No Vacancy

Apartment Pools: Luxury For The Limited

An investigative report on one of summer's overlooked delicacies: the apartment pool.


No Vacancy is a monthly column on often-overlooked aspects of the American life. While roadside hotels and remote estate sales may not be the flashy parts of modern life, they are inextricable from American culture. Here, Kyle dissects it all.

40 million Americans live in apartment buildings. Of those 40 million, a small minority are lucky enough to have the ultimate apartment amenity: an in-ground pool. You may be confined to 750 square feet, your neighbor is a struggling flutist, and the laundry room is likely one of the seven gates of hell, but luxury and leisure await you beyond the locked gate. Inspired by pure journalistic motives, I spent several days poolside studying the patterns and behaviors of my building’s regulars to present findings for maximizing summer joie de vivre.

1. It is better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

This applies to breaking every pool rule. There is no existing law enforcement body that ensures people are following them. Until private mercenaries are hired to patrol the grounds, just do whatever you like. Stay past the posted hours, wheel your Weber grill in, and play keepaway with the Ciroc bottle. You may irritate the remote workers Zooming from lounge chairs, but they are inherently itinerant. Pool guidelines are created by landlords, so they’re not the most formidable intellectual enemies. Any enterprising resident should be able to outwit even the most officious building manager.

2. Invest in a quality floatable, preferably one that you can flop and float in full supination.

It can get awkward doggy paddling around kids and seniors engaged in aqua-cise. A floating lounger allows you to aimlessly drift, oblivious to the world around you. Throw some shades on, and no one can discern the redness of your eyes or the dilation of your pupils. You do not have to take it to Chris Holmes’ level of revelry as seen in The Decline of Western Civilization Part II, but you can throw a little something in your cup. Just have a friend or lover keep an eye on you. If the maintenance man finds you belly-up the next morning, that will really harsh the mellow.

3. Bring a book.

Aside from your own personal edification, reading at the pool signals to all parties present that you are sexy and teeming with intellect. Get bronzed while reading the latest Otessa Moshfegh to impress those who are festooned with fine-line tattoos. Stay away from nonfiction. Novels, mysteries, and romances are best. It should be slightly elevated fiction or trash. Do not be a hero.

4. Always be shiny.

Your pool body needs a never ending sheen. Regardless of skin type and tone, nothing dazzles more than a good layer of tanning oil sprayed on to your form. As the water shimmers and sparkles under a scorching sun, it makes sense that you should too. There is a possibility you will resemble a well-oiled chicken breast, but reassure those who leer that you walk the righteous path. You could even offer to grease them up! The pool is all about ingratiating yourself with your neighbors.

5. Invite those less fortunate.

Not everyone has life-affirming access to a pool. If you have friends stuck at poolless properties, make an effort to gather at your man-made lagoon. Saturday afternoon pool parties are known to restore vigor, balance the humors, and heal hidden wounds (does not heal visible wounds). Assemble ample snacks and beverages so the gang is sated during the blissful cycle of sunning and swimming. Pools also possess aphrodisiac-like qualities with potential romances. This fact alone will put you above the rest of the dating pool. Whoever you bring to the pool, know that you are facilitating goodwill within your whole community. Recently, a “Resident Only” sign was zip-tied onto my pool gate. If you encounter such blatant fascism, refer to tip number one.

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