A gay man in Florida does not just love mermaids – it’s his life.
Eric Ducharme, 22, is the subject of the latest TLC documentary ‘My Crazy Obsession’.
In the trailer for the episode, he is seen swimming in a natural spring while wearing a fish tail of his own creation.
He says: ‘My name is Eric Ducharme, and I’m obsessed with mermaids.
‘I eat, breathe and sleep mermaids. It’s a lifestyle – it’s my lifestyle. It’s the path in life that I have chosen.
A licensed scuba instructor, Ducharme drives over an hour and a half to a Florida natural spring to swim three times a week.
He swims without equipment, and with practice is able to hold his breath up to four minutes underwater.
Ducharme adds: ‘When I put on a tail I feel transformed, I feel like I am starting to enter into a different world when I hit the water.
‘It’s taken me a really long time to understand my place in life. Being underwater I feel totally like I’m away from the world.’
His boyfriend Matthew Quijano describes how when he met Eric, he was introduced to the subject of mermaids on their first date.
‘Your jaw kinda drops, and you’re just like… “Wow”,’ he says. ‘When we go swimming I don’t even see him, he just goes off to his own little corner.
‘It’s all about getting away from the rest of the world.’
However it isn’t all good being a part of Ducharme’s world, as the two often receive ‘scolding looks’.
Quijano said: ‘They’re like “Why is there a guy in the water with a tail? It’s supposed to be a girl.”
‘Haters gonna hate.’
While his mermaid obsession may be peculiar to some, Ducharme is making a living as a ‘Mertailor’. His creations have been worn by celebrities like Lady Gaga, and featured in shows like Germany’s Next Top Model.