Note: This blog post is not for the squeamish. If bodily functions make you uncomfortable, please stop reading now. Don’t go any further. I’m serious. Things are about to get real in here.
In today’s installment of Copy Crush, I’m going to be focusing on an incredibly inspiring, amusing, and yep, kind of embarrassing email I recently received.
Deanne Love has made a name for herself through her company, Hooplovers. She has almost 85,000 subscribers on YouTube, 32,500 followers on Instagram, and a thriving business that allows her to travel the world and share something she’s passionate about—hula hooping. But she recently launched a new endeavor, called “Sunday Sessions with Deanne Love,” where she’s sharing her insights into creativity, marketing, and all aspects of running a business.
(Full disclosure: Unlike most of the other posts I’ve done in this series, I actually have an existing relationship with this person and brand—Deanne is a dear friend of mine—but there’s no incentive for me to write this, other than the fact that I genuinely think it’s a fantastic piece of copy.)
Deanne has a knack for writing subject lines that capture my attention and make me want to open her emails as soon as a get them. And when I saw “I was a mermaid: A true story” come through, you know I was clicking on that immediately. Because I know Deanne and follow her on social media, I did have a vague recollection of some photos she’d posted of herself wearing a mermaid tail and I figured that this email was going to be the story of how that happened and maybe some tips on running a quirky business like transforming ordinary women into beautiful sea creatures.
What I got was something else entirely.
The story begins with Deanne’s discovery of something called Mermaid School:
“From the moment I spied grown ass women wading in the waves with blinging tails on, I was hooked. Frantically jumping on Google to discover how I could book immediately. Boracay, Philippines. Tropical paradise. Sold! The website boasted images of what my dreams were made of; a gaggle of fabulous, globe-hopping women communing on the shores of paradise, diving through the waves, getting their little mermaid ON! And the tails…glorious. Take. My. Money.”
I love the fact that even though Deanne is describing a dream scenario here, she still keeps it real with phrases like “grown ass women” and “getting their little mermaid ON!”
Next we get to hear about Deanne and her husband Masao’s adventures on their journey from Australia to Boracay, including Masao’s bag getting stolen at the airport.
“Bookings were to be made at a dive shop; my first stop after we landed. Luckily I only had to drop off one bag at our hotel as Masa’s had been conveniently stolen at Manila airport. He, surprisingly, did not see this in the same positive light as I did. I should have taken this as a sign of things to come but I was far too blinded by the thoughts of trying on my first mermaid tail.”
I love how Deanne’s humor comes through as she recounts what was likely NOT a very humorous moment at all. And of course, the foreshadowing “I should have taken this as a sign of things to come” hooks our attention and makes us want to keep reading.
It turns out that Mermaid School was not the utopia of global light beings that Deanne had anticipated, but rather one extremely well-toned swim instructor with a closet full of metallic lycra. As the only student, Deanne made the most of the situation, learning to swim with her new physique and getting some great shots for Instagram (see above).
But the story doesn’t end there at that bizarre but picturesque moment.
“As I looked out at the horizon, counted my watery blessings and gave Masa a squeeze for being such a beautiful travel buddy; I felt a sensation come over me that I had not felt in such a long time. The kind of stirring that only comes at moments like this, far from home, in exotic locations.”
This is such a great transition in the story. You think it’s going to be this happy ending to a beautiful fairy tale, but the last few phrases make you realize it’s not going to be THAT kind of story. “Is she really going to go there?” you wonder. And the answer is yes, yes she is.
“As I exploded through the door of our hotel room with wild, intensity so too did the top and bottom openings of my digestive system. Yup, simultaneously…and just as cheap, nasty and painful as the fireworks show our little hotel had demonstrated on the beach the night before during dinner. Nope, wait, far more painful.”
Deanne wraps up the story by sharing how outwardly everything appeared to be perfect, while inwardly she was in a state of serious distress.
“The reality is Social Media is not real and I’m still not entirely sure that mermaids are either. Gasp, don’t tell anyone I just said that.”
There are so many reasons why I loved this email. Deanne does a great job of building our expectations for this exotic, beautiful fantasy, and then tearing them down until all we’re left with is a sad toilet to hang our heads in front of. But she’s not doing this to be mean—she wants us to see that behind every perfect social media post, there’s potentially a painful story like this one. Sure it’s fun to be swept away by fantasy from time to time, but it’s also important to keep it real. And there’s nothing more real than a bout of food poisoning.
Let’s enjoy those exotic, picture-worthy moments when they happen. And for those other moments… well, there’s always Pepto Bismol tablets.
Photos by Masao.