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Mindless rules at Patterson Park Pool

As the weather warms and we in Patterson Park look forward to all the wonderful summer events and amenities our park has to offer, be it concerts on Pagoda Hill or the ice cream truck circling the playground, there is one summer fun activity I find myself dreading: the offensive clothing rules (or should I say un-clothing rules?) at the Patterson Park Pool.

For those unfamiliar, the pool has a rule prohibiting clothing other than swimwear in the pool. On some level this makes sense. They don't want people swimming in the pools with jeans and sweaters on, for obvious reasons. However, when I enter wearing a typical swimsuit cover-up and am told by three men that I need to remove my clothing in front of them before entering the pool area, it's intimidating and offensive. When I tell them that I'm not planning to swim in the cover up — just walk through the entryway wearing it — and am told I won't be allowed to do so, the situation becomes absurd. I'm not even sure how to describe circumstances when a grandmother is denied access to the pool as a result of her clothing, even though she is willing to pay admission and has no plans to swim (but would be delighted to watch her grandchild splash around the kiddie pool). Insane? Over the top?

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Forcing a person to remove his/her clothes is offensive and impractical. What if I have a sunburn and am opposed to using sunscreen? What if my religion demands the preservation of my modesty? What if I simply don't want to for my own personal reasons?

One of the more practical reasons given to me by a particularly burly bouncer type was that I might be concealing a weapon. To which I replied while holding up a gigantic diaper bag, "Why didn't you search this in that case? Because if I was going to carry a gun, the obvious hiding spot would be a diaper, not in my bikini top." Cotton clogging up the filters was the final reason given to me by the manager. They don't want people swimming in clothes. Fair enough. Have lifeguards enforce that the minute they see someone about to enter the pool with clothes. Lay off the moms (and dads!) and grandparents please. We deserve the right to dress as we'd like when entering the pool area. Swim coverups are called coverups for a reason. They allow us to cover up until we're ready to take a dip.

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Patterson Park Pool is a gem for our neighborhood. Please respect your patrons to obey the practical rules, and we will respect you in return by not clogging your filters with cotton.

Rebecca Skaar, Baltimore

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