Monday, February 25, 2008

About my addiction

I was reading a blog and someone commented on the whiteness of Tilda Swinton, best supporting actress Oscar winner:

"Tilda Swinton has never actually been out in the sunlight, has she? I know Great Britain is famously cloudy, but she’s as pale as one of those fish that only lives in the Marianas Trench. I’m a child of the pre-melanoma ’70s, but I never see skin that pale and think “luminous English rose.” Only 'fish-belly.'” (Read it all here on»)

And it was oh so familiar, because I have been looking in the mirror lately and thinking the same thing about myself--I'm looking rather cadaverous. Because it's that time of year. I'm so white, I look like I have Casper the Friendly Ghost in my gene pool.

And lately, I've been feeling the pull--yea, even the siren song--that I feel every late-winter: The pull to ... tan.

Oh, I know it's bad. I know I shouldn't. I know I'm risking my dermatological health. Yet, when it's been a week since you've seen the sun, and it's been cold as hell, and you have come against your wall of winter tolerance, the spirit is not very willing and the flesh is weaker.

I want to go to the tanning bed.

You know, I've had massages. Massages are supposed to feel good, and make you feel better throughout the day.

Massages make me feel good for about 5 minutes, about as long as it takes for me to stand up and put my clothes back on. That's how long it takes for all my muscles to spring back to their normal tense selves.

But 20 minutes in the tanning bed ... now, that's relaxing to me. The white noise of the bed. The fan. The little eye protectors shielding me from carcinoma of the eye at worst or cataracts at best. The warmth that gets better and better the longer the bed is on. And it's a warmth that lingers with me for hours after. And just the light -- I seem to hunger for the light, as I do for chocolate.

And that little hint of color that makes me look less dead ... priceless.

Really, I don't tan well. I'm so thoroughly white, the whiteness shines through even when I have a veneer of tan. I kind of "beige," rather than "tan."

And I feel guilty about tanning--so guilty that I limit myself to once a week or so, and use some Jergen's Glow Lotion (or whatever) to further fake my tropical-ness.

I've got some minutes left from last year, so if I get a free lunch hour this week, I'm off. They'll only let me in for 10 minutes the first time. That'll fly by. So maybe I'll sneak in again, for the full 20, a couple days after.

And I'll get my Magic Glow lotion out, and start the process of coming alive for the summer.

You know what? I've read a lot lately that people aren't getting enough sun--we've become so scared of it, we're killing ourselves for lack of vitamin D.

So while I'm waiting for the real sun to come out (July?) I'll settle for a little fluorescent luminescence, and err on the side of short sessions and sunscreen.

How about you? Are you longing for some rays?


Nancy said...

I can stay out of the tanning bed, but it just seems wrong to stay out of the sun. It was put in the sky by a merciful God who knows a Michigan winter can only be endured with thoughts of a Michigan summer.

I use SPF 30, but I don't reapply often. Sue me.

Cathy said...

Ed. Note: Nancy, you are my kinda girl. I LOVE the real sun most of all!