she went to a different public pool, and was met with a similar reaction from a male employee. She could not swim in a "bra and panties." Even after showing them the "SWIM" tags, again (which is TOTALLY INAPPROPRIATE, by the way), Conn was turned away.
Conn demanded a name, and he gave one to her. But it was apparently a fake. "When I called Sacks the next day," she says, "they said that no one by that name works there."
A representative for the Philadelphia Parks Department said that there is no detailed dress code, but that swimming in a bra and panties would "violate the Pennsylvania health code."
Idea for the Philadelphia Parks Department: If you want to have a strict dress code, write one. Don't penalize people for violating dress codes that don't exist. (Also, TELL YOUR EMPLOYEES TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AND CHECK THEIR VOICEMAIL LIKE GROWN-UPS.)
Yes, American Apparel swimming costumes are small and flimsy. In the words of an anonymous Jezebel staffer, "I own a pair of AA bikini bottoms and my pussy is at constant risk of falling out of them." But unless you want to lay down some specific rules, a swimsuit is a swimsuit. Even a Borat thong, even a round-the-corner dong-sock, even two hankies and a maxi-pad branded with Dov Charney's personal saliva. If you only want certain kinds of swimsuits in your establishment, make a rule. Done. Ta-daaah.