Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Spray Tans

Somewhere in the distant past, a tan indicated that you were too poor to work indoors. Later when the ubiquity of steam power meant everybody worked indoors to pay for their bosses' steam-powered leisure cruises to warmer climes, a tan indicated you were rich enough to go overseas.

It's particulary strange to me that of all the world's racial groups, the one who specifically clings to skin colour as a marker of its innate superiority is the one that believes that pale skin looks "unhealthy". You know what looks unhealthy? Premature aging and skin cancer, which is what happens when you tan. Tanning doesn't cause skin damage, tanning is skin damage. It's your skin's equivalent to a good, hearty, post-overindulgence vomit. But, if you must spend time with all the mad dogs and Englishmen, then a tan is hard to avoid, so it's understandable. Not a good, healthy look - in fact your skin looks like the leather of an old suitcase - but hey, you've got do to what you've got to do.

Now, all this said, it's obvious that I'm in favour of skin in its natural, healthy state. But, if healthy is not an option because you like being outdoors, then at least natural in terms of your skin looking like actual, tanned human skin is preferable to the revolting shade of pumpkin that is now fashionable amongst bleach-blondes the world over.

"Bronzer", they call it. "Instant tan".

You look like an oompaloompa, you fucking idiot. Your skin bears no resemblance to human skin. You are not brown, you are orange.

What makes it worse is that because you, having long since dedicated yourself to cosmetic artifice, fail to see that the lip gloss and eye makeup you picked for your prior, slightly more natural state simply does not work with your newfound amber complexion. And it's not just the bad makeup, spray tans do not penetrate like light. The apparent stencil effect of the pink edges of your eyelids lead to the illusion that you're wearing a vermilion latex mask, amplifying the unnaturalness to an almost mesmerising level of awfulness.

What I don't understand is how this look has become popular. Everyone I know - including people I dislike and don't agree with on anything beyond the day's weather - thinks that this chemical abomination looks ridiculous. There's practically an entire genre of insults out there about how terrible it looks, even in the crappy magazines you allow to dictate your eating disorders. Who exactly is suggesting you do it? Is there some shriveled, leathery old bat bullying you about how pale you look?

A tip: if your hair is lighter than your skin, you have gone too fucking far.


Garg the Unzola said...

I can never determine whether it's a spray tan or the progeny of a Chernobyl victim.

Sarah Britten said...

Hey, when you're pale enough to blind passers-by when you venture outside, fake tan is essential. I am translucent otherwise, and it's not a good look. I'd rather look like the progeny of the Chernobyl victim.

Ladyfingers said...

I can't agree there, Sarah. I've never seen anybody too pale, much as I've never seen anybody too dark. Say that to yourself: too dark. Think "too pale" is different? It's not.

Embrace the alabaster, the milkiness, the glow of the Anglo-celtic complexion. It's as beautiful as any other skin.