Today was a reminder of why I’m not a high maintenance girl – anymore. I’ll admit, my family pampered and spoiled me growing up, but all that changed drastically when I got out in the real world and realized you can’t exactly live in the lap of luxury when you only make minimum wage. Now that I have so many grown up responsibilities – kids, work, house, etc. – it’s even harder to find time and money to keep myself up.
But today I decided to treat myself. I’ll be leaving early Friday morning to fly to Miami and meet two of my very best friends for a weekend cruise. It’s my first girls’ trip post babies and I could definitely use the break. There are other things I could definitely use to look somewhat fresh and fabulous (as opposed to my haggard zombie norm), such as clothes that fit, a haircut, whitened teeth, and a tan. Oh, a tan – something that could have been easy to rectify, if only the pasty white, stretch-marked body that so desperately needed it did not belong to me.
Let’s face it. I freak out; especially when it’s something foreign I’m facing. Back in the day, I use to love to tan in the tanning beds. My junior year of high school, I caused four people to miss their tanning appointments when I fell into a deep, tanning bed induced sleep. I couldn’t hear the pounding on the door over the fan and Destiny’s Child I was blasting. That was twelve years ago. Fast forward to today – a frazzled house wife/mommy who barely knows her name or what day it is, much less any current fashions or beauty secrets. I went into Tansations knowing only this – I am really white and I have a credit card – help! The solution was for me to get a Mystic Spray Tan (I think?). This involved me paying $11.00 to strip down and get sprayed head to toe. I was told I would get a Level 1 tan and would be called back when it was my turn. I can never make anything easy though. Let’s start at the very beginning.
I was feeling nervous even as I walked through the parking lot. Young, pretty, already tan little things were coming in and out of the building and I felt like an immediate imposter. I was wearing a dress that showed entirely too much of my “I nursed two babies” cleavage because it was the only thing I had with a built in bra. I’d been advised not to wear any clothing that could smudge my new tan. My hair was pulled back in a greasy bun and I wasn’t wearing any makeup (something else I was advised to do). So I would say my confidence level was a big fat zero, which probably spurred me to wave like a maniac when I thought I saw our dear friends Seth and Stephanie passing me in the parking lot. I then immediately wished I hadn’t waved because I looked so skanky. I wished it even harder when the two complete strangers who were actually in that car came into the tanning salon and stood near me for the next ten minutes. AWKWARD!
After I gave a rambling explanation to the cashier (and the six other randoms crammed in that tiny lobby) about how I’ve never done a spray tan but need one right away, she made me fill out a form and pay. I don’t know if it was my nerves or the fact that I’ve bitten off all my fingernails (it’s my stress relief when the boys are screaming on our interstate drives every day), but for some reason, I couldn’t pick my credit card up off the darn counter. This resulted in an anguishing two minutes of repeatedly trying to use my fingernails to scrape the card up before finally dragging it to the end of the counter so my useless nubs could get some traction and retrieve it.
I then waited fifteen minutes before being called back to a dark room. Two girls “instructed” me on how to use the tanning booth. I think I was too nervous and disoriented by the black light lit booth to register much of what they were telling me, but I gathered that I needed to get naked, rub some lotion on certain spots, and then get in the booth and listen to what the voice told me. Frightening. They left and then it was up to me. Thankfully, there was a little poster with instructions. I started reading. First things first – “get undressed.” Did that and remembered after the deed was done to reach over and lock the door. “Put on hair net.” I twisted, turned, and shaped it a minute or two before I realized I was holding a booty and not the actual hair net. “Use lotion provided on hands and feet.” I put a large squirt in my hands and slathered them and my cuticles really well. Did my elbows. Went back for another squirt and got just a sputter. Great! I pumped and pumped enough to get just enough lotion to say I did my knees and feet. Time to get in. Even this was a challenge because no matter how I twisted my fingers or what type of force I used, the stupid door wouldn’t shut. I finally realized there was a button to push that would do it for me.
When the door closed, the “voice” that was supposed to guide me began speaking, only it sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher and I had no idea what was about to happen. I could make out a count down and at least had the good sense to go stand on the metal plate. I remembered the worker telling me to close my eyes and hold my breath right as the spray started. I didn’t remember her saying that you were going to feel like you might pass out before the spraying was finished. It finally stopped and I had just enough time to drag in a ragged breath before having to turn around for round two. What had she said about my hands? Oh, hold them in front of my stomach so my palms don’t get sprayed and turn orange. Too late. Then the thoughts of what the hell had I done with my body on the first spray? I couldn’t remember because I’d been too oxygen deprived. The door opened and I ran out, gasping for breath and trying to protect my eyes from all the fumes in the air.
Back to reading the poster on the wall. “Dry off thoroughly to prevent streaking.” It forgot to remind me “You only have one towel. Dry your face before your butt. Ass.” I gingerly got dressed and went to wash my hands, as instructed. It was only then that I thought about my wedding ring. But they hadn’t said anything about jewelry. I stopped at the front desk on my way out and was told, “Oh yeah, you should have taken that off.” Seriously??!! Needless to say, I panicked the whole way home until I could get to my bathroom and clean my ring. Still waiting to see what the end result might be.
A parting piece of advice was not to get wet, sweat, or shower for 6-8 hours. So here I sit, stinky and yes, a little orange. I tried not to get wet, but then big boy spit Tylenol all over me and I had to wipe myself with a wet rag. I have a streak down my left arm that I think might be from that incident. He also sucked on both my shoulders while I walked him to sleep for 30 minutes. All the walking caused my thighs to sweat and probably streak. I had to wash dishes, so I’m almost certain I’ll have a dishwater line on my wrists. My knees and ankles are already dark orange. Since I was doing dishes , I bent down and gave them a scrub with my Brillo pad – not sure that helped.
Basically, getting a tan might have been more trouble than it’s worth. Will I be blindingly white? No. Will I have the gorgeous sun-kissed tan of a young co-ed? Hardly. But at least I can say I’ve done it and might do it better next time. Or maybe I’ll remember that people actually drool on me, and that there are always bottles to wash, and more than likely, I’m going to sweat. The truth is, my future tans are going to come from being out in the yard with my boys. And that’s just fine with me.