February 19, 2009

Way back in 1994, around mid-winter, I came to grips with a very harsh realization about myself.

I am a white person.

To some that may seem obvious, but up until that point, I had not quite realized it.

You see, growing up in California, I was getting sun all the time. On my lunch hour and on the way home from work, I drove with the top down on my little convertible VW Bug. We had a pool, so when I got home, I’d hop in the pool to cool off from my drive. Weekends were spent baking. Trips to the beach with my friends and family…I was constantly outside.

I was so dark that one year at Camp, I went up to say hello to an old family friend, who I hadn’t seen in a while. She blinked at me for a moment and said, “I’m sorry…are you from our Hispanic ministry?”

I moved up here on the last day of January and I’d say it was around April that someone (thanks a lot, Michael!) pointed out the fact that my legs were as lily white as the snow.

It was then that I faced the fact that my skin was NOT olive-toned, as I’d always thought.

It was a sad, sad day for me.

People who know me from that time of my life and see me now…the first thing they say is, “You’re so…pale.”

Yep. I know. Sigh.

A couple of years ago, I went on a girls trip. I will refrain from using names to protect the innocent. You know who you are. My BFF and I met some California friends and had a fun time of shopping, eating, and uncontrollable giggling.

Our CA friends had a nice brown tone to them and one, in particular, was an experienced tanner. We went to a tanning salon and since we had time~ No Kids/It’s Vacation!!!~ BFF and I decided to get that nice brown glow on our pasty white selves, too.

Now, I have to confess, it wasn’t my first time in a tanning bed. Weddings and bridesmaid duties seem to call for such things. But it’s been about a decade since I’ve graced their presence. Well, a lot has changed in the tanning industry since then, let me tell you.

First of all, you have to fill out a 10-page questionnaire before you are allowed to even enter the vicinity of the bed. Next, there are about a million different cream options to put on before you go to the actual bed. Finally, the bed was about 1,000ΒΊ hotter than I EVER remember.

After about a minute of FRYING, I was ready to be done. I don’t know how I managed, but I stayed the allotted time and about cried with relief when that bed shut off.

This was around lunchtime and I’d say it was maybe an hour or two later, that BFF and I started to get uncomfortable. An hour or so after that, and we were downright miserable. We went to the hotel to shower and change for the evening and we had crisp, red lobster skin.

Now, can I just say that there is a reason for that expression, “Where the sun don’t shine…” There is a very good reason for it. There truly are places where the sun, should indeed, NEVER shine. And BFF and I found all of those that day. When I tell you I still have the line where the sun don’t shine these several years later, I am not exaggerating.

Things progressed as the night went on. By midnight, BFF would groan every time she sat down. She tried to shift so only a tiny amount of hind area was touching the chair. When we finally got to our room in the early morning hours, we were a mess.

We were sharing a bed and when we got in, she said, “I’m sorry, I can’t stand to have anything touching my skin.” Off went the bottom layer of pajamas. Off went the undergarments.

“I will try to stay on my side of the bed,” says she.

She turned over and mooned me with her crimson buns.

I still get hysterical giggles over that mental picture.

I was fine with it. I helped deliver her firstborn. I have seen all there is to see.

We vowed to never touch foot in a tanning bed again. Never. Ever.

Well, can you believe I broke that vow today? When I felt an overwhelming need for Vitamin D to touch my skin…

“Only for 8 minutes,” I said.

Now, I’m trying to sit with only a tiny amount of hind area touching the chair.

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11 Responses to “Olive”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh LS, I hope your pain leave quickly! I too have experienced the pain, but not just that, the last time I “layed” for a tanning session, I had forgotten my meds “warning” and I had little bumps all over my body for over a week….Next time take it in “baby steps” ok? A couple minutes at a time max…..hope you cool down soon! BS:)

  2. cheri says:

    oh no! can i just say…. (having not known you in your hispanic days) i have always thought that you are the most beautiful shade of white i have ever seen. i have even talked to others about it so they can vouch for me.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is hysterical! I remember you telling me the story of “The Crimson Buns,” and I was so hoping you would include it. It’s priceless. Thanks for the wonderful laugh this morning! T
    Oh, and in all seriousness, I hope you’re not in too much pain. πŸ™

  4. Anonymous says:

    That’s what you get for tanning those precious babies hides the other night….child abuser!!!!!
    Granny and Papaw

  5. Bree says:

    That is the WORST! When I used to lay in the tanning bed I would forget about those very sensitive regions and would pay for it later!

  6. Tamara says:

    You never cease to amaze me with your comical stories! I LOVE IT!! Wish I had as much adventure as you do! Laughing in Oklahoma!

  7. If I remember, Crimson Buns used to get as much sun as you did back in the day!

    And EIGHT minutes?! You have to start out slow, sister. Even, I, an authentic olive-skinned Hispanic, don’t do more than five minutes the first time. That is so funny.

    I have a similar story. We were driving out to see my grandparents one summer, and our car broke down in Needles. Or Hades, whatever name you like best. It was 115 degrees and we swam in the hotel pool to cool off. But my olive skin was getting darker and darker.

    When we finally arrived at Grandma’s house, I ran up to the house and knocked on the door. Grandma peeked out the little window by the door. I heard my Grandpa yell, “Eloisa! Who’s there?” And Grandma replied, “It’s the little black girl from down the street.”

    That’s one of my fondest memories. That, and having tanning contests with Denise Wallace. Poor Denise.

  8. Girly Muse says:

    that is HYSTERICAL, michelle!!! i laughed so hard, i concerned indigo. πŸ™‚

  9. Anonymous says:

    Lori A##@
    OMW I am laughin so hard… I know the BFF and I can only imagine the crimson moon! SNORT! I used to try to keep up with my BFF(TD)who happens to be Hispanic and I got lobster red every time for weeks on end! The only time I have had tan skin is when I have been in Hawaii and had it sprayed on so I would not blind any people that happened to pass by on the opposite side of the street!

    Love your stories. All of them!


  10. Matt says:

    mmmmmmm toasty bunnnnsssss

  11. susanna says:

    That is hilarious. I haven’t been in tanning bed since college. And I have to say I never liked that funny smell after I tanned…you know, the smell of my own burning flesh. Try straight aloe vera without alcohol…it’s the only thing I know that can cool a burn down.

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