Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I'm tanned. Unnaturally tanned. FAKE tanned.

And frankly? I look awesome.

This is not awesome. I do not look like this.
It took a while for me to come around to embracing the concept. I am firmly of the belief that real tans are "skin cells in trauma" (thank you Australian Cancer Council)  and it seems a bit silly to me to walk around all fakely-brown, perpetuating and supporting the brown-as-a-fashion-statement movement. But I like the way I look when I'm tanned. It suits my face, it suits my hair, it makes me look toned and thinner. Never mind that my clothes all look great against tanned skin.

However, I want my daughters to love themselves the way they are, without artifice. I work hard at it. I praise my own body so they learn it's ok to love theirs. I emphasize "clean and neat" over pretty when they are getting dressed. But I wear makeup regularly, and is a fake tan much different? I'm a walking brown contradiction.

Crunch time came when we had a fancy ball coming up for Mr Accident's work. He loves to take me out when we are both glammed up, so we decided I should have a tan to polish the look.

Now, I am something of a tanning virgin. I have had one fake tan before but it was a good ten years ago, pre kids, pre marriage, but not pre-Mr A. He remembered the tan lines and he liked it. He was looking forward to his wife coming home brown. But probably not as brown as I was when I strolled back in through the door....

It is impossible to maintain much dignity in a fake tan studio. The tanner asks you to hold poses like you're stopping two lanes of traffic, pretending you have bear claws, then tickling the sky. You're sprayed with a concoction named after a tropical cocktail, then fanned with what appear to be turbines stolen from an unsuspecting jet.

And even though you have asked for "just a touch of colour" you will walk back out that door as brown as an acorn. I also walked out sans undergarments, at the tanner's suggestion, which meant I felt like a thorough freak. I scuttled back to the car through the back streets and alleys, clutching my purse to my chest, dark enough to blend into the shadows. But I'm sure that's a common enough sight around that shop! (Actually, on a second perusal of the photo above, I was about that brown. And wearing about that many undergarments....)

Once I was home I disregarded the tanner's eight-hours-until-showers rule and jumped straight in and scrubbed. Luckily, the acorn brown faded to a golden glow, and I was fit to be seen in public again.

Alas my dignity was in for yet another blow. As I stepped from the shower and leant over to dry myself, Mr A asked what the strange white lines on my bum were. Turns out the tan lines he was looking for had multiplied - last time I had a tan, my butt was... ahem... just ever so slightly higher. This time, the new creases back there had left white gaps on my legs. I had pale butt whiskers! I don't think I've laughed so hard in weeks. Perhaps the tanner should add "bowing" to her list of tan poses.

So, my friends, do you tan?