Friday, August 26, 2011

In All Fair-ness

The freckles on my arms have reached that critical mass that almost makes it look like I have a tan. OK, so maybe it doesn't rise to the level of a "tan" exactly, but it could be called a "beige" or maybe an "off-white." Perhaps in the spirit of journalistic accuracy I should call it what it is--a plethora of  summertime freckles, a veritable galaxy of tiny points of pigment that don't quite add up to a tan. But a girl with Scandinavian and Scottish genes has to take what she can get.

Summer wardrobe,
Denali National Park style
I should have grown up in Alaska, where long sleeves and beanies in August are the norm. Growing up in sunny California I felt conspicuously pale. The Beach Boys didn't help matters much--you remember the lyrics: "The west coast has the sunshine and the girls all get so tan . . . " All except me, that is. My legs were the color of Wonder bread (and I don't mean the crusts) while my friends spent carefree days at the beach or pool and quickly took on a gorgeous bronzed finish. This was before the days of SPF 30 and so a few hours in the sun left me with a painful sunburn that faded slowly back to a slightly deeper white. Nothing even close to a tan. My nose peeled continuously from Memorial Day until school started in September.

Mom assured me that my "fair" skin was an asset. (We all knew that "fair" was just code for "whoa girl, let me put some shades on to cut the glare from your legs!") She tried to comfort me with the thought that in 30 years my friends would have leathery wrinkled hides from all that sun worship while I would be dewy and youthful. Somehow the thought of my peers shriveled like prunes didn't help a lot when they were singing "Blinded By the Light" at the top of their lungs from the boat while I water-skied. I just smiled and waved my pasty white arm. Every summer my futile quest for some color continued. What was I thinking? That I would suddenly develop late-onset pigment and look like a Coppertone ad?

No more. A tan? Meh. Who needs it? In fact, these days I slather 70 SPF sunscreen on my cracker-white extremities or just suit up like a beekeeper when I go outside. My legs continue to blind innocent bystanders but I can roll with it. The best thing about middle-age is that it doesn't bother me anymore. A faux-freckle-tan will do just fine.

No comments:

Post a Comment