Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Tanning Primer

A cautionary tale for women: Never let your husband be in charge of spraying on tan in a can. I never was a sun goddess even though most of my generation worshiped the sun but this year I thought a tan might be a good idea. I have severe reactions to anything that bites – mosquitoes, flies, fleas, ticks, chiggers, you get the idea. These bites itch for days and leave jumbo sized red welts. I am tired of people wondering what horrid disease I have so I decided a tan would camouflage the problem.
I went to the nearest we-have-everything-you-need-and-plenty-you-never-thought-of store and discovered tan in a can. Everything you need for the perfect airbrushed tan in an $8 can. You can even spray upside down, dries in five minutes, and in four hours, you have a beautiful, natural tan.
I decided to do this right. I told my husband he was going to help so he could spray all the hard to reach places. I showered, exfoliated according to directions, and hopped out, ready to be bronzed. My husband was not reluctant, indeed, he was eager to spray his naked wife with oil. He read the instructions but here was my second mistake: I should have gone over the instructions with him carefully and made darn sure he understood the consequences of messing up. Instead, I relied on his college education and doctorate to get the job done.
He began spraying and no where on the can does it say the spray will come out in an artic blast. It is really hard to be still when someone is spraying frost all over your naked body. I gritted my teeth and turned when needed. In five minutes I was dry and in my jammies, ready for bed. I was feeling gloriously tan already and congratulated myself on saving a bundle over a salon airbrushed tan.
The next morning I checked out my new tan. In the dim bedroom, I looked much browner. Wonderful. In the bathroom however, the truth was revealed in the bright morning light. My upper torso was pretty uniformly brown but my arms and legs were now stripped. On one arm, my tan ended abruptly at my wrist, like a sleeve. There were dark streaks down my shins and one white knee. White skin contrasted sharply with brown. I had to laugh. Mistake number three: Don’t attempt home beautification the night before leaving on a trip. Yes, in a few short hours we were leaving for a long weekend with my husband’s family. I could only hope his brothers wouldn’t notice my appearance or I’d be the butt of jokes all weekend.
A week has gone by and my canned tan has faded. Still hopeful and determined, I discovered tan in a tube at my latest shopping excursion. This time, I applied most of the tan, leaving only my back for my hapless husband. Once again, I leave in the morning to take my son to band camp. Hope does indeed spring eternal as I am confident I’ll be tanned and gorgeous, not spotted and clownish.