Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Evolution of Tanning

When I was a teenager, every year when the weather started to get warmer and the days started to get longer, I just KNEW that that would be THE year. The year when I too, would have "it".

Remember the days before thoughts of skin cance
r, wrinkles and all the other sun related traumas were on anyone's mind? I would see those girls, who would start laying out in the sun as soon as the temperature raised above 60 degrees, and I would make up my mind that I was going to have it. What was "it"? The PERFECT TAN. THE COPPERTONE TAN.

Alas, it wasn't me
ant to be.

I tried. At about 11:00 AM, I would gather my
lawn chair, towel, radio, book and water. I would go into the back yard, check out the best direction to lay where the sun would give me that perfect tan, position my chair, find the perfect radio station, lay down, and wait for the sun to turn me into the golden goddess of my dreams. I would lay there and imagine how dark I was getting, every now and then checking for tan lines and sweating. After what felt like hours, my ADHD would kick in. I would reposition, try to read (which is impossible in the bright sun), take a sip of water and then decide that I had probably been out there for at least 2 hours. That would be enough for the first day. I would gather up all my belongings, go inside, look at the clock, and it would be around 11:15 AM. I MIGHT have done that twice, at the most, each year.

There had to be another way.

Then one year someone told me that Baby Oil was
perfect to achieve the perfect tan. I slathered myself up, forced myself to stay outside for more than 15 minutes and the results were....well.... painful.

Then I heard about self tanning lotions. For the first few years that self tanners were on the market, they had one slight problem. Orange wasn't exactly the color I was aiming for.

Before tanning beds became popular, there was this "contraption" where you would go stand in a little booth and it would zap you with somewhere near a zillion times the strenghth of the sun in just 4 minutes. You had to wear these googles that looked like they were straight out of the movie Alien. Well, this was great. Now I had the "baby oil" tan with racoon eyes.

Then I discovered the tanning beds. They worked like a charm. You would lay there for 10-15 minutes at a time and after a few visits you would have a golden beautiful tan. The Coppertone Tan. The "Perfect Tan". And yes, for a few years I did that. Being someone that does everything to the extreme (bet you never guessed that about me), I would go to the tanning booth every day or every other day and I had The Perfect Tan.

As the years went by, people got wiser to the dangers of too much sun exposure. Now that I had finally achieved The Perfect Tan, it was no longer en vogue. That is when the "Spray-On Tanning Booths" started to show up. You stand in a booth and it sprays you with a fine mist of coloring that lasts about a week. The problem with this is, you must heavily slather certain parts of your body, (palms, ankles, elbows) with lotion or you will not tan evenly. I never could get that "just right". Even with the new and improved self-tanning lotions that you do at home, I still got the same effect.For a few years after that, I went back to the tanning booths. I did it in moderation and it looked like things were going to work out great from then on. MODERATION....what a novel idea!

As the years went by, everything seemed fine. Then, quite unexpectedly (and horrifyingly) I noticed the tanning beds weren't tanning me the same way. As I lay there on my back, imaging the golden tan I was getting, gravity took over. GRAVITY. A four letter word!

Because of gravity, as I laid there on my back, there w
ere places that were not getting tanned. Suddenly "something" was causing shadows. If I have to explain that to you, well, you're too young and I'm going to let you find out for yourself.

What's a woman to do?
If you think about it, what's the big deal?
So what if my legs glow in the dark?
Who cares?

I've noticed as I've gotten older that it really doesn't matter.
Yes, my skin is very white.
I suppose it's my Irish ancestry. We tend to be fa
ir skinned...except for our red noses.
I say "Stand Proud!"

Who needs the hassle?

Then again, it is a beautiful day out today. I wonder where that baby oil is?

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Chatty Kelly said...

Okay, first of all who taught you how to scan? Second, someone had some free time to color. Wow.

LOVED it. I do the spray tan, but only when I'm going somewhere important. Other than that, I glow in the dark.

*sigh* White is the new tan.

Anonymous said...

loved it--cute pictures!! I get tan just by being outside doing yard work or taking the kids somewhere.


Greg C said...

This post made me laugh. Outside on our deck beside my tanning lounger sits a bottle of baby oil. The secret is to not stay in the sun so long. The oil keeps the skin from burning if you only stay out for about 30 minutes a day but it turns you into fried chicken after that. Great post. I loved it too. You are quite the artist.

On Purpose said...

