The Hazards Of Tanning

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I admit that I do fake bake.

*Insert audible gasp from the audience*

I do not make a habit of it; just a few times in March and April so that I’m nice and prepared for Memorial Day Weekend (aka: Opening weekend on The Cape).

A couple of weeks ago I signed up at a local tanning salon a few minutes from my house. I always get so intimidated when I go tanning. It’s such an easy thing to do but for some reason I feel like I’m going in to take my SATs and that I’m going to mess it up royally.

The girl at the front desk was nice enough. We chit chatted for a few minutes and she started to hand me a brochure to look at. I just told her to give me the middle plan. It had been a long day and I couldn’t deal with more paperwork. She took in my skin tone (I’m Irish and Italian so I’m pale in the winter and super dark in the summer. I’m my own yin and yang!) and recommended that I do 8 minutes in the lay down bed.

I made my way to my little tanning room, slathered on my lotions and bronzers and shimmied into the plastic bed. I have to interject here and let it be known that I do tan with my underwear on. My bum may look like a gigantic white pillow case but I do not need to be worrying about my nether regions being singed off.

I emerged from the bed 8 minutes later, dresssed myself and off I went to secure a latte.

The next day I woke up with intnese pain up the sides of my back, arms and legs. I studied myself in the mirror and only the following parts of my body got color:

  • The sides of my back
  • The bottoms of my arms
  • The outsides of my legs
  • Stomach
  • Face
  • Neck

I looked like I had grill marks.

I also had a strange line going down my right cheek all the way to the back of my knee. It’s still a mystery how that happened since, as I’ve already explained, I was wearing underwear.

After the pain and redness subsided I went back a few days later. An unfamiliar face was working the front desk.

“Last name?”

“Gradie.”

Then I had to put my finger onto a red light scanner. Very Mission Impossible.

“You want to do the junior bed again?”

“Actually, I want to do the stand up this time. And only for 6 minutes.”

 “Ok. Aruba is ready for you.” She then gestured down the hall and all I saw were the tanning booths. Wait. Where was I supposed to change? Out in the open? Did I change in the bathroom and then run across the hall to my booth, wrapped in four towels because they were the size of napkins??

I must have had PANIC written all of my face because she said, “Let me show you.”

She opened the door to Aruba and there was a changing room inside. Right.

It was the size of an airplane bathroom but still did the job.

I shimmied my way around, locked the door, slathered on my accelorator, placed my winkies firmly over my peepers and hit the blue button. I was immeidately immersed in UV rayes.

I was bopping and snapping to the music when I noticed a slight breeze on my behind. I whirled around and saw that there was no door separating me from the changing area. No one could see into my tanning booth but what if someone tried to get in? I know the door was locked but it was only a tiny latch separating my untanned bum from the rest of the world.

As the music pounded through the speakers of my booth I started to talk to myself:

“Seriously! What if someone tries to get in?! Oh my God I can’t believe there isn’t like, another door here!”

UH TIS UH TIS UH TIS UH TIS BAUM BAT BAT BAT BAUM BAUM BAUM BAUM BAUM DAAANCE THE NIGHT AWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! UH TIS UH TIS UH TIS

“Oh my God. Is that door opening? I have to turn to face the door in case someone opens it by mistake.”

I stood facing the door with my eyes squinted open which I’m sure is advised against.

When my 6 minutes were up I surveyed the booth to make sure that I hadn’t missed a hidden door or curtain that I was supposed to pull back. When I emerged the tanning place was completely empty except for the girl at the front folding towels. She looked at me sideways and asked how my tan was.

She totally heard me talking to myself.

“Oh it was fine! I love tanning! I LOVE STAND UP BOOTHS!”

I may have to try Jergen’s Natural Glow if only to avoid any further humiliation.

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