Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Girl Pool by Helena Nolan

Men meet at the urinals. They have always done this, even when the urinals were trees. Or bushes. Or a river, whatever. Some of the world's greatest impromptu meetings have happened at the urinals. Girls don't do urinals. And after the age of seven, we don't tend to take turns peeing with the stall doors open either. The public intimacies of the Greek and Roman Baths are long gone, no more communal grooming. Beauty Salons these days are hushed corridors with private rooms; speaking is not encouraged in the relaxation zone; changing rooms are places for bent heads and averted eyes, or curtains. There is no female space for conversation. Even at work, they have had to invent mentoring and networking. So, Cathy decided to create The Girl Pool. It would be a new kind of club, one where the women would get out of their daily disguises of make-up and clothes, where they would sit, bare-skinned, in a hot tub and just talk. No mirrors. It would break the mould, give women that shot at the naked interaction that was a part of every man's day to day ritual, whether he realised it or not. She had bought the secondhand hot tub for a song on eBay. Women were going to throng to The Girl Pool; it would be the hottest, coolest, new business in town and soon Cathy would be the talk of the nation. But first, she needed to find a plumber.

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