Saturday, August 1, 2009

Just one more of Mother Nature's cruel jokes...

For many people, summer is the best time of the year. And, although I'm not really into sweating, I love summer, too. Nothing makes me happier than digging in my back yard, wearing flip-flops all the time, and sipping a glass of wine on the patio in the evening. There's just one major drawback, however: I don't tan.

(picture courtesy of

When I say that I don't tan, it's not that I don't want to be tan, or that I don't have time to tan. My skin physically cannot tan. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but I live in the South, y'all. Everyone here is tan. All summer long, I have to endure brown people yelling at me. "Girl! You need to get to the pool! Look at those white legs." Yes, I know. My legs are pale. As are my arms, chest, back, neck...everything is pale. I get it, already.

In my misspent youth, I gave in to the peer pressure, and used tanning beds. It never really made me brown, but at least I was kind of a darker white. I was diagnosed with rosacea last year, however, and sun exposure is considered one of the major triggers of outbreaks. Now that I am seeing a dermatologist regularly, she recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50...which completely removes even the slightest chance that I might tan. Have you ever used SPF 50? It's like a chemical sweatshirt. No rays are gonna get through that stuff! Since my skin hates me, I am also allergic to sunless tanners. Trust me: that lovely orange fake-tan glow is not worth spending an entire summer covered in hives.

So, pale is what I am, and it doesn't look that is going to change anytime soon. I usually try to make the best of bad situations, so I have been considering how I could turn my paleness into an asset...or at least not stick out like a sore thumb. Here are some of the best options I have come up with:

Move to New York, don a black turtleneck, and cultivate an intellectual, artistic persona: I think I might like New York, but I am far from intellectual. And everything I know about art would not fill a thimble. Probably not such a good choice.

Move to the British Isles: Please note that I have not done any research to support this, but it seems like there would be a lot less pressure to be tan in such a cool, drizzly place. Based on what I see in my favorite BBC shows, I would love to live in England. But, it would require a lot of effort to move my entire life to another continent, and I am pretty lazy. Maybe someday, like after retirement. I just don't have the energy for that right now.

Become a Goth: From what I understand about the Goth lifestyle, pale skin is a prized asset. Bonus! All things considered, though, I think my personality is basically too sunny to embrace the dark side. The Goths probably would not welcome my love of all things pink, sparkly, cute, and cuddly.

Just get over myself and live with it, already: Hey, I'm lazy, remember?

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Kathy said...

Tell all the brown people that at least you won't have skin cancer. Ha! I'm fair-skinned, too. I don't purposely tan anymore. Haven't for probably 6-7 years. I did want to get a little color before my Chicago trip (why? I don't know). Anyway, I only laid in the sun for maybe two hours total. That's all I needed to make myself eggshell color, instead of its former blinding white.

JD at I Do Things said...

Kathy's right. And I'm a brown person. A stupid brown person, because I love to be tan and don't protect myself NEARLY enough in the sun. So when my (smart) white friends compliment me on my tan, I ask them to remember me when I'm in the hospital with skin cancer.

(Wow, that was cheery. Maybe I'm the one who should be a Goth!)

absepa said...

Kathy: You have lovely dark hair to go with your fair skin, though! That combination always makes me think of Snow White. Fair skin isn't nearly as interesting if you're blonde.

JD: I would like to say I have always taken care of my skin, but I'm afraid the damage has already been done. I used to lay out nearly every day in the summer, covered in BUTTER or baby oil, in addition to the tanning bed. Doomed, I tells ya.

Guinevere the Dark Moth Fae said...

Actually Goths are quite open people and there is much variety within the subculture. For example, there are Romantigoths who absolutely adore pink. Therefore, your love of pink and sparkles would be quite welcome, (even more so if it is paired with black, of course!) ;)


absepa said...

Guinevere: Clearly, I've made some incorrect assumptions about Goth culture! I checked out your blog, and it looks like I could do some reading there and educate myself. Thanks for commenting! :)

Jeff said...

Another option is to move here, to MN. Of course if you plan it correctly and are really quick about it, you can theoretically get a tan in the 3 days it's warm and sunny here in early July.

absepa said...

Jeff: I guess pale people are probably more common in MN, huh? My husband would love to move there--he hates hot weather--but I would just DIE. When the temp drops below 60 degrees, I'm freezing. I have the utmost respect for you folks who can endure those winters.

sewducky said...

There's also the vintage pin up look. Pale is prime there too.

absepa said...

sewducky: Ooh, I love the vintage look! I'm afraid I probably don't have a pinup figure, though. Thanks for stopping by!

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