vanity, thy name is woman

Subtitled: Confessions of the Sprayed Tan

So, I went spray tanning for the first time yesterday. I've been fake tanning a few times (i.e. the cancer beds), but I hadn't gone at all this winter, and my skin's been looking... pretty pasty. It gets a little old hearing people comment on how "pale" I am (Seriously? I'm fair-skinned. I'm okay with that. You can all shut up with your "pale" comments!), so I mentioned resuming tanning. One of my friends gave me the idea to go spray tanning, as she's been and really enjoyed the results. However, I was not prepared for the trauma that would ensue.

First of all, my friend told me that she went into a little booth/machine thingy that sprayed her automatically. I walked into the room at a local salon, and there was "Vanessa" and a weird tent thing. My suspicions were confirmed when "Vanessa" told me I could wear this flimsy paper bikini or "go commando, if you're comfortable with it." That's when things clicked. Oh. You're going to be spraying me? Awkward.

Well, I donned the paper bikini and got all spray painted. YIKES. "Vanessa" did inform me that there was a bronzer to "give instant color"... but I wasn't prepared for autoJamaican. The whole time, as "Vanessa" was chatting merrily about life and normal topics that seemed completely abnormal considering the situation, I was trying to form coherent responses while my brain kept repeating, "What am I doing? What am I doing?"

I got home and I think Zooey was probably freaked out by the strange Oompa Loompa who let her out of the cage. I immediately texted my friend, asking her if her body was eerily dark right afterward. She called me and tried to still my fears - yes, you look super dark because of the bronzer. No, you may not wash your face because then you will have paid for nothing because everything will wash off. So, I felt a little bit comforted, but still panicked every time I passed a mirror.

Then Doug got home, did a double take and asked, "What happened?!" I spent the next hour asking and re-asking if he hated it, if he was mad, if he wanted me to shower it off, if he was embarrassed to go to church with me, if I looked like a total freak, etc, etc, etc. Because my husband is a saint, he told me he was not embarrassed to be seen with Snooki and he still loved me.

Then we went to church, where everyone immediately asked me a million questions and I almost left right away to go shower and remove all traces. Several sweet girls tried to reassure me that it wasn't bad and it would look fine once the bronzer was off - although, one girl exclaimed, "Wow! You don't look like a white highlighter!" Yep. Thanks for that...

Anyway, I got home, had to go babysit (sorry for the nightmares, kid), came home and showered. I was somewhat relieved by the color of my face, but it was still a very noticeable difference.

Then there was school today.

Now, being a teacher has really taught me how to laugh at myself and be okay with making a fool out of myself (don't test my limits - I'm still overly sensitive and might snap!)... but man, it took a lot for me to walk into school today instead of taking a personal day. Knowing that my students notice if I get so much as an inch trimmed off my hair, I steeled myself for the onslaught.

"Whoa, did you go tanning?"
"Wow, you're tan."
"Have you been tanning?"
"Oh my word!"
"Mrs. Parton, you're so tan!"
"Jersey Shore called..."
"Are you going clubbing this weekend?"
"Whoa, it's an exchange student from Africa!"
"You're so... tan..."

etc. etc. etc.

Some of my girls did try to be nice about it, and one student even said, "Hey! At least you'll be tan for prom!"

I honestly have no clue why I didn't think about all this sooner. Why I didn't go over the weekend. Why I went at all. Why I couldn't just endure my pale skin for a few weeks longer until summer arrived. Hence the title of this post - vanity, vanity, vanity. Suffice to say, I learned my lesson, and my first experience with spray tanning will indeed be my last experience.


  1. haa...what a tale! i've been thinking about trying spray tan (no more sun for me...skin cancer)...now you've got me rethinking it. guess i need to embrace my whiteness!

  2. this post is full of so much awesome.
    thanks for sharing. :)

  3. I love it! This is the most wonderful story....a definite contender for our book.

  4. This is quite a funny post. And the fact that you admitted it to the world is admirable (of course, its sounds like just walking outside is admitting it to the world.)

  5. You're still cute as pie, pale or tanned!!!!! Come to S.C. we can head to the beach and get a REAL tan. We all live and learn right??!!

  6. aw, thanks miss teresa! and i would LOVE to take you up on that offer... it's been so cold here lately!

  7. I don't know how i missed this post??! It is awesome! I was going to go spray tanning next week b/c I'm in a wedding, I am now rethinking.

  8. Dawn

    I'll be highlighting your blog tomorrow at www.theHighcalling.org

    Each month, out of our 1700 bloggers, we highlight just ten.
    So this is a big deal!

    The post will go live around mid afternoon tomorrow. If you care to point your readers to the post, please do.


    David Rupert
    NewsLetter Editor
    The High Calling


  9. I've never tried the spray tan thing, even in the dead of winter when I'm zombie-pale.

    But I've sure considered it (until now).

    What we women do for beauty....