By Sage Tippie
As temperatures rise above 65 degrees, so does the desire to bake the flesh in the sun, otherwise known as tanning. People will risk their physical and emotional health for the small chance at a perfectly bronzed tan, a shade that rivals a freshly baked cookie, glowing and radiating confidence which just can’t be mustered within their pasty selves. With the perfect tan, someone couldn’t possibly have any problems, right? The problems that accompany trying to achieve a faultless glow, however, far outweigh the results.
Returning from spring break, fully rested, a victim of a tanning lotion four shades too dark shuffles down the hallway as people cringe at her orange streaky legs. Another teen hangs his head shamefully as his peers point and whisper at his tomato complexion and sock burn. Try to avoid being that person who people pity by steering clear of tanning methods all-together.
Laying out for hours expecting to find a sun-kissed golden god or goddess in the mirror is nothing but a fantasy, as many instead come face to face with bright red legs and burning skin. Desperate hope that somehow the burn will fade to a flawless tan sinks as the hours pass, and the shade only grows from a rose to a bright crimson. Even more painful than the classic stinging legs and shoulders is the dreaded scalp burn; bald men and athletes are especially vulnerable to this atrocity as it seems they were destined to burn from birth.
The internet is flooded with home remedies that include aloe vera, lemon baths, and unscented lotion, but it’s too late to scramble for a nonexistent solution to the “Ow! Ow! Ow!” that will occur constantly within the next week. In fear of the physical and mental slaps of peers, the choice is made to stay home until that salmon complexion has faded to the golden brown of a goldfish cracker. Avoid tanning all together and spend days lying inside on the couch watching Netflix in a superficial self-pity party.
In lieu of this sunburn, an alternative and less painful route is fake tanning. There are the success stories, but there are the horror stories, too. The desperation for a fake tan without a sunburn leaves people with two equally terrorizing options: technical human ovens or cheeto dust in a bottle. Tanning salon-goers are practically begging for skin cancer, and the majority of the time, at-home tanning lotion is either 10 shades too dark, leaving customers like a nacho cheese dorito or doesn’t make a difference in the slightest. A streaky orange tan is all that is needed to make a passerby gasp in secondhand embarrassment.
Slathering on a mountain of bronzing mousse can become a huge mistake when the fake tan stabs the user in the back. Victims wake up in the morning the color of a cheeto, a tragic oompa loompa, smelling like burnt hair, and sob into a pillowcase and covers, staining them a repulsive orangy-brown, projecting the horrid stench of fake tan. To think, this catastrophe could’ve been avoided if they hadn’t chosen “ultra dark super tan,” not realizing how accurate the name really was.
So the lesson is don’t even try to tan because a failed attempt is hard to look at and even harder to deal with. Everybody loves a vampire complexion anyways, just look at “Twilight.” Ignore society’s double-standard expectations and be thankful for the albinic features that came naturally.