The Golden Glow

I hope to use my newly acquired passport soon.  The plan is to visit a great friend of ours living in Mexico sometime this summer.  But then two weeks ago I went to pick Virginia up from a friend’s house where she spent the night.  When I arrived there, the kids were swimming in her friend’s family pool.  I sat and watched for about 30 minutes before I had enough and quietly demanded that my child get out so we could go home.  It was only 30 minutes.  My skin told me it had been a long day by the pool, because my skin around my v-neck t-shirt neckline was red.  Oh joy, a mini-sunburn.  Luckily it wasn’t a full-blown-lobster-red sunburn, but it was still a sunburn.  What happened to the days of my youth when I could sit outside all day and barely show any signs of the sun at all?  Oh yeah, I’m not young anymore, those days are gone.  😦

So I started to think about possibly getting a tan before venturing further south this summer.  Long gone are the days when I once worshipped the sun; when I was too young to care about the consequences of both real and artificial tanning.  So over the years, I have gradually gotten whiter and whiter.  Sure I would get a little color in the summer, but never really anything that would betray the fact that I am definitely of anglo-saxon heritage.  Still, my whiteness hasn’t bothered me much.  But then yesterday as my friend Tina and I sat outside at work people watching, I noticed a few really really white people walk by in shorts.  I couldn’t help but think about how awfully pale they looked as I glanced down at my own legs (I wore a skirt) and realized that I was the exact shade that they were.  Oh.  I came to the conclusion I needed to do something.

So today I ventured over to the local tanning salon.  Boy have tanning salons changed since I was a teenager.  They are FDA regulated.  There were several types of beds to choose from based on how easily you tan or burn.  Fascinating.  Unfortunately with the progress they have made in the tanning field, the prices have kept pace as well.  But I was there and I needed to do something, so I signed up.  As part of signing up for a package, I was given a free visit in the spray-tanning bed.  Yes, a spray-on tan, sun-less.  Now my first thought was, “No way, I don’t want to be orange.”  But the woman behind the counter told me I wouldn’t be orange.  I could get a bronze spray or a clear spray.  Clear?  Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?  Well I learned that the spray actually triggers your own body’s chemicals to give you a tan that is based on what your own skin would naturally do.  A bronze spray is for people that need instant color that day for an event…and yes it could come off on your clothes.  So I suppose that is the orange color I have seen on so many people.  So I was definitely curious about this clear idea.  I had to give it a try. 

I took my five minutes in a regular bed to get myself some gradual color.  After my 5 minutes (yes 5 minutes, I’m really white, remember?), I inquired again about the spray tan.  I was asked what level I wanted.  Apparently, I could get a tan that would resemble a day’s worth of sun, a weekend’s worth of sun, or a week’s vacation in the sun.  Well since I was still afraid of the orange effect, I decided to go with the weekend look.  I was taken to the room and given instructions on how it worked.  Then I was on my own.

First you put your hair in a shower cap, but it has to be pulled back partially onto your hair so that your entire face gets sprayed without leaving a line around your hairline.  Then there is a lotion that is put on your feet and hands.  This is to keep these areas from getting too much color… know, the orange hands we all used to get with self tanning creams.  But again, this isn’t suppose to end up orange.  Then you stand in the whatver it’s called (I really don’t know what to call it – a shower stall?) and push a button to start the spray.  First you are sprayed from top to bottom in front.  It was COLD.  I felt like I was in a cold shower.  Seriously, where was the heater???  As the sprayer passed over my face, I had to close my eyes and hold my breath.  Easy enough.  Then you turn to the right in what they call the “stop sign” pose.  It sort of looks like you have been frozen mid stride while running.  I guess that’s the best way to explain it.  It was awkward.  Luckily it was brief.  Turn to the other side and pose again.  Then face back to have your back sprayed.  Luckily it was all very quick, because I was hating the cold spray.  Then you get blow-dried.  Yep.  I was officially feeling like a car going through a car wash.  That was all there was too it.  I didn’t get the deluxe that comes with a hydrating spray afterwards, but I was cold, and happy it was over.

Now from what I understand, my skin will gradually darken over the next few hours.  I cannot shower for four to six hours so that I don’t wash off whatever it was they sprayed on me.  But it doesn’t smell, so I think I can manage.  I was barely out the door five minutes, when my friend Lori told me I already looked tan.  Really?  Was it the five minutes in the bed?  Couldn’t be yet.  Was it the spray?  Couldn’t be yet either.  Interesting.  But now here it is an hour and a half since I was sprayed, and yes, I can definitely see a nice golden glow.  I think I like it.  Still, I am going to stick with the traditional method, since the spray tan still won’t help me keep from burning in only 30 minutes of sun.  But it’s nice to keep in mind that the golden glow is easy to come by without the orange look….just be sure to ask for the clear spray.  😉


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