Something interesting happened to me a few weeks ago. I got a tan. I know this doesn’t sound interesting on the surface, but hear me out. I don’t normally get tan. Normally I get a horrific burn and then vow never to go into the sun again. This is pretty much the relationship I’ve had with the sun for the past twenty years. Then, a few months ago, I had to have a mole biopsied. And it wasn’t just some normal mole. It was a mole that went all supernova and created a black hole. It was apparently a really weird mole, and my dermatologist was like “Oh, yea, that’s totally normal…in kids. But not in adults. Something’s wrong if you get something like this as an adult.” So I cried for like two weeks while I waited for the results, and then I got militant about sunblock when I found out I wasn’t dying. And that sunblock is, apparently, why I got a tan on my recent vacation instead of a blistering sunburn.
Want to know something about me with a tan? It looks pretty nice. I stopped wearing foundation. I started wearing shorts. I started looking healthy and people stopped looking quizzically and asking “are…are you sick, or something?” Apparently a tan works on me. Who knew? The problem, of course, is that after a few days, the tan started to fade. It started to fade and I had a business trip where I would be in a room with very important people for several days, and I wanted to look tan and fabulous in front of very important people.
My self tanner purchase was an impulse. I think every self tanner purchase ever is an impulse, really. If you have time to read reviews of your self tanner, you’re pretty much definitely going to say “Oh, this will turn me orange according to every review on the internet. Nevermind, then.” I was at Ulta purchasing tinted moisturizer, and I thought “I should buy my tinted moisturizer one shade darker than I need. Because I’m tan now. And also I should buy expensive self tanner, because if it’s expensive, it won’t turn me orange like EVERY OTHER SELF TANNER I’VE EVER TRIED.” And that’s what I did. I bought expensive self tanner. Expensive self tanner that also contained a body makeup component, so the color was immediately visible. This seemed like a flawless plan. Then, I put off using the self tanner until the night before my trip. Because putting something off that will impact my appearance for several days? That’s just what I do.
Thursday morning was the first day of meetings, and I popped out of my cushy hotel bed and set off to get ready for the day. Was I pleased with the color of my legs? You betcha. And I was also cocky, because I wasn’t orange. I was riding the final waves of my real tan, and the self tanner just gave that a little bit of a lift. With the body makeup component there to give an extra sheen of color, I thought “I can be tanner than this. I SHOULD be tanner than this.” And so I went about rubbing the self tanner all over my body once again. When I got to the office and used the bathroom, I gave myself a weird look in the mirror. Then I blamed the fluorescent lights for what I was seeing. Surely I wasn’t a strange combination of orange and brown. I had JUST seen myself in my hotel room’s mirror, and I looked awesome.
At lunchtime I took another trip to the bathroom. And I might have screamed a little bit. To say I was orange would be an understatement. I was ORANGE. I was orange and I was in a room full of my peers and superiors. And I had another 5 hours with them. I started coating my face with translucent powder in an attempt to dull the effects, but my legs and arms were on their own on this one. I don’t even want to think about how I looked the rest of the day, with my face powdered and the rest of my body turning a deeper shade of orange by the minute. I don’t want to think about it, but I’m sure nobody else will ever forget it. I said some brilliant things in that room that day. I made important contributions, and had the opportunity to establish myself as an up and coming star in my company. I did those things. And I’ll be remembered for none of them. Because in addition to offering insightful observations, my skin dramatically changed colors throughout the day. And while I’m sure I said some memorable things, having hypercolor skin is going to trump that any day of the week.