At a recent dermatologist visit, I answered a questionnaire. Since it was a skin cancer check, one of the first questions was, “Have you ever had a bad sunburn?” Has anyone NOT had a bad sunburn? I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been beet red, in pain and cursing that big ball of fire in the sky and then heading out again to bask in it the next day.
I grew up as a sun worshipper. Like a kid in a suburban neighborhood full of other children, I was outside from morning ’til night. I honestly don’t remember ever having my mom apply sunblock. Yes, we lived in New England, not Miami, but surely, even then, there was sunblock. Wasn’t Brooke Shields the original Coppertone baby? She’s older than me. I remember Summers at the beach where a pink sunburn was called ‘healthy color.’ We burned and looked forward to it, turning to tan. We went to tanning salons to get a base so we could stay in the sun all day on vacation.
As I got older, I got more creative. On vacation to Hawaii, I learned the disgusting trick to a deep, dark tan: mixing olive oil and flat Coca Cola. How gross is that? Guess what? I may have been greasy, stinky, and sticky, but I was tan. How about Plaxtex Baby Magic lotion? You guessed it…tan! If you look at the person I got that hot tip from; you’d think I was a nut for even considering it.
It seems our choices these days are 1. Wrinkles,/cancer 2. Pale, Cullen-Esque skin that glows 3. Snooki orange (which may or may not be streaky like Tony the Tiger.) With those fantastic choices, it’s no wonder I usually stay inside. There, I can be pale, but not worrying about blinding my fellow beachgoers.
My girls have never even had tan lines. I hope they will never have a sunburn. With my fair skin, they don’t stand a chance of that. Joe is as fair-skinned as I am, yet refuses to accept it. Let’s hope that his belief that he has a Mediterranean complexion somehow translate genetically into the inability to burn. I plan to be the mom at the beach or pool that harasses her 18-year old into the chalk whiteness of SPF 1,000,000. After that, let’s hope they have good sense. Before that, grounding is not out of the question until they accept that they will stay porcelain white.
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