Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Hard Habit to Break

When the weather starts to warm up and I start to see shorts and short sleeves that can be legitimately worn, my thoughts turn to....tanning. I know, I know. That's almost akin to admitting that you smoke these days, but old habits die hard. I don't do it anymore, but there's a part of me that still wants to.

I have Cherokee Indian in my blood and I've always tanned well. In fact, other than my nose and an occasional light burn on my shoulders, I've never really burned at all. As a teen, getting the deepest, darkest tan possible was my mission in life. And I could do it, too.

I used to lie out in the baking heat of my back yard, no water within miles, sweltering, dripping, getting faint with heat, all in my quest for the perfect tan. If it was really hot I would run an extension cord from the house and set up an oscillating fan by my chair. If I had a book, I could (and did!) stay out there for hours.

Once I went in search of some camping equipment my brother owned -- a foil blanket, used to conserve heat. I had the brilliant idea that if I "laid out" on that it would speed up the process. I never found it and it's probably a good thing I didn't. It probably would have cooked me through.

Every spring I would make my appointments at the local tanning salon, building my base tan, getting some color for prom. It's so much easier to wear bright spring colors when your skin has some color to it. There's nothing worse for me than peeling off those winter wools and blacks and seeing the expanse of fluorescent white skin exposed. And everybody knows that tan fat looks better than white fat!

BUT, the tanning days are over for me. As a child I did get a really bad burn on my nose one summer and now I have some permanent damage there. I feel like I'd be playing Russian roulette if I actually sought out damaging rays. That and the fact that Mr. Daddy uses my fear of actually losing my nose to keep me untanned. I still go out in the sunshine, but I slather on the sunscreen like a good girl. So, even though I'm hearing the siren song of the tanning beds, I'll just lash myself to the ship's mast and try to make it through the spring.

But if I blind you with my whiteness, don't say I didn't warn you!

12 comments:

AndreAnna said...

I still tan (well not pregnant obviously) for this reason: They say that each burn you get increases your risk of skin cancer by a ton. And if I don't start at the tanning salon at 3, then 4, then 5 minutes, etc., I will burn through SPF 45. So, that little base tan not only makes me look less zombie-ish, but in my mind, helps me prevent a burn which could cause severe damage.

I never go more than twice a week and only for the first couple of months of summer.

I know, I know. It's still bad. Sigh.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I haven't tanned, real sun or otherwise, in years. I seek shade whenever I can. I'm not even at the point where it's cancer that concerns me; just wrinkles.

anglophilefootballfanatic said...

The only time I had a great tan (where Hub told me I looked like a Grecian goddess) was after a day rafting on a river just after I graduated HS. Pretty much every day other than that one I've been pasty.

Fannie Mae said...

I.Love.The.Sun. I use sunscreen, but tend to be brown by the end of summer.

Karen said...

I have never tanned easily, and pasty white is a color I've come to embrace. (Only because I have to.) But skin cancer runs in the family and I live in fear of it. Thankfully I never laid out or tanned on beds, but I spent all day every day outside as a kid.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

I tan very easily, so I have to slather on 18 gallons of sunscreen to prevent funky tan lines. I hate when I've been out in the yard for an hour and find that my shoes have left a perfect ghostly shadow on my feet.

Colleen said...

I actually tan fairly well considering my extremely northern European roots...but I think it's that little pinch of Cherokee. I uually use spf 4 or 8 and just re-apply often (usually 15 or higher on my face, though)--by the end of the day I've got a little nice color and no pink. If I know I'm going to be out for a long time and won't be able to re-apply often or easily (i.e. major yardwork), then I slather on the 45.

ImpostorMom said...

I am as pale as pale gets and I don't even try to tan. Usually I just burst into flames anyway.

If I've got some reason to sport a tan (say a champagne bridesmaid dress :|) I'll go for the spray tan option. It's really the only option that works for me anyway.

Laurel said...

I still love the sun, but now I have those white freckles...my melanin breaking down they say...so I don't actually tan on purpose. But then again, living in AZ you can't help but get darker in the summer, spf or not.

And I'm with you. My cellulite looks much prettier when it's brown. Ah for the days when neither point was an issue...

Lulu said...

Oh, goodness, I am a slave to the tanning bed. I go to the beach way too many times during the summer not to get a shake-n-bake tan. I have a friend that harps on me all the time about going, but I just can't bare the sight of my stark white legs.

Lulu said...

Um, did I say shake-n-bake? I totally meant fake-n-bake.

1blueshi1 said...

lucky part indian you. I spent some formative pre-ozone-thinning years in Corpus Christi, where the skies are blue and the abundant skin is well done. I was known as "The Ghost"...and not for my amazing disappearing skills.

Think Nicole Kidman, MQ! Ignore the Sirens, Odysseous! Think of Penelope waiting patiently for you.