The truth is that Ariel is real and she earns more than you do. No, we're not joking. Professional mermaids - yes, that profession exists - earn $250 USD an hour. That's Rs 16, 427, give or take a few paise here and there.
Feel your salary burn a hole through your soul yet? We are, and there's a mermaid-sized hole in our hearts.
Mermaid bars have popped up across the globe and especially in the US in the last few years. The popular Dive Bar in Sacramento, which opened in 2011, has a 40-foot aquarium and a dozen or so mermaids. The bar stages shows for their patrons where mermaids swim around the aquarium in their glittery 'finnery'. The idea is to give a surreal 'Disney's Mermaid' feel and going by the pictures, we'd say they're succeeding.
Linden Wolbert and Melissa Dawn, both long-time professionals in this field have created their own niche market with staged shows mechandise and training classes. Linden, who is based out of Los Angeles has even catered to celebrities such as Justin Timberlake and Jessica Alba at Hollywood parties.
There are several establishments around the world which help you to find the perfect place to revel in Disney's version of the underground folk. There even a MerDirectory, where you can find a mermaid in your area; and an annual NC Merfest, where 'merpeople and pirates' meet to help one another learn more about the craft.
The trend isn't new; and the first 'professional mermaid' was high diver and swimmer Annette Kellerman. started swimming in the Exhibition Aquarium - a large fish tank in Melbourne's Princes Court - for the entertainment of spectators in 1902. Later Annette relocated to the United States and even starred in the film, The Mermaid (1911) designing her own mermaid costume in it.
According to this article, there are approximately 1,000 mermaids and mermen in the United Nations alone. But being a mermaid isn't all about fun. Customised tails can cost anywhere about $500 to $25,000 and for the mermaid to wear one, her legs are tied and wriggled into the latex suit.
Tired of your 9 to 5 job and have an affinity for water acrobatics? You could try being a real-life Ariel instead, and do tell us how it goes.