Ah a summer tan, a healthy glow, an all over golden colour to the skin. Something we strive for in the summer months, something that makes us feel good about ourselves, and something that society has convinced us is required for our beached up, backyard loving summer culture.
I know for me, the summer months mean laying in the hot summer sun, rotating front to back, snoozing and sipping iced water in my bikini working on that all important tan. Avoiding tan lines at all costs, bikini twisted into minimal coverage to expose the most to the rays of sun – in the privacy of my own backyard of course.
Only to have it wash off you in a matter of weeks as the summer quickly turns it’s back on us. Pasty white now becomes the harsh reality of my appearance. In my opinion no longer all that appealing. We cover up more in a bid to hide the sheen of our skin that appears to glow as a reminder we were only faking it to begin with. The hours spent in the company of the suns rays no longer seem well spent.
The fix, out of a bottle, becomes the new thursday and Friday night ritual. We see those that embrace the winter white wonderland and those that feel secure in a sprayed on skin. The constant wearing down of the tan and the resprays, the dodgy spray jobs and the colours from dog shit and tangerine and everything in between the nickname ‘oompa loompa’ is reintroduced every winter. Then the ones that master it, you wouldn’t even know, a maintainable few shades lighter than the natural skin colour don’t leave it unbelievable that they are in fact honest version of themselves.
I am in no way dissing the desire to be tanned, whatever the season. As I type this I sit on the couch, oldest loosest shirt and trackies I own recently painted in a medium spray that I hope will only make me more confident when I have to get into bootie shorts and a crop tomorrow morning for some posing practice. I may have a botch job due to my lack of ability to allow setting time and dropping a sizeable amount of water onto my left foot..but hopefully that goes unnoticed.
But why does this make us feel better? Is it the ongoing encouragement of magazine bikini models sporting amazing tans, the ongoing advertising of the tans in a bottle (Jen Hawkins) that leave us with little excuse not to be staining our skin at any time of year?
Personally I feel leaner, I feel healthier and I feel less intimidated standing next to other girls with half my clothes removed and in near zero temperatures that are our gym. The blue veininess of my skin due to the temperature is masked by the tan and the definition of my muscles is more noticeable – why do you think body builders paint themselves with what looks like shoe polish from a jar? not because they like the colour trust me.
My experience with competitions is a temporarily warped perception to what constitutes a natural looking fake tan. You should probably wait for your competition tan to wear off completely before getting another or you will be drastically disappointed by the retail product of ‘their darkest spray tan’
I don’t fork out for a spray tan every week, but certainly some people do, and that’s just fine. Personally my social life probably doesnt call for it, I do it more for myself than others, but each to their own.
All I know is I can’t wait to have a shower to wash this off, the stickiness is uncomfortable.