Mermaids and Their Public Persona

Book Review Wednesday is back and better than ever. Except it happened on Monday which leaves me with nothing to write about today but mermaids.

I live in Rhode Island which seems to be the mermaid capital of the world. Not counting Copenhagen. So maybe it’s the mermaid capital of the United States. I say this because mermaid décor is a thing here.

Mail boxes and fences all over town are decorated with them.

A gas station not too far away has a Rube Goldberg type invention which features, among other moving metal parts a mermaid on a swing flicking her tail saucily in the wind.

Local shops lure tourists with mermaid figurines, mermaid ashtrays, mermaid statuettes in much the same way mermaids are fabled to lure sailors to a salty demise.

Actually, according to legend, the sailors are lured to their demises by mermaids’ singing.


A whaling ship has been becalmed for days. The sailors are losing their grip. The captain is at his wit’s end. The crew is muttering about a mutiny, until a pair of mermaids swim into view.

The mermaid on the starboard side is wearing an oversized bright yellow rain slicker and is singing with the sweet finesse of Kathleen Battle.

The one on the port side rides the waves silently combing her hair and beckoning coyly. She is dressed, well, like a mermaid.

Which side do you think the sailors will jump off? Me too.

Which raises a basic problem.

If the singing part of the story is an exaggeration, you have to wonder what else mermaid explicators have been lying to us about.

For instance, salt water makes long hair dull, sticky and painful to comb. Which means mermaids have to carry conditioner with them at all times to maintain that silky shine. That never seems to be in the pictures I’ve seen of mermaids.

Or how about what a mermaid eats. She lives in the ocean. At least one of her ancestors is a fish. I’m assuming mermaids aren’t cannibals since none of the pictures show razor sharp teeth, so that leaves seaweed and plankton. Nothing wrong with a sea vegan diet per se, except she wouldn’t have time or energy for lolling about singing and combing. She would be too busy eating.

The biggest issue is the question of what mermaids sing. It has to be mostly a capella although she could tap sea shells for rhythm and blow on a conch shell for emphasis. So that leaves out rock and roll and probably jazz. Brazilian music might work. What do you think?

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. Wednesday is generally book review day. Unless it isn’t. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.