1. thinking
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    thinking Member

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    Realistic swimming

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by thinking, Feb 6, 2010.

    Ok. I've reached a point in my story and I'm not sure what to do.

    Two best friends (both male) are on a hike in the woods and they come to a small-ish river. They know the woods and the trail. It's hot out, they jump in the water. One of my characters is wearing shorts, so no big deal. The other guy is wearing jeans.

    Do people ever swim in jeans? I guess they do. I mean, the characters aren't swimming as much as they are diving and wading, but still. I just get the feeling that people wouldn't jump in the water wearing jeans, but I've never been in a situation like that.

    That's my first question.

    If the answer is no, then how do I fix this? Should the character in question jump into the water in boxer shorts? That just seems awkward. I could instead make him wear shorts, but I've made frequent reference to his jeans being dusty as a symbol, so changing the jeans to shorts would be more than a little annoying.

    What do you peoples think? I know this is kind of a nit-picky question, but any insight would be appreciated!
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The biggest problem with swimming in jeans is drag. They aren't that heavy in water, but they do cause drag, making it harder to kick, and harder to go against a current. They hold a lot of water weight, but that will only be a major factor when trying to climb out of the water.

    Shoes are more of a problem, due to their weight.

    Once you are in the water, you can take off a pair of pants, tie the bottoms of the legs in knots, catch air in the wet pants, and use them as water wings. They leak air, but they can and have been used to help people stay afloat after boating mishaps.
     
  3. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    I've gone into waters wearing jeans before. It's not that practical, but people do it if it right. However, if they are good friends (or just hung out for than a couple times) there'd be no problem with him just taking the jeans off and goin in with boxer shorts. For example, you ever crash at a friends house? Most people wouldn't wear their jeans to sleep, unless maybe it's their first time ever staying over there and they don't know if their (assumable new) friends would make a big deal about it.
     
  4. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    Yep, jeans will slow you down. One can wear jeans and boots, and still swim. One could even have one’s legs bound, and still swim with arms only.

    Now, if you have a concrete block around your feet, that’s another story.
     
  5. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ummm...my buddies and I skinny-dipped in those conditions.
     
  6. cboatsman
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    cboatsman Senior Member

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    This is not nit picky at all. Obviously if you are comfortable with wearing proper swim attire, and even have it available, that is the preferred option. However, if your character lives in his jeans and that's that, then yes many people have been known to jump in with their jeans on. Hell, I jumped in a public pool jeans, shoes, shirt and all to retrieve a soccer ball for my nephew for no reason other than I didn't have a pair of swim trunks handy and we were leaving.

    Go with what you feel is proper for your character. Ask your character if he would ever be caught swimming with his friend with just a pair of boxers on. Ask if he's alright with jumping in sporting his favorite pair of jeans. You'd be surprised how much your characters can think for themselves.
     
  7. thinking
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    thinking Member

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    Thank you guys for responding.

    I think I'm going to leave him in the jeans. The trail they're on is supposed to be part of the Appalachian Trail, so it gets quite a few hikers. Seeing as the characters would know that other people passing by while they are in the river is likely (and indeed other people DO pass by), keeping the jeans on makes more sense.

    Plus, even though they are best friends, the guy in question is a bit shy.

    Thanks again!
     
  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I would ask myself two questions.

    1) What would the characters do?

    Never mind what people do. People do all kinds of things that other people wouldn't or that would seem strange or impractical. That's why we have those words (strange, impractical) so that we can describe just such activities. If they didn't happen on the regular, we wouldn't need the vocab to describe them.

    2) Does it really matter to the story?

    Is this something important or is this stage props? I'm not saying that stage props don't matter, but is this where your focus should be? The answer may well be yes, and if it is, then go back to question #1.

    Wrey
     
  9. InkDream
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    InkDream Senior Member

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    Swimming in jeans is fine. It sucks when you're done swimming, because they can take forever to dry, but that's the only real problem with it.
     
  10. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I had to swim wearing jeans for my lifesavers badge. They wouldn't be my swimwear of choice, though. I think it sounds like this suits the character and makes him interesting...
     
  11. whiskeyjameson
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    whiskeyjameson Senior Member

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    Change the jeans to some sort of synthetic material. You can still reference them being dusty, and most pants designed to be hiked in can be converted into shorts via zipping the pant legs off. I've spent a fair amount of time and covered many many miles hiking around, spent time on the AT as well, and honestly wearing jeans to hike in isn't very realistic to begin with. Just like wearing cotton :)

    Best, Whiskey
     
  12. writewizard
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    writewizard Contributing Member

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    I've been in the water wearing jeans before. It's not fun, but it's do-able. You might make him have an extra pair of shorts for "just in case."
    The question is here, how deep is the water?
     
  13. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    i've swam in jeans more than once. just subtly refer to the increased wieght/drag/difficulty while swimming/getting out, and that should be fine. it's not incredibly unrealistic, definitely
     
  14. Trovian
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    Trovian New Member

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    I've swam in jeans before whilst doing my lifesaving award (and when I got pushed in a pool once by my friend). They aren't very practical to swim in, you can't get good powerful kicks with them on, but it is possible. They are very uncomfortable afterwards though...
     
  15. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    I'm from Ky, we swim in jeans. If it's hot we tend to dive in, cool off, and ask questions later. haha
     

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