Hey girl not only are you an awesome blogger you are an amazing artist...those are some great pics!!! And thanks for making me feel "cool" and in trend by being a glow in the dark pale white skin chicky babe!

Beverlydru said...

This was hilarious. You can draw, you can scan. And you can color.
And you are Funny. Your comment at Linda's that "My Life is a Limerick" was so great.

Meredith Leigh Knight said...

I love this! What a great topic! The pictures are priceless. I have been through every stage. Now, after my first wrinkle (or two) has appeared, I am using 50 spf and wearing hats for the first time in my life.

My daughter doesn't tan at all; her body won't. She used to get teased when she was little about being so (ghostly) white. Now, she's in college and could totally care a less. When she was younger, I told her she would have the last laugh because she would be wrinkle-free and beautiful well into her old age.

Jenny said...

Great post, very funny.

Blasé said...

I like the way you stayed INSIDE of the Lines...

And, I just love the hair. WHOOOoo!

Sue J. said...

I have that suit! Trading it in for a rash guard....

I'd say that if they bottled up the coconutty scent of that Ban de Soleil that they'd make millions--but, it already comes in a bottle.

Nope...your model needs a pareo and a stunning head scarf to match, along with some sunglasses and SPF 75.

(sigh, indeed, CK)

Edie said...

I love the visuals! LOL!

I grew up in California. In "The Valley" to be specific. Yes the actual THE valley. Betcha didn't know I was a valley girl. Actually I wasn't but my daughter was for a little while. The talk and everything, like ya know?

Anyway, I used to go outside as soon as there was a sunny spot to lay in and I would spend the entire day following it around the pool the there was none left. I used Hawaiian Tropic dark tanning oil. I have a picture of me as a teenager where I look black. It doesn't look good on me.

I have had some very bad sunburns too. My dad was part Irish and I have a fair amount of his red complexion.

Have only been to a tanning bed once.

I'm so glad that white is in now. :)

The Patterson 5 said...

You....stay out of the sun with that baby oil on!!!! I remember those days unfortunately. My brother and his friends on a high school beach trip slathered themselves in Afro sheen (how they came up with that idea...who knows) It worked.

I laughed out loud on the older lady tanning bed picture (white spots on arms from saggage!)

White, pale, pasty skin in "in"! :) Bring on the Coopertone Kids spf 70!

Debbie said...

I cringe at the damage I did to myself in my youth. Fortunately I gave up sooner rather than later.

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Great pictures; you are such an ARTIST! LOL
I was a tanning bed queen too. My neighbor man is a full blooded Delaware indian and I'm so serious when I say, when I tanned, we coulda been brutha and sista . lol He used to kid me about it.
When my Mom got cancer, she told me she'd look at that cigarrette pack for years where it said they can cause cancer and she thought it "would never happen to her." (she smoked 48 years) Anyhow, that "hit" me like a ton of bricks because I'd crawl into that tanning bed with a great big warning written on the side as well thinking, it will never happen to me.
Anyhow, I'd just paid for another round of tanning sessions ($25) when my Mom told me that she thought it could never happen to her. I went to my salon and told them I'd never be back.
Now, I tan from a bottle from my knees down. lolololol Yep;... my legs look great in capris... and I hope I never get in an accident and no one has to see the rest of em.
Have a great weekend!
Tomorrow I'm havin my moonpie!
I just blogged U

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

I tanned religiously for a while. When I was insane. NO MORE. I am Mrs. Vanilla-worth instead of Mrs. Butterworth. Speaking of butter, I used to use it when I was a teenager lying on the picnic table in our backyard. No joke.

HisPrincess said...


I remember spending hours in the sun trying to achieve that perfect tan!

Lucky for me I'm fairly olive skinned so don't glow in the dark but I shudder to think the damage all my oil soaked hours in the sun may have caused.

2Thinks said...

Okay, so I came back to find this. What a crack up. I'm so impressed by the drawings and don't know how you got them on your post. Wanna reveal? I see you have been awarded many awards. This is another thing I don't understand. Where do they come from? Bloggers make them? How? Anyway, you are a very funny writer and because of your blog I am even more sure of a recent revelation that was revealed to me by a friend who is reading a book on it- I am certainly ADHD. Good to know, good to know.

atlantanning said...

Haha, brought back memories of my childhood patio! I discovered a new type of tanning bed, the Sun Angel, that has a sensor. It reads your skin before you tan and customizes the lamps just for you! Try one at Solar Dimensions Tanning Spas!

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