As a sea glass hunter, I’m just as much of a fan of mermaid paraphernalia as the next person (there's a legend in which sea glass is referred to as "mermaid's tears"). I have silver mermaid earrings and I even I dragged this table decoration outside during an island sunset to get a cool silhouette photo (above). I love The Little Mermaid and I get how easy it is for those of us who have an interest in things nautical to compare our beachcombing discoveries to the famous scene where Ariel combs her hair with a fork, one of many items in her hoard of shipwreck finds. I actually have a shelf called “The Ariel Collection” which is comprised of fascinating things my kids find when we are out sea glass hunting—there are many forks.
But there are so many “mermaids”—it’s so trendy and also the self-appointed name of many sea glass enthusiasts. They call each other mermaid, as in “Nice finds today, mermaid!” (insert 11 nautical-themed emoji). And I certainly don’t mean to insult many of these people, who I’ll be seeing in a few short weeks at the National Sea Glass Show in Cape May, N.J. Actually, I do mean to insult a few—no need to be passive-aggressive about it. Some of the “mermaid sisterhood” types are the most annoying people you could ever come across; a few seriously need to find something to do with their time other than write comments on each other’s photos all day. On the bright side, many sea glass jewelers and collectors are some of the coolest people I’ve ever met, real or virtual.
But I’m not a social type, which is why I have a solitary hobby in the first place. My 11-year-old daughter and I are going to the national show because she has a number of pieces we’ve found that she feels should be submitted to the “Shard of the Year” contest in which there are different categories (most unusual, best marble, most whimsical, historical, etc.) and cash prizes ($1000 for the shard of the year). She thinks it would be fun to enter. I love going online every year and seeing who’s won, so I love the idea of seeing all the entries in person for the first time.
I can’t wait to go to the national sea glass show to see the sea glass, but I’m definitely afraid of the mermaids. There are going to be mermaid booth vendors out the ying-yang and many of them sell absolutely tragic (the word of my California non-mermaid-still-cool sea glass pal) overly wire-wrapped sea glass jewelry I can’t stand. Thankfully, there are also many very talented jewelers on hand as well; I’ve observed from other shows that the quality of the sea glass piece tends to coincide with the quality of the design.
But I still don’t want to be a mermaid. Mermaids don’t have vaginas. How do they pee or have sex? Why do the sea glass “magical sea creatures and mermaid glitter and beach blessings” types think Ariel wanted to become a human in the first place? So she could shag Prince Eric. There are many things I also happen to enjoy about living on the land, like booze and chocolate. Are mermaids even allowed to eat shrimp or lobster since they are friends in real life with them? Not eating seafood would also be a deal-breaker.
So if you’re going to the National Sea Glass Show, definitely find me and say hello. But don’t call me a goddamn mermaid.
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