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!”


12 Responses to “Tan Fat Looks Better Than White Fat”
  1. I’ve never tanned well. In college in the mid-1980s I went fishing shirtless with housemates, ending up burning my shoulders badly without realizing it. The next day at work I was wearing a salmon-colored shirt. Suddenly someone behind me gasped really loudly. It turned out the entire upper back had started seeping … and because of the color of the shirt it looked like a LOT of blood.

    Of course, now I’m so old if I were to try a spray-on tan I’d have to look for something from the folks who make Rust-Oleum

  2. GretaKiki says:

    I am ashamed to say, I have “tanned” at a booth every year for the last 4. Except for this year. I know…it’s horribly bad for you. But…tan fat DOES look better than white fat!


  3. Lotta says:

    I’m afraid to spray tan. In Junior High I tried doing that tan in a bottle stuff and had all these odd dark marks all over my body.

  4. GretaKiki says:

    HAHA! Dark marks. That just cracked me up. Like Harry Potter.

  5. Audra says:

    I have been indebted to my friend Harmony since she was kind enough to tell me how much better tan fat looks.

  6. Kiki says:

    Luna you have several traumatic bleeding events in your life!

    Lotta maybe I’ll post at some point how to get the most out of your “tan in a can.”

    Audra, Harmony is wise.

  7. Kelley says:

    I have learned to embrace my whitey blotched self. I was a baby oil slathered. lay on TIN FOIL idiot in the 80’s. Now I don’t have time for that sorta thing, and living in Australia we now burn in a second thanks to all the farting cows.

  8. Shelley says:

    Arizona girl here, born and raised. My brother and I used to play outside all day in the blistering heat when we were kids. Sunscreen? I think I first heard of it sometime in the 80s. My mother certainly didn’t hear of it when we were kids. Although I don’t really remember ever having a bad sunburn, we were just really brown. Well, except when I started going tubing on the river in college, but by then there was a lot of beer involved so we were numb from the sunburns. Until the next day. Hangover + wicked sunburn? You know you had fun.

    My poor kids are sunblocked within an inch of their lives, but they still get tan. I think it’s impossible not to get tan here in our lovely, lovely blast furnace…um…desert.

    Kelley – You laid on TIN FOIL?

  9. Nicole says:

    The closer in proximity the tanning salon is to the strip club the more likely your chances for cancer actually are. The shelf life for a run-of-the-mill stripper is somewhere in the mid to late 30’s (totally made up number) and the usual cause of death is getting run over by your pimp’s car or of course a pain killer OD (totally made up causes of death) but if you live through those then you’d surely die of cancer from all of the tanning you’ve done over the years (total speculation).


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