An Introduction to Mermaids
The Little Mermaid
Mermaids - Sea Creatures
Mermaids have seemingly appeared in many of our waterways and into our living rooms through television, DVD viewing, or attending a local movie theater. Science confirms that there are no real mermaids or mermen and most reported sightings are hoaxes. But, many people still believe in mermaids existing.
Mermaids appear on the bow of boats, as water fountain features or statues gracing the town square of seaside cities as forms of art. Mermaids and mermen have been noted throughout history for thousands of years. They are described in mythology, folklore, fairy tales, and fantasy literature. How this half naked human and fish began is anyone’s theory.
There is the common story that sailors thought manatees were mermaids. Many respond to these men as being out at sea too long and their imaginations got the best of them. That being said, sailors place mermaids on the bows of their ships. Superstition says it will bring good luck for clear weather, calm seas, and a safe journey.
The Manatee or Sea Cow
This is the mammal on which the mermaid came into existence by early sailors. As humans we tend to recognize each other by looking at faces for identification. Looking into the face of a manatee will not give you the impression of a beautiful woman.
However, looking at the manatee when it swims away from you does suggest the figure of a human female. It is understandable how this silhouette merging and submerging through the water may have caused a sailor's imagination to create the body of a woman. Too many months at sea is known to trick one's thinking.
Living As Mermaids
Little girls who like to swim or truly enjoy their bath time love the idea of wearing a fish tail and fin. It is at this age that many young girls fall in love with the idea of being a mermaid. It's the tale and the tail which fascinates their imagination.
In the Mako Mermaids television series, mermaids experience walking, running, wearing clothes and shoes, socializing, and learning to live in an earthly world with human beings. It is the same for girls and women who wish to dress as mermaids and gain exposure and experiences living in a water world.
- Putting on the tail is similar to putting on shoes. We are engaging in traveling. We walk with shoes and mermaids swim with their tails.
- Females who live on earth or in water have a variety of hairdos and adornments.
- Human beings wear clothes and mermaids have beautiful tails and fins.
- Socializing with other living beings exist in both worlds. Dry land animal life versus aquatic life.
- Learning to live in our environment.
Little girls becoming mermaids open a world for education and imagination. This water world imagination opens the mind to dreams and wishes and a wonder for learning about treasures found on earth and in the sea.
The Mermaid's Tail
The mermaid has an attractive hairdo, a decorated or shelled covering for her top, and the majestic tail and fin.
Technically speaking mermaids are bare-chested, but for public commercial laws or privacy American females cover their breasts. The merman continues to be bare-chested showing off his masculinity.
The mermaid tail is the crowning glory and receives much emphasis as it is the fantasy for many young girls and well as women to be able to design and wear these tails.
Sewing skills, creativity, and imagination are needed for the DIY mothers who wish to make a tail for young daughters. Sewing centers stock the mermaid fabric which is stretchable and imprinted with scales.
The fin may be made from polycarbonate plastic sheet; not acrylic as it will break. Or select flexible rubber, vinyl, or any material which has flexible strength to insert into the fin.
There are many online diy instructions for making tails and fins for girls. The serious enthusiast and professional performer will prefer to purchase their supplies from specialty companies.
Become familiar with cleaning and storage care. Some of these materials cannot take heat from the sun or stored in warm or hot locations.
Professional tails are made from latex and silicone to present realistic finishes. The construction of these tails is more complex and would require professional assembly. These tails weight at least 15 pounds.
The fin may be of simple design or very elaborate. The simple fin like a trout will give the swimmer speed. This is the most popular and preferred fin style; mono fin. More elaborate or fancy fins similar to a veil tail gold fish will require a stronger swimmer to handle extra weight and to work the beauty of the pectoral, dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins. These are added features for the performing artist and model.
Trained freestyle divers wear mermaid costumes to entertain at tourist centers. Students who have an interest as an ocean environmentalist are concerned about the pollution of our bodies of water. A few of these students during or after their graduation become involved in educating the public about sea life. The filming industry has been helpful by using mermaids in their film to help people understand the delicate balance of healthy water and plants for fish and other sea life.
The mermaid and merman are popular among young people and they are enthusiastic about ocean care. It is exciting to young people to see mermaids performing in their aquatic environment.
If you are considering becoming a professional mermaid check with local career counselors, scuba diving organizations, and if possible talk with professional mermaids to learn of the qualifications, certifications, education, and training needed before pursuing this career.
Mermaid Costuming - Preparing for the Performance
Preparing for the Performance:
- The hair style will be laced with shells, pearls, and other plants commonly found in the ocean.
- Waterproof makeup is applied.
- There are rules governing public nudity in America so the mermaid will wear a bra made of large seashells or costume silicone.
- The tail is the art piece for this mythological sea creature. The tail may be single or double. It can be designed simple or very ornate. The simple single tail offers more speed to travel in the water. The more ornate tails will slow down the swimmer.
- The swimmer needs to learn how to move both legs smoothly and gracefully to give the effect of a true sea creature. Much leg strength is needed to maneuver the tail or tails.
- The arms of the swimmer are usually held forward for speed and the breast stroke may be used for slowing down or stabilizing their position.
- The ability to stay under water for long periods of time is an individual accomplishment, it may be 3 or 5 minutes without the use of oxygen fed hoses. These oxygen hoses are hidden in the plant life and out of audience view to allow the fantasy to continue.
- The professional mermaid, after putting on her tail, will be carried to her tank. The audience does not see this. When being viewed for public interaction she is wheel chaired to meet with the audience.
The entertaining sea creature remains in costume to help stir the imaginations of young people for a fantasy belief that mermaids exist. It’s a magical experience!