Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Tan is Peeling, and My Roots Are Showing

As a teenager in the 80's, achieving a super dark tan, and sun-kissed hair was the pinnacle of hotness. I have always hated tanning for the sake of tanning though (except if the modern form of tanning means semi-napping in the sun after a couple of cocktails...YUMMY FUN). Imagine how ridiculous (and who knows--maybe lots of girls are STILL doing this): on a scorching hot day, I'd sigh and figure I'd better take advantage of the rays.

So, I'd get my bathing suit on, grab a towel and a book, and head out to the back yard. I'd set up my towel on the grass, lie down and go to work. After about five minutes I was super bored, and hated the heat. It was impossible to read, flat on my back, unless I held my book at arm's length, directly over my face, creating an eclipse of sorts between me, the book and the sun. Then my arm would get tired, and I'd have to give up reading and just lie there. All sweaty. Squinting with my eyes closed because I couldn't risk getting a sunglass tan on my face. Then after sizzling like that for a while, I'd flip over so I could tan my back as well, getting a kink in my neck, and pretending I just loved that hot, hot sun. So, after half an hour I'd run back in the house to peek under the straps and see if there was any evidence of a TAN. No tan. Sigh. Back out to the heat. I'd probably only last about an hour tops, then would have to come in and lie down from the exhaustion of being baked, like a muffin, in the sun. I might get the slightest hint of a bathing suit outline, but mostly I'd be more pink than brown, and still have a back full of teenage zits.

There would be tales, from the tan elite, of how they'd use baby oil,or tanning oil, and then head out into the sun, and just lay out there all day. Does anyone else, who's in the 40-something vicinity, have any memory of their parents slapping sunscreen on them at any point in their young lives??? I guess it's possible, but I certainly don't recall. How about back yard pool parties--did we EVER bring scunscreen then??? Oh sure, maybe we did, but only if it smelled like COCONUTS, and had an SPF of 15 or less (ideally, 7). The only reason we wore it was for that coconutty smell--good heavens--sunscreen PREVENTED good tans! What a horrible product!

Now who remembers this ad from "Bain De Soleil?" It's pure hilarity now!

So, while working on your tan all summer, it was also important to attain beach babe hair, radiant with blonde highlights. So, off you went with your spray bottle filled with lemon juice, and every now and again, while baking yourself, you'd saturate your hair, and hope the sun and the juice would magically combine to give you the radiance you desired. Then, you'd run in the house to see how blonde you'd become, only to find that there was no discernable difference. How could it not work?!? Every girl you talked to swore her hair got wicked good highlights thanks to juicing it up in the sun! And then a wondrous product appeared on the drugstore shelves: "Sun IN!" Oh joy! So, we all bought a bottle, raced home and waited for the next scorching, cloudless day, and we SATURATED our hair with that sh*t! And behold! It worked! Erm, it kinda sorta worked, but actually our hair was now ORANGE.

Yeah, after several sessions of Sun In, my Mom advised me to stop using the stuff because my hair was ORANGE. However, she had to admit that the orange looked kinda good.

So, now that I am older, wiser, and about to give up on being vain, as that anger line in my forehead only gets deeper, I don't lie out and tan any longer. I wear sunscreen on my face all the time, and I wear it on all visible parts of my body if I'm going to be in the sun for longer than 15 minutes. Tanning = bad. UV = bad!!! However, while on vacation, I was forced to spend a great deal of time in the sun swimming with the kids. I lathered on a lot of sunscreen, but just the same I started to get a fairly decent tan. Hmmmm...."you're looking kinda sexy," said a voice inside my head, that sounded A LOT like "80's karen." Then one day that voice said; "NO! Don't put on that less revealing bathing suit today, it will wreck your existing TAN LINES!" And then, toward the last day, I looked in the mirror and saw that my highlights had turned noticeably blonder!


By the time I got home, I was thinking I was a teeny bit hot, and my hair was supa sexAY. I straightened my hair and made it look 'wind tousled,' and then one day I thought, to hell with fat armpits--I'm wearing a TANK TOP! So, I put on my TANK TOP and damn it, my tan is already starting to peel. I had super peeling shoulders. Not only that, but my hair doesn't look as blonde in the mirror at home, and it really, really looks like I need to colour it again, as I have a good half inch of roots. Hmph.

