In the 1989 Disney animated classic The Little Mermaid, Ariel’s loyal crab friend Sebastian leads one of the film’s memorable musical numbers Under The Sea.
It’s a song that extolls the virtues of underwater life, a simple existence away from the worries of the human world.
For 24-year-old Florida resident Christian Riel, it’s a song and a movie that has continued to resonate in the years since.
So much so that Riel took the extraordinary step of splashing out £1,120 on his very own, custom-made, sleek golden mermaid tail.
It’s a tail that he wears in the bath, out in the pool or even in the sea. It’s also a tail that has allowed Riel to live out his dream as a real-life Merman.
“Disney’s Little Mermaid made me discover my love for the ocean and the sea,’ he explains to Metro.
‘I’ve lived in Florida for two years and drove out to the ocean whenever I had the time. ‘I just love sitting by the shore and love swimming in the salty sea water.
‘About two years ago, I found some mermaid/merman Instagram pages and that’s when I realised I want to be a merman, too. ‘I love the water and I love swimming with and without the tail. Wearing it makes you so much faster and it’s just an awesome feeling of liberty.”
Had the best time at mermaid academy today?? here’s a lil preview of me swimming. You guys wanted to see how my fluke is moving under water…what do you think?! Tell me???♂️??♀️Thanks to @mermanarjun for filming #merman #mermaid #swimming #mertailor #h2o #h2ojustaddwater #makomermaids #makoisland #tail #boy #gay #gayboy #instagay #homo
A primary school teacher by day, Riel dreams of one day living his life as a Merman. Even so, it’s not a completely care free existence.
“I suffer from pain in my ankles when wearing my tail longer than an hour and after a couple of hours swimming my eyesight gets blurry because of salty sea water or chloride”‘ he says.
A popular figure on Instagram, where he has amassed over 1,600 followers in a short space of time, Riel hasn’t given up on one day achieving his dream of living under the sea.
Unfortunately, it’s about as likely as finding a real-life Ariel, fish tail and all.
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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.