Once upon a time I could tan. I was three.
There was that one time, at band camp (shut up) when by some miracle being out in the sun for 6 or more hours a day amazingly enough didn’t fry me to a crisp. Instead, I got tan. And I mean, really tan. Like Snooki, only not with the scary-orange tint.
Cut to, oh, every other summer of my life. I don’t know if the sun hates me, because I love it, or that I just am the worst sunscreen applier in the world – that is, when I actually remember to apply it.
A few examples:
• Senior year of high school’s spring break – Horrible for so many more reasons than the sunburn, but at least Jenn was there to share in my misery. My legs got burnt. But not my whole leg. Just the tops of my thighs. You know, right where, oh, ALL PANTS/SHORTS/SHEETS TOUCH? Yeah. Awesome.
• Various trips to the beach – Again, I love the sun but it hates me. I also love the ocean, when it’s not full of jellyfish. And the pool. Problem is you start to feel alright because you’re in the water and that night everything hurts. And you look like a tomato.
• Fourth of July this year – I put sunscreen on my face because that usually gets burnt worst. And stupid me, thinking if my legs are in the water, why use sunscreen on them? Cue a variation on the burn from senior year spring break, wherein my legs look like Neapolitan ice cream and I’m throwing up in the lake because I’ve overheated. Good times.
Last summer wasn’t too bad – considering I went from Myrtle Beach for a week to Jamaica, significantly closer to the equator. I slapped on the sunscreen though and thanks to a couple good books and crossword puzzles, spent some time at Myrtle Beach under an umbrella not completely bored, while my youngest sister – the Coppertone baby – turns a beautiful shade of brown, one that she somehow keeps a good portion of the year. I hate her. (Just kidding, Baby Einstein..)
This year is what has been most surprising though. With the exception of that whole July 4 Elmo-red skin thing, I’ve – knock on wood – kept up a pretty decent tan. It’s been helped of course by a few outings to the pool at my apartment complex and this little thing called WEARING SUNSCREEN.
I hate going to the pool or the beach and wearing so much sunscreen you come back as white as you left. And considering I’m white enough to be mistaken for a ghost six or more months out of the year, I try to make summer count – thus, the no sunscreen and third-degree burns.
However, I’ve found a sunscreen that does the trick. I don’t get sun poisoning or get so burnt that every time I put aloe on I start breathing like I’m in labor (ask the roommate, it’s true) and I get to the point that people start noticing I’m no longer a ghost.
Three people in the past week have said “you’ve got some sun” or “you’re tan.” And that is exciting to me, because usually it’s a “wow, you’re red” or someone pokes the red skin to see if their finger leaves a white mark.
Oh and the sun makes me cuter, have I mentioned that? It’s true. Only in the summer, or when I’ve gotten a lot of sun, I have a patch of freckles that shows up on my nose and cheeks. And more show up on my shoulders. I wish they’d stick around, but they start fading as soon as my tan does. Which is unfortunate, because I want someone to call me “Freckles” like Sawyer did to Kate on LOST.
Side note: I realize it’s been off the air for two months but I miss that show – and my TV boyfriend – every day.
So. With about a month more of weekends and Wednesday afternoons off work, any time it’s possible, you can find me at the pool at my apartment complex. Gotta take advantage of this ability to tan while I can. I’ll be the one with the stack of books, the iPod and the Neapolitan-colored legs.