Add to the list of things I don’t understand: tanning. (Already on the list: professional sports, loving olives, not wanting to talk about your feelings, where Aruba is on a map.)
I have naturally moderately fair skin with a slight olive undertone, so before it hits the sun my skin is as pale as a sheet of paper and after, as dark as a baseball mitt. There’s really no in between.
The problem is, being a non-agoraphobic person who goes outside during the day, not exclusively in a bikini, and who lives in a state where the sun shines 93% of the time*, parts of my body get significantly more brown than others.
So basically I have:
the dark, freckled forearms of a migrant farm worker
the pasty, pale upper thighs of Pennsylvania amish farm girl
the hands of a Hawaiian surfer
the stomach of a Swedish girl in the dead of winter
the shoulders of an elderly Native American woman who has spent a lifetime grinding maze with two stones
and the muffin top of a goth albino chick.
You think I’m exaggerating, don’t you? I’m not:
Laying out in the sun would serve no purpose but to darken, freckle and increase the cancer risks on the parts of my body already at an 8 on the 1 to 10 pigment scale (1 being an actor in a kabuki theater, 10 being Wesley Snipes) and showcasing the puffy, pale parts I normally keep under wraps. What should I do to even it out? Slather my shoulders, knees and parts of my feet that aren’t covered with flipflop straps in zinc oxide and allow my bloated and pasty areas to fry? This sounds like a lot effort and pain.
How do those girls on the beach with the golden sun-kissed skin that is exactly the same shade on the tip of their nose, behind their knee and on their elbow, do it? Even if I went to a spray tan place, I’m guessing it would only serve to make every part of me 4 shades tanner. So yes, my sidefat would be slightly more creme brulee’, but the triangle on my back that’s below my ponytail and above my tanktop would then be burnt sienna. I don’t see how that’s better.
Maybe what I need to do is switch out all of my daily lotions with sunscreen SPF 80 for a year. At that point my whole body should have reached geisha girl hue, right? Then I can dip myself in caramel and achieve the esthetically pleasing all-over sameness shade.
Or I can just learn to love my trucker arm. Self-acceptance is really just about laziness, you know.
*I made that statistic up. But it’s sunny a LOT here.