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Monday, July 27, 2009

Requiem for a Tan

Ever so many years ago, when jeans were tight enough to double as tourniquets and we feathered our hair within an inch of its beer-highlighted, mayo-softened life, we revered the tan.

What do you mean, who's "we"?

Why, the winter-weary, bikini-wearing, commercial-believing people of my youth, of course!

Proof of my personal devotion can be summed up with the visual of me laying out, in a swimsuit, in the snow, early in April in order to have some sort of color other than "see-through" in time for prom.

Sure, I'm White. What of it?

By the way, I've never cared for the word "Caucasian" and have boycotted answering questions that use that word for years now. Am I Caucasian? No. I'm a perfectly American mix of Czech, Danish, Norwegian, Swiss, Scot, and Irish.

If there's more, no one's talking about it.

I've never cared for my color, though, skin-pigment wise. Maybe it was a 70s thing, but I was raised to believe that "brown" was "healthy". Why retain fish-belly white on the body-side of your arms when, with a little time and a little manipulation, they can have a healthy tan?

Whitey, please.

I no longer have the time to "lay out", nor do I have the money to pay for a tanning salon; and so I've just recently come to the conclusion that I am White and there is nothing I can do about it.

With that in mind, I am embracing my freckled heritage.

Celtic clog dancing? Why not. Truly rotting cheeses? Been doing that for years, anyway. Rampant beer drinking? Hmmm.

Perhaps I am not so far from being comfortable with my white-ness after all.

That's right -- with apologies to Justin Timberlake, I'm bringing Whitey back.


Organic Meatbag said...

Once you go white, it's on all night...hahahaha!

De Campo said...

Everyone please tune in as Pearl host “Albino in America” this coming weekend on CNN.

Christy said...

Oh you're so funny! I say go for it, embrace your whiteness. OR....tan in a bottle?! I'm not adept at them...I end up all streaked-like, but some people can really pull it off!

Ms Sparrow said...

C'mon Pearl, you're not really all that white! You're pink, like me.
How about writing a memoir using that as a title? I can see it now--"Pink Like Me" by Pearl, the white girl/

Bee said...

For me, embracing the whiteness has occurred around the same time as evidence of prior sun-worship has reared its spotty self. I don't seem to tan anymore; only blotch.

Chris@Maugeritaville said...

I don't go for a tan, I just try to neutralize the pale blue.

Jess said...

I appears that we are on the same mission!! I also know we are going to be so much more beautiful with our 70 year old porcelain white skin than our tanning counterparts!

Kavi said...

Hmm. And here the amount of fairness creams that are sale, must be seen to be believed..

Barbara Blundell said...

Gravy Browning used to give good results as long as you didn't go out in the rain

ellen abbott said...

I lived at the beach as a teen (we had a beach house). Never laid out in the sun but was out in it all the time. And then my mother who did lay out in it all the time started to look 30 yrs older and developed a skin condition that kept her inside in the dark. that was enough of a wake up call for me. I hate my white white skin, mottled with every spot you can think of, but what can ya do except get over it.

Douglas said...

I have been tanned to a mahogany reddish brown (surfer dude days), and pasty white. Currently, I have a golfer's tan... forearms and the area from mid thigh to the tops of my socks are dark, the rest resembles curdled cream.

None of it matters anymore to this old guy. But you in a bikini in the snow... well, that sounds interesting.

Madame DeFarge said...

Being red-haired and Scottish, I'm as pale as they can get. I embrace my freckles and my factor 60. And the lack of sun-induced wrinkles.

Pearl said...

Organic Meatbag, ooh, I was hoping for something like that!

De Campo, it’s hard. I feel people are judging me, you know?

Christy, I got all excited about the tan-in-a-bottle, too, but I usually end up looking like I was incorrectly staining kitchen cupboards all weekend or something…

Ms. Sparrow, that’s true. I am a bit more pink than I am white!

Bee, I will be a lovely brown-ish color the day all my freckles join forces!

Chris, very good point, and I concur!

Jess, oh, that is true, isn’t it? I have friends who still embrace the tan, and some of them – even the younger ones – are looking quite old. I think they’re caught in a tan-loop…

Kavi, I’ve actually seen those creams. You know, we always want what we don’t have. If we are slight, we want to be heavier. If we have straight hair, we want curly. And if we are very pale, we wish to be darker. Human beings cannot be satisfied!

Barbara, now THAT was a lovely visual!!

Ellen, oh, your poor mother! Well, the best that can be said about white skin is that it will not wrinkle as fast as tanned skin!

Douglas, laying out in the snow is something only madmen and teenagers do. :-D

Madame De Farge, I’ve actually always enjoyed my freckles. Anyway, pale skin, red hair, sounds gorgeous – a very specific look!

LPC said...

My red-headed daughter will happily join you for the kickline version.

darsden said...

rotflmao ..bringing whitey back..too funny..Pearl wally world sells some pretty good tan in a can..doesn't' even turned you orange..orange you glad I told you about it now ;-)

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

I too am very white and freckled, and finally embracing it. I remember those days of uselessly trying to tan.
Good for you, go girl!

f8hasit said...

The whiteness is good.

I've a friend that spent her entire summers browning herself to a dark brown. Fact is, her feet were almost black she was so dark.

But I saw her last year after 20 years. She looks 60. Bet she would've wished she'd embraced HER whiteness instead.

Mandy's Kidding said...

I like my tan in a bottle. I even like the steaks. It's better than the streaks of blue veins.


powdergirl said...

I wish I had that mixed a heritage.

I'm Russian by blood. Thats all.
Much as I love the diabolical aspects of that, just sin it self, I have my complaints.

And those complaints all have to with skin color,well, except those that have to with stealthy behavior.

I'm white, blue white actually, on those little triangles that seldom see the sun. But other than that, I tan like a Mother-f**cker right through my clothes.

It's very confusing.

And yeah, I don't call myself a 'caucasion' I;m white too,

ha, BTW.
Speaking of the body-side of arms,
I heard a great expression tonight from my mother in law about the inner-upper arm softness that is so defining of age in women. The arm that keeps waving for along time after the rest of the woman is done.

She called them " Bingo Wings"

I nearly died.

ladyfi said...

I remember those torniquet trousers where you had to lie down and get someone to sit on your stomach while you did them up!

unfinishedrambler said...

Pearl: Agree with Ms. Sparrow. You're pink, not white.

However, the Celtic clog dancing, as my wife and I are both Irish, we'd love to see that. :)

Passion said...

This made me laugh! I reminded me of being white in Australia. We have Aboriginal peoples (very dark skin) We dont use those words the USA uses for black people, but our blacks call us, Spook, Casper, Whitey, Snowman, Snowy. It's generally in fun, but reverse racism just the same.