Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dirty Diving

Scuba Diving Lets Me Get Away With Otherwise Socially Unacceptable Behavior.

Thanks to Natalie Gibb and

This morning, I sat in front of my clients and spit. How many people can say that? They weren't offended; spitting in a mask is just something a diver does to keep his mask from fogging. I love diving because of the adventure of finding unexpected wildlife and the beauty of the underwater world. I love working in diving because I don't have to pretend to be anything more than the slightly uncouth tomboy that I am.

Diving lets me get away with behavior that wouldn't normally be socially acceptable. For example, I love to use language that is common in diving, but makes people do a double-take until they put it in context. There is no better way to get a group of chattering divers to quiet down and pay attention than to pause half-way through the pre-dive safety check and proclaim loudly, "Oh wait, I just need to grab my CROTCH strap." Silence. Now I have their attention. For variety, sometimes I also ask people if they can "look at my butt ring" and see if I have a reel there. The tricky part is keeping a straight face as I speak.

I wear whatever I please to work. No one complains when I show up to guide cavern dives in comfy running pants and no makeup. It would be silly to guide cavern dives wearing lipstick and eyeliner. When I cut all my hair off, everyone accepted my boy-cut as practical. At the end of the day, I am typically covered in either mud or sand, and I couldn't be happier!

Diving is the perfect job for me, because I don't have to act demure or ladylike. I get to be myself, and my clients accept me as I am - dirty and happy.

Kathy Dowsett

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