Lousy vanity.

Guess I'll go back to sitting in the shade.


  1. I must be kind of freakish because I've always liked pale women. I think it's from growing up in the 70s and watching reruns of I Dream Of Jeannie. Barbara Eden had sexy glowing white skin that even my childhood innocence's couldn't ignore. I didn't know why I liked looking at her, but I did.

    Tans are a lot of work. I get mine working, & cutting the grass.

    I've never been fond of tans, unless a woman's showing off her tan lines, but then who care about the tan at that point?

  2. yeah, I can only say that I was too influenced by the styles of the 80's as a teenager, and it's damn hard to shake off! I was just kind of yearning for my usual pastiness again the other day. It'll be back in a few weeks.

    Do you think you like pale women because you live down south and an untanned woman is a novelty? That's my slightly ridiculous shot in the dark...

  3. Oh the bottles of baby oil we went through!

    Crust removal technician?! You're pretty funny yourself! Glad you came by All the Girls Chit Chat.

  4. Hi Dawn! Thanks for stopping by.
    Baby oil! Nothing like deep frying our skin! Oh man, I just used three exclamation points. I'd better calm down, I've just exhausted my quota for the whole week...

  5. If there was no baby oil, I know I did use vegtable oil at least once. Yep I was and still am a sun godess. I quite smoking and I do not drink MUCH, but I refuse to not let mysef get nice and tan. I must say that I no longer sit in the lounge chair and baste myself with a spray bottle but I do not wear sunscreen while gardening or while watching the kids swimm. I had the dark hair so no bother with the lemon juice but I remember my girlfriends with theirs. Oh the memories of going to the beach in my twenties. Lovely trip down memory lane.

  6. I never was really into taning a little too boring. I did have a friend who lived to tan, one day she decided to put crisco on herself and lay by the pool. oh, maybe 2 hours later she stood up and said her legs felt weird, she had convinced herself that she had cooked her leg muscles, just like fried chicken,man was she freaked!Needless to say she was not the sharpest tool in the shed!

  7. Oh my god. Paula--I'm crying. She thought she'd cooked her leg muscles! That story has cheered me up completely.

  8. Hi Awal.ny--welcome to my whiny blog! Great to find you here. Yeah, it's hard to give up that love for tans. You made me laugh about the veg oil. Hilarious!

  9. I doubt my surroundings had anything to do with it. Most women growing up were a bit butch.

    No, Karen I blame my fascination with pale women, from growing up in the 70s. Most of the afternoon TV, in the 70s were reruns of 60s TV shows.
    From Bewitched, I Dream Of Jeannie, The Brady Bunch, Batman, to Gilligan's Island the women always had beautiful pale glowing 60's skin. Or was it the crappy TV set??? I don't know.
    Either way I blame it on 60s reruns.

  10. I love the camp of 60's tv and movies. Bennet, have you ever watched any of the films by Russ Meyer? Love that stuff--especially "mondo topless."

  11. I think I was sixteen when I really got into "getting a line". Funny how that came along at the same time my buddy and I were into "clubbing" to "pick up". [I used more quotes than Karen uses exclamation marks...] I think now what good was it to have a deep tan in a dark club @ 2am? Oh, well. Little of my teenage years made any sense. I fear for that stage with my kids: "Please Lord let them live through it with minimal scarring."

  12. yeah, I fear for my kids too, and pity myself because I have to vicariously live all that highschool crap again!

  13. You know Karen... I don't remember wearing suntan lotion much as a kid either. And I was in the sun TONS. How did I not perpetually bake and suffer sun stroke? Scientifically it makes me wonder how it's possible for me to have LIVED outside with not a drop of sunscreen and not frequently burn as a kid... but if I go out for a few hours NOW I fry baby frrrry.

  14. Nerdo, it must have to do with everybody crapping on the environment enough to carve a great hole in the ozone layer. Ah, the joys we've witness in our own lifetime...


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