Spring has sprung and the sun is sunning. Spring when a young girl’s, oh shut up I am young at heart, turns to tanning. We women have a belief that brown fat is much more appealing than white fat and so it is that time of year when we shed our inhibitions and squeeze into last years bathing suit. First we must wax, shave, tweeze, bleach and groom ourselves so that no unwanted hair or spot is visible. We slather lotion on our bodies and nimbly make our way to beach towels and chaise lounges to imbibe in the opiate that is the sun. Unless of course you are one of the many who has learned that this not only puts wrinkles on your wrinkles but can actually end in pieces of your flesh being removed due to melanoma.
Not wanting to blind people with your utter and complete whiteness you stand in front of the full length mirror staring at the mass amount of white flesh and wonder what to do. Then while strolling through the lotion aisle at your local Squal*mart you see a bottle of something called self-tanner. Now why a bottle would need to tan itself is beyond me but you are intrigued and retrieve it from the shelf. You reach into the bottomless pit known as your handbag searching for your glasses which will allow you to actually read the directions even though you now look a little more like a granny and less like a hot cougar. Unable to locate your spectacles you decide to give this magic elixir a try and toss it into your giant grocery cart full of inane and useless stuff.
You arrive home throw your plastic bags on the floor tossing out double-stuff Oreos and Chili Fritos in order to find the sun in a bottle. You once again attempt to find your cheaters but get side tracked by the half eaten Snickers bar. You make your way to the bathroom and strip off all your clothes. You squeeze a more than generous amount of the cream into your hand and start slathering this liquid sun onto your ghostly white skin. You hold your hand up close to your face so that you can see what liquid sun actually looks like mistakenly bumping your nose with a bit of cream. You continue rubbing here and slathering there. Once you have covered the immense expanse of whiteness with the magic formula you sit down on the side of the tub to wait and see what will happen next.
You squint and stare and wonder if this stuff is working at all. There is a slight acidic smell emanating from your skin and you think you actually do see your skin darkening. You turn this way and that way in the mirror and sure enough you are turning a different color only not the color of tan. You begin to turn more of the color of an Oompa Loompa. You run into the bedroom and open the curtains hoping it is just the effect of the incandescent lighting. You hold your hands up close to your nearsighted face and you realize your palms are not only orange but they are spotty orange on the palm side. You have a dark ring around your cuticles that look as if you have been picking the nose of Chester Cheeto.
You panic and rush into the shower not waiting for the water to warm. You begin scrubbing your skin with the loofa and exfoliating soap. That is a whole different issue. Why would anyone put big lumps of sand in creamy oil based soap? I don’t care how much you rinse off you will invariably find little crunchy bits hours later under your left boob or in the crevasse of your derriere. You scrub and scrub turning this way and that trying to get rid of the Oompa Loompa skin only to realize that instead of getting rid of the orange you have now created streaks.
You step out of the shower after removing the epidermis, dermis and the subcutaneous tissue. You have little speaks of soap sand in the left over tissue as you stand trying apply more tanner to the white streaks left from the scrubbing. This of course sets your skin afire. You are jumping up and down fanning yourself and wiping the tears from your eyes when your realize you did not shut the blinds to your bathroom windows and your neighbor has been watching the whole ordeal from her own bathroom window. You wrap yourself in a towel and reach for the window shade when she throws open the window and yells out at you “did you self wax?” You shake your head from side to side and say “nope self-tanning”. She nods a knowing nod and yells back “baby oil. Use baby oil.” You act like you know what she’s talking about and you thank her and move back in front of the mirror. You drop your towel and review the damage.
It is then you realize your glasses are on the top of your head. You run and grab the bottle and start reading the directions. There on the container it plainly states to exfoliate BEFORE applying. It also warns about the knees and ankles being dryer and more likely to stain darker. It tells you not to shower for 4 – 6 hours after apply to prevent streaking. Oh and the most useful bit of information is do not shave immediately before applying. Oh Great! Now they tell me. Well technically they told me before I just couldn’t find my glasses.
You are defeated. You realize now that you will have to live the next several days with a mixture of scabs and orange skin. You decide you can wear head to toe clothes even though it is 105 degrees outside. How bad will that be? What is it they say? If you want to detract from one part of your body make another part more attractive. You grab your make-up bag and begin applying skin tightening anti-wrinkle cream. You slather the anti-eye puffing gel to the Louise Vuitton luggage under your eyes and begin putting on your foundation. Wait! Why is the end of your nose naval orange, orange? You move in closer to your 20X powered mirror and turn your head to the right and then to the left to see if once again it might be the lighting playing a trick on you. You then realize that you have smeared self tanner on the end of your nose and it has set. There is no removing it. There is no toning it down and unfortunately there is no covering it up. The more you apply foundation the funkier the color becomes.
It is at this point in time you ask “is melanoma really that bad?”