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 1,000º 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.