This summer, Kevin has been getting more and more suntanned, while I've remained my usual pasty white. No doubt it's partly a matter of exposure and partly of predisposition.
He has certainly seen a good amount of sun during his Friends for Life training rides, while I've spent much of that time indoors. But I would assert that, had I been along with him for those rides, either I would have applied lots of sunscreen and remained just about as pasty as I am now, or I would have not applied lots of sunscreen, burned and peeled repeatedly...and remained just about as pasty as I am now.
For the last decade or so, I've been quite convinced that I simply can't tan.
I don't really know if it was jealousy of Kevin's fantastic skin, simple vanity, or maybe a desire to challenge my own assumptions that pushed me to act yesterday. I paid a visit to a local, well respected tanning salon to get some fake and bake UVA goodness.
I filled out a consent form, noting on it my tendancy to not tan, my tendany to burn, and my lack of sun exposure. They recommended seven minutes in a 200W Sun Capsule VHR. I was warned that I might very well see no effect from the session, reassured that we were just trying to start a base, and promised that I'd start to see something after a couple more tans.
"No worries," I replied. I'd rather take a few seesions to get results than to overdo it and end up getting burned.
The seven minutes passed quite quickly, and I felt fine the whole time. On emerging from the machine, I checked myself out in the mirror. As predicted, I didn't see much difference. My face and arms might have looked a bit darker, and I had a general glow about me. Interestingly, the combination of the ambient heat and the blowing cool air had left my hair looking fantastic. I went home feeling quite satisfied and planning to return on Tuesday for another session.
It only took another half hour for the burn to develop. My arms and face remained fine, but my torso and upper legs turned bright, bright red. If Kevin hadn't borrowed my camera for his ride, I'd post a picture of my burn line. It's pretty shocking. Every time I look in the mirror, I'm reminded of Kevin's red body paint last Halloween.
Today, I'm pretty sore. The worst spots are my outer thighs and under my armpits.
Once it all fades and peels, I'll have to decide whether I should give up on tanning for good or go back and give it another go...maybe for a four minute session.