Friday, April 28, 2006


Lots of people at my work have started tanning, and some bloggers have mentioned it as well, so I decided it was time for me to leave behind my glowing white, spider-veined legs, and opt for the lobster with freckles look.

OK, well, that wasn't my exact intention. I kind of forgot about the freckles I would soon sport after excessive UV exposure, and didn't plan on burning.

The first time, the nice young chap who sold me on my (overpriced?) package put me in the standard, twenty minute bed for five (!) minutes. Turns out that was wise of the boy, though I never would have thought I could trust a 20-something guy who really seemed proud that his main source of income was working full time in a tanning salon. I stand corrected.

After my first tan, which was a piece of 5-minute cake, he got me all signed up and explained that for the next nine days, I could use ANY bed that I wanted without paying the upgrade fees. You know, to check out all they have to offer. Well. OK then.

The next day, I returned and was placed in the "Turbo" bed with facial tanner. I giggle like a pubescent boy when I hear the word "facial", so after I bit my bottom lip to suppress it, the nice career-tanner explained how to work the bed. Again,
my time limit was five (!) minutes, and again, wise choice. I was a teeny-tiny bit pink, but not bad at all. My lips did feel like they were being burned off with a blow torch, but all was well after I figured out out to turn off the facial (tee-hee!) bulbs. And it had a built in "Turbo" fan. Very nice, because, ew, I didn't want to go back to fluorescent hell all stinky.

Today, I returned for my third session. This time, body-building-tan-man must have been on lunch, as a young girl assisted me. She asked what bed I wanted and I shrugged my shoulders.

"OK, how about the bed that massages your back?"

"Um. OK." Perhaps it would bring some relief to my bastard shoulderblade, I thought.

"OK. We'll do six minutes each side, because you have to flip over. And it gets pretty hot."


Now, I personally think that all tanning beds are hot, and if there is not a fan blowing full blast on me, I won't make it through the session. Guaranteed. And if this girl, who clearly spends a lot of time tanning, thinks it's hot, well, I'm in trouble.

But I am a trooper and tried not to flinch when she said that and tried not to flinch again when I saw this contraption she was speaking of. It was way to space-agey for me, and it didn't have a top that you can just flip open when you are done. It had a button. That you had to push. To raise it back up after it was done cooking you. Now, for most people, this would not be an issue. But for me, she-with-the-most-irrational-fears-possible, this was a problem. Because, what if, WHAT IF the button broke? And I couldn't get out. And the bulbs wouldn't shut off. And my insides were charbroiled to a crisp. My lips probably really WOULD burn off, and I'm kind of partial to my lips. Wow. Did you say this thing get hot? Because I'm already burning up.

"...and I know it says 20 minutes, but it will really only be 12" (are you sure) "and you just have to keep an eye on it" (but you aren't supposed to open your EYES in the tanning bed!) "and flip over after 6" (what if I don't flip over in time?) "and here is how you turn the massager on and off. OK! Enjoy."


I stripped of my clothing (no tan lines!), applied my hemp bronzing cream, pushed the start button and got in. I heard the bulbs first, and it seemed that the brightness and temperature were just going to keep intensifying. Then the fan kicked on, which relaxed me a bit. Next I felt something move (ack!), but it was only the massager. Which was very nice, it kept me distracted, and my shoulderblade did feel a little better. Soon I started getting paranoid about turning over. I actually turned over about 5 minutes in. I turned off the massager (frontal massages are weird unless they are from Mr.) and tried to relax. With no more distraction from the massager, all I could think about was how HOT it was. And if my legs were burning, because they sure felt like they were burning. I checked the timer (my eyes!) at least six times. Finally, I decided I couldn't take it any more, and shut it down at 10 minutes.

Must to my relief, the bulbs went dark and the top began to rise. Of course, I had to wait until it was completely up to get out because, well, what IF you aren't supposed to touch it, and I bumped it and the bulbs shattered and rained hot glass
particles all over my naked being? (Did I mention the irrational fear of tanning beds that I have?) I stood up and my face was RED and my butt was RED and my neck was RED and my belly was RED and my thighs were RED, and, oh, you get the idea. I blotted off (I don't sweat very much, really) and slowly got dressed.

I am a little more pink, and my thighs feel sore and my lips hurt. I don't think I'll be using the massage-a-tan bed again.

I will be taking the weekend off from tanning anyway, so I think I'll survive.

I'll just stick with getting a facial (hee!) from the "Turbo" bed.

It's safer that way.


Blogger evilsciencechick said...

facial *snort!*

I don't trust tanning beds. Of course, I work in a lab where half the people study DNA damage caused by UV light, so it's not really an irrantional fear.

I use tanning gel - looks surpringly natural, without all that burning, peeling, and cancer side effects. Which reminds's about time to pick some up! Yay warm weather!

2:50 PM  
Blogger j said...

Yeah, that would probably scare me too. I tried that Jergens lotion, but I kept forgetting to use it. I'll just tan and then maybe I'll stand next to my microwave while it's on for some added radiation. Whee!

3:10 PM  
Blogger evilsciencechick said...

L'Oreal tanning gel. works wonders, easy to use. put in on after getting out of the shower. goes on evenly.

DOES have a tendency to darken rough spots, so exfoliate well.

or just keep getting facials.


4:38 PM  
Blogger Adare said...

There is something called "Mystic Tan", where you go into a booth but you get sprayed with a tanner solution instead of baked by hot bulbs. Within a few hours you start to look tan and by the next day, you are very tan.

It doesn't hurt your skin and lasts about a week.

It's a lot better than freckling and burning. And you don't risk skin cancer either. :-)

I used to use tanning beds but stopped years ago. Just got too nervous about the damage.

11:31 AM  
Blogger j said...

Great. Now I'm all paranoid...

7:33 AM  

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