“I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” — Abraham Lincoln.
If I had it to do all over again, I’d never sunbathe.
Tanning was all the rage when I was young, and we spent hours trying to get that sun-kissed and healthy glow.
My Italian mom was a sun-worshiper, and my sis and I as young girls tried to keep up with her. Later, in college, we congregated on our sun deck from February until the school term ended in May.
As young professionals, we’d slip into bikinis every weekend and walk over to the apartment complex’s pool.
There, Casey Kasem’s American Top Forty countdown would be blasting out of the speaker system. We’d grab a soda and a recliner, lather down with coconut oil, and talk or drift into a sleepy reverie for a couple of hours. Until the lunch bell rang in our stomachs (or Casey pronounced his traditional, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”).
If the morning sun wasn’t enough, we sought more in the afternoon. Tennis, walking on the beach, whatever.
Soaking up the rays.
And ruining our skin.
What was I, a fair-haired Irish girl, thinking? I didn’t inherit my mom’s olive skin that never burned or needed sunscreen.
I’d eventually turn a faint tannish color, but it wouldn’t last. And struggling through a sunburn to get there was painful and inconvenient.
I recall my worst sunburn, “won” during a weekend get-away trip to Florida, where I easily could’ve matched a lobster!
Dousing my skin with vinegar (can you say, Salad?) and, a few days later, peeling off the outer layer in strips sort of put a damper on my penchant for tanning. Nevertheless, the damage was done.
Today my arms and legs have blotching and brown spots no cream can erase, no dermatologist can treat.
But I’m also smarter. Less willing to follow the crowd.
And I’ve discovered self-tanners, which, if used properly, can give even an Irish girl a golden glow.
Do tell — Are you one of the lucky ones who tan naturally?