When I was a teenager, I would spend hours upon hours "laying out."
Usually in my parent's back yard.
I would lay out a blanket and baste myself with some Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil.
Then I would put a cassette tape in the boom box, and turn over when the tape was ready to turn over, thereby equally roasting both sides of my body.
Every once in a while I would take a turn lying on my side, you know to get my ARMPITS tan.
SO important those TAN ARMPITS.
I did have a tan.
Especially on my stomach, which no one saw.
Well, now I don't.
That stomach is a mass of silvery stretch marks.
Really I don't care.
I look at celebrities like Nicole Kidman.
She is pasty white, and can pull it off.
So most of the time, I think to myself "I am like Nicole Kidman."
"White is fashionable."
But really, I want to wear skirts with cute strappy sandals.
And I look like I am sick.
My skin is so white, that is almost has a purple hue to it.
Not the creamy milky white of Nicole.
I think it may be the varicose veins that have recently started to grace my 35 year old body. Niiiiiiice.
I went to tanning beds a couple of years ago.
One was in a local Tanning Hut.
I bought a pass, and I would go over on my lunch hour when I worked at the bank.
I would strip down, use a towel to cover my nether-regions, and then I would marinate in my own sweat, towel off, pull back on the pantyhose, powder my glistening nose, and go back to the bank.
All day long I smelled funny.
That tanning bed funny.
That skin cancer is a'comin' funny.
I had a warm sun-drenched hue.
This was good for an office worker who only saw the sun if you worked the drive-up window. And even then it was behind bullet-proof glass.
The last time I went to the Tanning Hut I was on my lunch hour.
The Tanning Hut had all the new equipment.
They had hydraulic tanning beds.
You would lay down in the bed, and push a button on your left, the button would raise the top lid on the bed up and down. It didn't open up like a coffin, it slowly came straight down, until eventually you were closed into a pod.
I was relaxing in my pod, when I felt a small tickle on my leg.
Thinking it was just sweat, I closed my eyes and settled back into Huey Lewis and the News.
There was that tickle again, weird.
So finally, I maneuver myself sideways to see the tickle.
IT WAS A BEE!
I tried to sit up, and thunked my head on the top of the pod.
I pushed the "up" button, and willed it to go up faster...
It took forever!
All this time I am kinda screaming, and I am sure the desk girls were wondering what in the world was going on.
I was trapped in a POD with a BEE!
I never went back.
Then, a few years later, I bought a pass from a lady in the neighborhood that had her own tanning bed. It was in her salon, and the nice thing about that was you could go at any time.
She had a book, and you would sign up for a time slot.
Most of the time I would go at about 10:00 at night. I would walk over to her house when the kids were in bed.
It was great!
One day, I stripped, and slid into the bed.
I pulled the lid down on me, and settled in.
Then...I heard a big CRAAAAACK!
And what do you know, but the whole stinking Plexiglas bed had broken.
I will tell you what-
Nothing makes you feel like a bigger fat-A than cracking a tanning bed.
That concluded my tanning bed experience.
I have been using self-tanners.
And let me tell you.
Not stink as in "suck" but stink as in "smell like butt."
The best one so far has been the Dove brand.
It smells good going on, and for a long time, but eventually it stinks just as reeky as the off-brand kind.
And I have never *not* had streaks or weird build-up on my knees or ankles.
But at least I look human.
Like I have color.
And people have stopped asking me if I have the flu.
And I can wear my summery skirts and strappy sandals.