Tan Fat Looks Better Than White Fat
I am as white as I can be. It is true. In Michigan after months of snow and a spring break to tropical Chicago you could describe me as fishbelly white. Now if you’re former Michigander, Madonna, you have accepted this color and turned yourself into chiseled marble. You’ve also moved to England where no one is expected to have a tawny glow. But I am not Madonna, I often have to tell excited fans this, mistaken for her all the time, I am. Oops, my inner-monologue leaked out, get back in there inner-monologue and finish that talent show scene with Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing. I hate it when the inner-monologue breaks free.
Back to the point: a tan is helpful if you are also fighting the bulge. It gives you a little healthy glow and if by some freakish chance you have muscle tone somewhere it highlights it. Over the years the way I’ve pursued that glow has evolved.
Early 1970s-1984 In the beginning my chic mother would slather herself with baby oil and push me out to the pool. She would bake. I would play in the summer sun for 6 or 7 hours. Bright red from turned up nose to pepperoni colored shoulders was the goal. The next day mom would put a t-shirt on me and that white zinc-oxide on my nose. That one day helped me toughen up and I was good to go for the rest of the summer.
1984-1991 From my teen years to my early twenties I fried myself like a piece of bacon on the skillet. I learned of tanning booths. Before Spring Break trips to Daytona I would pay for sessions at a tanning salon to get a “base.” I would stand in the booth with my arms in the air. In this way I could achieved an “even” tan. This is the time of high school and college trips. Forget about binge drinking, I was binge tanning. The apex of my tanning achievement: blisters on my chest that caused me to pass out. Yeah I was unconscious but oh so tanned, so toned and so blonde streaked. The rest of the world could only help envy me. Sorry world I’m just that fabulous, and yes my Puka Shell necklace is the perfect contrast against the tan (albeit blistery) complexion.
1991-2006 I am now a woman. I am a mother-woman-giver of life-protector-nurturer. I am uh, curvy. While sitting in the backyard sunning, watching my toddler in the wading pool and holding my newborn baby a car of teenagers drives by. I hear them yell. I think, yes, I’m still hot. It is not until the doppler effect brings the true sound to me that I hear “BEACHED WHALE.” I lift up the newborn and scream back, “THIS JUST CAME OUT OF ME.” The trauma of it underscores the importance of tanning my jiggle. It is now indelibly etched in my psyche.
It is at this time I discover that tan in a can or bronzers are a better idea. I no longer have time for a tanning appointments since they won’t let me take toddlers in there. I learn to exfoliate. I become an expert at slathering myself in bronzer and strategically wiping it off in places. If I don’t do this I look like a dirty little pig in slop around the ankles and elbows. My palms are very tawny during this stage of my life. Also my hand webbing is an unnatural color. I also never noticed I had hand webbing until I began to use bronzers.
PRESENT DAY: The spray tan era begins. Visit Monday where I will recount the moment the tan grenade exploded at my feet and I rationalize “if strippers come here it must be the best!”