Interviews with half-naked revelers at Coney Island’s strangest summer festival.
What do you do when not a mermaid?
I am never not a mermaid.
Right. So, hypothetically, if you were a human…
I’d work in a theater. But in spirit, I’d always be a mermaid.
Best way to hit on a mermaid?
Compliment the color and size of her fin. Focus on the fin, as opposed to her chest. It's kinder.
If the mermaid were a sex position, what would it look like?
Well, nothing standing, because that doesn’t really work with the fin. Mermaids' arms are pretty strong, so probably something sort of in a push-up position.
You aren't wearing pasties.
I am mildly more conservative than the girls wearing pasties.
Is it okay to fake an orgasm?
Yes. Because sometimes you want to go home.
I was raised to believe that guys hit on girls, and girls hang out at bars and look pretty, waiting to get hit on. Here’s the trouble: I’m getting sick of waiting. What can I do to hit on a guy without scaring him off?
Find out what he’s drinking, and then stand beside him, and order the same drink. Or buy him a drink. I’ve heard that’s a good way to hit on someone [laughs].
How do you keep longer relationships interesting?
Doing your own research is helpful. Don't just pick up Cosmo; the internet contains a wealth of knowledge.
What's your favorite thing that you do to spice up a relationship?
Interesting toys. Don't be afraid of going to a shop and picking up something new. Guys seem to enjoy that. You know, "Look what I've got!"
My girlfriend refuses to have sex with the lights on, but it really turns me on to see her. How can I get her to loosen up?
Start with low lighting at first, or candles. That sets the mood. Or work on actual mood lighting; you can turn the lamp at a wall, so that it's not an interrogation light but softer.
Any tips from a mermaid for sex in the shower?
That is absolutly okay, any time.
How do you avoid falling down?
They make those really great bars that old people install. Go to grandma's house. Having a good brace on the wall is good; you can't do it in one of those soft stall showers, or those little tiny stand-in showers. Do some yoga, stretch a little. You have to contort in a small space.
What about sex on the beach?
Too much sand. Too much chafing.
Have you ever done it?
I have not. Because I don't want to get a rug burn from the sand. [J's friend: You've never done it?? Are you from a landlocked state?] No, I'm from Jersey! It's just not for me.
What's the best way to pick up a mermaid?
With your hands.
Okay. But what if you actually wanted to, you know, "pick her up?"
Oh, like that? By wearing a Speedo, so long as it's not too tight. Oh, and with rhinestone nipples.
Mermaids love rhinestone nipples?
Yeah, especially if you need help reapplying. Mermaids love doing that.
If you're hooking up with a mermaid, do you keep your costume on or take it off?
Both. You start with it on, and then gradually it all comes off.
If the mermaid were a sex position, how would it work?
You know, I always wondered that. There’s that Shel Silverstein song where he's with the mermaid, and he meets her sister, who has the head of the fish and the legs of a woman and he wants her instead — for obvious, biological reasons. If you have a human lower-half, you can do any position. But with a tail for a bottom? It's pretty difficult. Probably in a net or some kind of harpoon entrapment.
Okay. We meant that a little more figuratively, but that was great. Is it ever okay to fake an orgasm?
Sure. As long as everyone is happy, it's fine.
Do you think the girl is happy if she fakes an orgasm?
So, it’s only okay for men?
No. I take that back. I don't think anyone should fake an orgasm. You should keep working 'til you get it right.
I was raised to believe that guys hit on girls, and girls hang out at bars and look pretty, waiting to get hit on. Here’s the trouble: I’m getting sick of waiting. How can a girl hit on a guy without scaring him off?
It’s never scared me off! I think guys have to learn to share the pants a little bit, you know? If the girl wants to take charge and says, "Hey, I like you, I want to hit on you," then guys shouldn't be afraid of that.
Do you get hit on by girls at bars a lot?
Not as much as I'd like to. So, my real advice to women would be: do it more.
My boyfriend refuses to have sex with the lights on, but I want to see his hot body. What can I do to make him more comfortable?
Maybe flashlights or glow sticks. Or candles! Set the mood a little bit.
Wait, flashlights? Have you ever had flashlight sex?
No. Glow-stick sex, yes. Do you think they make clear dildos that have neon lights inside?
Elise, 25, Photographer
What’s the best way to pickup a mermaid?
With your hands. Or with your fins! I don’t know if I’d want to pick up a mermaid. They kind of smell fishy.
What makes mermaids sexy? Is it the pasties?
I think pasties are kind of skanky, actually. I’m more covered than most mermaids here, thank you very much. Although, when I was walking through Bay Ridge to get here, everyone looked at me, as if they were thinking, “Demon girl!”
Is it ever okay to fake an orgasm?
No. Because if he sucks, he’s got to know it.
So you’re vocal if the guy sucks?
No, I’m just like, “Okay, well, that was nice.” I’ve been seeing the same guy for a long time, so I’ve never had to fake anything.
I was raised to believe that guys hit on girls, and girls hang out at bars and look pretty, waiting to get hit on. Here’s the trouble: I’m getting sick of waiting. How can a girl hit on a guy without scaring him off
It’s no different. Why don’t you try saying, “What’s your name?” Or drop something on him and be like, “Oh dear! I’m so sorry! Did I ruin your shirt?”
So you’re suggesting I ruin a man’s shirt to talk to him?
It works! And it doesn’t have to be a drink; it can be something much less messy. For me, it was something ridiculous, French fries, I think. I was like, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry! What’s your name?”
My boyfriend is really into having sex in the shower. I’m down in theory, but I can’t help feeling like it’s super dangerous — just imagining what would happen if we fell makes me wince. Plus, it’s a waste of water! Any tips from a mermaid?
Hold onto something. Like the bar that holds onto the shower curtain.
My boyfriend really wants to have sex with the lights on, but I’m a little ashamed of my body. What can he do to make me feel better about it?
You should try one of those little things, the lights that miners put on their head? [laughs] I’ve never done it, but I’m sure it would help. Also candles obviously work, but that might be lame. Not lame — romantic quote-unquote —but not very creative.