The sun god is a powerful one. And like all powerful figures, he has figured out a way to convince people that he is imperative to beauty, popularity and enhanced muscle tone.
This time last year I was in the middle of my first tanning bed-binge. And I looked good! I had always been extremely anti-fake tanning, criticizing it as a waste of money, dangerous, and just fake, darn it! I had gone sporadically in the past, but never enough to get results, so I am not sure if it was Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), vanity, or just some great coupons that changed my mind last winter, but I dove into that tanning bed, white buns first.
At first I justified it as preparation for spring break. A base tan would allow me to enjoy myself without worrying about burning as easily. After that trip, I decided I needed to look my best for formal pictures, and then for graduation pictures two months later.
A dozen photographs and god-knows how much money later it was summer and I was working a part-time job that provided the flexibility to hit the beach and soak in real sunshine regularly.
As winter approached again this year, I acknowledged that it had cost me a pretty penny to look as copper as one. More importantly, I wondered how many more pennies it would take, decades from now, to reverse the damage I had done.
I entered the fall and then winter months determined to first maintain my tan as much as possible, but then to be content with my inevitable paleness. It was easy enough—I am Caucasian after all. I reminded myself how much money I was saving and all the wrinkles and sunspots I was preventing.
This conviction started to falter as local tanning salons advertised unlimited tanning memberships at the same time as half of my Facebook friends were returning, bronze, from tropical spring break vacations and posting their pictures. Even a lot of my graduated friends were taking trips to Florida, California, the Caribbean and Canada (ok, not all of my friends were building base tans).
Still, I held my ground. I will get sun (and vitamin D!) when the weather and my work schedule permit, I told myself. I even got a little cocky, thinking that perhaps I would load on the SPF all summer to truly embrace my creamy complexion year-round.
Well it didn’t quite work out that way.
As soon as the temperature hit 70 degrees with bright sunshine (and on a weekend no less!), I was basking in the premature spring rays.
And don’t cha’ know it, here I sit today, my faint and splotchy burn itching, and I can only think about my next opportunity to get outside. Addiction is addiction whether it’s costing you money or not. Perhaps it would be best if I hit up one of these tanning salons to get my base tan…for protection of course. Hmm, I’m starting to wonder if I need protection from myself.