You know the old saying, "Experience is the best teacher"? Well, I choose to live my life in blatant defiance of that adage. That's right, Experience. You can take your righteous wisdom and go jump off a cliff.
I don't need you. I prefer to live life on my own terms, exercising the same behavior over and over again and expecting different results one of these times. (In fact, I am bound and determined to lose the last 20 lbs and achieve my goal weight by working the pizza-pop-candy-and-sitting-around-on-my-butt-watching-reality-tv diet as hard as I possibly can. Forget that fact that you, Experience, Mr. Holier Than Thou, continue to tell me that it won't work. I'm going to prove you wrong for once.)
Unfortunately, this morning has proven that Experience has won once again. He has given me a cruel reminder that he is the master and I'm the perpetual student. A little back story: I'm pale. (Can it be counted as a back story if it's only one sentence? No? Ok, I'll expound.) I'm reeeeally pale. And not creamy, porcelain, ivory pale like Nicole Kidman. The kind of pale that is sickly and almost transparent under fluorescent lighting.
I used to have this office job when I was a freshman in college, and I had one morning a week where I worked at 8:30 a.m. That sounds like sleeping in to me now, but when I was in college, that was like cruel and unusual punishment early. And it was across campus, and I never woke up on time. Ever. So much not on time that I would usually be waking up at like 8:45 and making up some lame excuse as to why I was late (one time I told them that my roommates turned my alarm off as an April Fools prank). Anyway, the point of this story is that I never had time to put on my makeup those mornings because I had to leap out of bed and sprint to the other side of campus to get to a job where they never had any work for me and just ended up hating me because I was always late. And every single one of those mornings, without fail, the secretary I worked with would be like, "Are you feeling alright? You just look so tired and sick." Just because I had no makeup on. (That was a really long story to illustrate how pale I am. You must have known this was coming since I'm no good with the short back stories.)
So me au natural = looking tired and sick.
I'm not so good with the tanning, either. I get burned, and then for like one day after the burn has gone down, I'm slightly tannish looking, but then I'm back to pale. The one time I was remotely successful in tanning was the month before my wedding when I went tanning like 3 times a week using the high-pressure beds. To me, having the frame of reference of what my skin usually looks like, I was TAN. Looking at the pictures, I don't really look tan at all, but I also don't look like I'm about to keel over and die, so mission accomplished.
But then on the honeymoon, stupid me laid out for like an hour with no sunscreen and got sun poisoning. On like the second day of our 7-day honeymoon. It didn't totally ruin the vacation, but by the end of it, I didn't even want to go outside during the day because the sun made my skin feel like it was burning with the fire of Hell itself. And when I got home, my face and shoulders blistered and I looked like a leper. In the middle of February. In Michigan. No one understands sun poisoning in this situation, they just think you're contagious and avoid being within 10 feet of you.
So obviously, I have two options: be pale and deal with it or sunless tanning lotion.
I'll take Orange Streaks That Smell for 1,000, Alex.
Even the gradual tanning lotions have proven disastrous for me. Yet, I repeatedly try every spring and summer. This spring: no exception. My dad's retirement party is tomorrow and it's a fancy party where everyone gets all dressed up like for a wedding. I absolutely LOVE dressing up nowadays because it makes me feel pretty and gets me out of my standard uniform of "clothes that barely pass for work clothes but pass nontheless" and yoga pants/t-shirts/jeans that don't fit.
The dress that I'm wearing is bright and colorful, and I've noticed that colors always make my legs look more pale. So I got the brilliant idea that I'd do some sunless tanning on my legs to prepare for the party. While the gradual tanning lotion is not perfect, it's far superior to the straight-up sunless tanning lotions that literally turn me technicolor orange, save for the bright white stripes that somehow inevitably get missed in the application process. (Oh I just thought of a good frame of reference! Ladies, if my skin were a wedding dress, it would be Diamond White.)
So last night I bought some tanning lotion and brought it home. I washed my legs, exfoliated and did everything the bottle recommended I do for good application. It actually smelled nice, which was a pleasant surprise, and even though it made my legs feel sticky, I was excited. I even laid out my denim pencil skirt for work so I could show off my legs that would go from bright white to (hopefully) off-white overnight!
Well, this morning, the nice lotiony smell had faded and my entire bedroom smelled like tanning. That's when I got a little nervous. But I didn't have time to think about it because Sir L was calling for his butt to be changed. So I got him changed and set up with his bottle and went to get ready for work. I didn't notice anything too bad while I was getting ready, but that's only because my house is a dungeon and is extremely dark, even with the lights on.
When I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, though, I saw the lotion sitting on the sink so I took a look at it. That's when I noticed it said "For medium to dark skin tones." Awe. Some.
So of course I'm stupid and didn't decide to wear pants or anything like that. I had gotten so excited to wear my skirt that I was already too far committed to take it back. And when I got out into the natural light, I wished I had just cut and run.
My legs looked ok, but my knees, ankles and feet were a disaster. My knees were (and still are) a ruddy brownish-orange, which coordinated perfectly with the ruddy brownish-orange color that my ankle bones had taken on. My feet are streaky nightmares. And I smell like tanning.
So now I'm sitting at work, in a skirt, with streaky, smelly legs. I'm trying to hide them under my desk, but I know it won't work for long. Someone is inevitably going to come up to my desk and ask me to show them something, help them with something, or do something for them. And then I'm going to have to get up and reveal the tanning disasters that are my legs.
So Experience, you win again. But fear not, because I am not finished with sunless tanning lotion yet. One day I will find the secret trick that will enable me to be a sunkissed summer girl instead of a pale girl who covers up in sarongs because she's afraid of blinding people. And that, of course, will be right on the tail of my diet success.
And then I'm going to shove it in your hoity-toity face and be like, "Who's the teacher NOW, son??"