Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tan in a Can

My dad, Don Knight, with my little sister, Jill-Baby (Jill Woolsey).
The white boy is my brother, Mark. 

There’s Cherokee blood in my family, but I didn’t inherit my dad’s skin tone. In fact, I’m so white, I glow in the dark. Add to that the fact I've been told that sun is bad for you (with scary words like melanoma used for emphasis - for good reason) , I avoid sunlight like a vampire. Still, I want to look tanned, and have at least some resemblance to my heritage. So, if I can’t get it from the sun, I’m getting it myself from a bottle.

Knowing that almost every ill conceived, hair brained idea I’ve ever had came from thinking I could duplicate a professional, you’d think I’d learn.

My first foray into the world of sunless tanners left me with striped orange and white legs; I was a human version of Tony the Tiger. It took several days for the effect to finally wear off. I walked around in jeans instead of shorts in the middle of a heat wave to hide them. So much for claims such as “won’t streak” or “won’t turn you orange”.

I decided that maybe going to a professional would be the best way to go (I know, it boggles the mind that I gave up my DIY mindset). Off I went to a tanning salon and paid a good amount of money to be spray tanned. They called it something like “UV free tanning” but honestly, that’s a nice way to say that like a wall, you’re getting spray painted. The professional results were nice, but in order to maintain the look, I was instructed to return every 5-6 days. That would be a pain in the butt, not to mention expensive; so that was out.

DIY was back in. Sigh.

I went online and searched for professional products to duplicate my salon experience; I stumbled upon an airbrushing system. It looked terrific, and the website crowed that it was almost the same system the salons use. Sadly, I knew there was no way to justify $1,500 so I can sport a tan. Well, I could - Matt, not so much. He’s all practical & stuff, which annoys the daylights out of me.

Then, I hit gold.

I came across something that purported to be a spray tan in a can. It, too, claimed that I would experience salon results without the expense; they backed it up with glowing recommendations & lengthy testimonials. Sadly, as you may know if you’ve read my drivel for any length of time, I believe just about anything coming from the tv or magazine. I placed my order for the buy one, get one free product and watched the mail like a child waiting for the ice cream truck.

When it finally came, I could almost see the clouds part and hear the angels sing. I just knew that I’d found the perfect product that would bestow a golden California tan on my milky white limbs.

Even though I had the flu and was running a fever of 101°, I didn’t care. I was getting started right then. I pulled out the instructions, as I meant to follow every single one of them. For once.

The first step was to strip my body of previous sunless tanning product. Matt suggested we get in the hot tub, a cornucopia of chemicals that would almost surely rid my body of layers upon layers of assorted tanners. To be sure, after that, I took a shower and scrubbed, hard, with a combination of an exfoliator and a loofah.

If the desired outcome was to be bright pink, then call me Porky.

Next, Matt “volunteered” to be the spray painter. He explained that he could see any streaks and had a much better chance of distributing the product evenly.

Ladies, I don’t think I have to tell you this, but between us, it’s just easier to pretend we buy the load of crap they shovel our way.

I was de-tanned and scrubbed; I got into the shower and Matt began to spray. To my horror, the spray turned into little balls that streaked down my skin. Of course, I blamed Matt; I thought he didn’t shake the can hard enough. He shook it again, took aim, and sprayed. I gasped as little balls of golden tan were rolling down my legs. Over and over he sprayed but the solution kept balling up, streaking down my body like an out of control luge. I figured that the can must be defective, so I made Matt get the other bottle and try again. I was NOT giving up.

At this point, the room was so hazy, China looked like the ambassadors of clean air and the fumes could choke a horse. We could hardly see or breathe. Matt started worrying about black lung, and I was ready to kill Matt.

“Look,” I hissed, “YOU were the one who just had to spray me. Stop complaining, ya’ big baby. Besides, it won’t be black lung; it’ll be bronze. Big difference - tanned is healthy”.

What was supposed to be a quick glazing had turned into a nightmare. Matt wanted to stop, and even tried to flee the room. Seeing my face, he gave the other can a try, with the same results. The floor, walls, ceiling and shower curtain, however, were a beautiful golden brown. Even Matt had the beginnings of a beautiful tan. Brown streaks were running all over me, pooling at my feet.

I looked like an albino seal struggling to get out of an oil spill.

The next morning, I wrote an email to the company. As one would imagine, it was a complaint. Shortly after I fired off my snotty little email, I got a lovely note back from the company. A sweet girl named Janessa asked me what type of exfoliator I had used.

Turns out, the brand I used left a moisturizing layer of professional strength Vaseline; I was a human slip and slide. Not even commercial grade paint could have gotten through.


After a good sandblasting, I tried it again. To my great joy, the elusive golden brown sun goddess tan was finally mine. Well, mostly. Matt turned out to be right; when I sprayed myself, I ended up with dark patches here and there. I didn’t care, though. At least it stuck this time. And for once, I wasn’t so white that I’d be invisible in a snow storm.

Now, if only I could remember where I got it.

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy
She was pretty dumb.