Friday, September 12, 2008

Ode to tan lines

I've been meaning to post something new for a while now, but I've struggled to find the time. I was laying on my bed the other day talking to my cousin and I looked down at my feet and saw...tan lines! Seriously? Tan lines?

At the end of July, I went to Chicago to visit my family out there and I spent a couple hours one afternoon sitting on a folding camp chair watching some lacrosse games. I didn't think I needed sunscreen because I would only be out a couple hours and I wanted my legs to get a little sun. They've been neglected this summer and last also because I haven't been out on the lake (I think I did a little blurb about this in a former post).

Anyway, I decided that it would be a good thing to get a little color on my legs. I was wearing shorts, ankle socks (also believe I've posted about these) and shoes. I didn't think I'd get as much sun as I did. Later that evening, I was really feeling it and my legs were a nice bright shade of pink. So, aloe became a good friend of mine for the next few days.

I had a nice ankle sock tan line on each foot. Very distinct. On the north side of the line, it was pink...very pink. On the south side, it was white...very, very white. No big deal, right? I mean, the burn would turn to a tan and then eventually fade away and my legs would again be a consistent shade of pasty. Well, it's now coming on two months later and there is still a very distinct line on each foot. And my legs aren't tan. What the heck is wrong with me?!

I've had sunburns before and I've had tans before. I've been dark enough to be a victim of racial discrimination. But they always go away. Except this time. For some reason there is a tan line on each foot. When I take my socks off and I parade in sandals, it looks like I'm still wearing socks. This is a problem. I don't want people to think I'm some kind of sock 'n sandal wearing dweeb. If people are going to think I'm a dweeb, I'd rather it be for one of the other multitudinous reasons I so readily provide.

On the other hand, tan lines are pretty cool. They tell people, "I'm cool enough that I have fun things to do outside where I'll be exposed to the sun and will experience a melanin level change in my skin." Maybe they don't say that much, but when was the last time you've seen a couch potato with a killer tan? Fluorescent lights just don't have the same punch as the sun. I'm not even talking about a tanning booth either, but I will be now.

Tanning booths are lame. If you can't get enough cancer causing UV rays being outside, why would you think it's a good idea to go lay down on a bed of lights? It doesn't make you look tan, it makes you look orange. And fake. And eventually leathery. People use tanning beds to avoid tan lines. Why? People, tan lines are cool. They're like a before-and-after on your skin. You have proof that you did something cool and fun.

Tan people look more toned, more defined, more healthy. Before you read too much into it, there is a limit for that too...too much tan is not a good thing. A good dark tan takes time. Time that can't be spent all in one shot. A really good tan is the result of multiple days in quick succession of spending a healthy amount of time in the sun (not on a bed). To achieve a good tan, you must add to it little by little. You can't rush the process, it takes patience.

Don't forget that every tan, real or artificial, will eventually fade and your true color will shine through once again. However, if you are lucky like me, you will still have the tan lines even when the tan is long gone.


Brian Was Here said...

I got some of the greatest tans ever during my summers at BYU, when I would spend an hour a day at the pool.

I now think that I will eventually die of skin cancer at a relatively young age. The thought haunts me in my sleep.

Brian said...

Don't feel bad, you've got plenty of company on the "accidently did something stupid" side of the line. I know I have been guilty.
- Barrett