Vanity, thy name is Victoria.
I decided I needed to have some color for all the end-of-school year parties, birthday parties, visits to the pool, an evening event, etc; all happening this week. Me and the tan-in-a-can? Not so good. A few neighbors, friends and my younger sister have used an instant salon tan with great success. For $20.00, how could I go wrong?
First off, I read the brochure while waiting for the room to be vacated and cleaned. The photos of the process and equipment should have given me a clue - anything that advises you to wear eye guards, breathing guards and to coat certain areas might not be a great idea for the dramatic and/or faint of heart. 'Phfft!' I told myself. When the very deeply tanned host called my name, I confidently strode forth. To Experience the Mystic Tan. To.My.Doom.
We entered the room, and I was surprised at the size of the tanning 'shower'. I should also have noted that the host had to give a good tug on the door - more on that later. He then went through the entire process, poo-pooing the need for eye or nose guard wear (thank God! I said to myself) but stressed the use of the hair net, lotion to block absorption on certain area "Dry Areas" he repeated again and again - heck, I'm dry all over - this is the desert! and also to stand on the metal plate in the shower. Something about how the metal plate negatively charges your body, attracting the liquid to you, or something like that - I was starting to do my usual shutdown when people rattle off instructions. The host rattles off something and then states "And this is important - be sure to dry yourself off, starting with your feet and working towards your head. Dry off very well to avoid streaking." "I don't leave it on until it's dry?!" I ask. NO! He starts to leave, waving a hand toward the poster full of photos and directions, then pops back in and stresses to use the lotion "UNDER your fingernails!" and then he firmly shuts the door. I'm alone with a sink, 2 jugs of tanning-blocking lotion, a bowl of candy and a basket full of big, fluffy hair nets. And 2 towels. And the Shower of Doom.
I shed all clothing and don the hair net after removing my jewelry. I start to really lotion up areas that he said - feet, hands, knees, elbows, between fingers and toes. For some reason I remember him stressing the bottom of my feet - so I really slather the lotion on my soles. Which means I am now sliding around the room, thinking "What a ridiculous thing to have people do!" but I make it into the shower okay. I note the red Start Button. I stand as I have been instructed; legs shoulder width apart, arms out from the sides, with lower arms and hands pointing down down from the elbows, fingers spread. I feel like Quick-Draw McGraw at this point, and I'm getting nervous. The myriad of directions is swimming in my head - Let's see; it's 15 seconds of spray in the front, then a 10 second delay to allow you to turn around, position yourself and then it sprays your back. Okay! I push the button and suddenly remember the first warning "The.Spray.Will.Feel.Quite.Cold."
I immediately forget to take the huge, deep breath I am supposed to take immediately after pushing the red start button.
I hear the nozzels powering up.
SHIT! IT"S FREEZING! And OH GOD! It's misting a Toxic Soup, and oh Crap I was supposed to keep my eyes closed and HOLY CRAP I'm going to have to breath in this lung-dissolving goo! ACK! HELLLLLLLLLLP!
I start panting like I've run a 10k with a fanny-kicking sprint at the end. I am squealing. I am terrified.
The mist shuts off, and I try to push open the door to escape. IT.IS.LOCKED. I am a prisoner.
The spigots power up again. I squeal and shut my eyes. And get blasted on the side. OH FUCK! I was supposed to turn around. I quickly spin and pray my back is now facing the spigots at the right angle. I am almost hyperventilating and cannot seem to keep my eyes closed. I try to squeeze them shut, but they fly open, and start watering with the chemical soup.
It's the longest 15 seconds of my life.
I burst out of the tanning shower and miss the rug so I slide across the floor into the towels. I grab one and immediately give my face a brisk rubdown. I look in the mirror and see a wild-eyed Thing looking back at me. I whip off the stained shower cap and then remember - I'm still covered in this stuff!
I towel off completely opposite of what I've been told (and read in the directions). Do I notice this at the time? No. What I do notice, in bold print on the poster, is an admonition to NOT lotion up the bottoms of your feet. wtf?! He TOLD me to do this. I swear I remember him telling me this!
My stuff is in a pile on the floor. I put on my clothes, find my hat, sunglasses, keys, coin purse that serves as my purse, phone and jewelry. I feel amazingly fine as soon as I get the door open and go out into the waiting room.
It takes hours to process (really, overnight) and I smell that funky smell of self-tanning products. I am excited to see what I look like tan!
I got out of bed with my usual covey of fans present. Oldest immediately asks "Mommy! What is wrong with that toe?" I look down and see a Very Dark Big Toe. On both feet. Streaks on the rest of my feet, with blobs of very dark skin on my ankles. The boys are now rubbing my toes, trying to clean them! Youngest trots off to the bathroom, and comes back with a wet washcloth.
While Youngest is scrubbing for all he's worth on my right big toe, I notice I have a huge white streak on the inside of my legs. And a matching white streak on the other leg. Lovely! And, what's this? My hands now resemble Baboon hands and are a palm reader's dream - all the lines are extra dramatic. And did I mention, Orange?! And my fingertips? Looks like I've been digging in piles of rich, dark loam - not the crappy clay we have here. Youngest notices my hand and starts scrubbing away at it with the washcloth. I decide to shower. And really survey the damage in the bathroom mirrors. I look like an idiot! Splotchy, streaky, And decidedly orange.
It was 98 degrees here today. And guess who wore long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, foot-covering shoes and a big hat today?