I’m pale and I like it.
There! I said it! I feel much better now.
Seriously though—I didn’t realize there were so many pale-haters out there! Since our spring has shown up early this year (my roses are starting to leaf out already!) I have already received 2 ‘suggestions’ to use self-tanner on my legs. One of these was from Salsa Judy, who really should know better!
Now, contrary to what DH thinks, I don’t hate the sun. But the sun doesn’t have a lot of love for me either
Background: I’m naturally white as a ghost, even have been called Casper. But this didn’t seem to be evident until I was an adult. Because when I was a kid, we had a pool. So every day in the summer I was in the pool swimming all day. We would get up, eat breakfast (wait the requisite 30 minutes), then get in the water. We would get out, eat lunch on the deck and then go back in. This was every day in the summer. We sure got our money’s worth with that pool.
So I was TAN. Pretty brown for a pale Irish girl. Not tanorexic, like Lizzie Grubman above (EW) but a good bit of color. And of course back in the day, Salsa Judy never made us wear sunblock unless we were at the beach. Makes sense right? LOL Anyway—I spent many summers being tanned from swimming and enjoying the pool, they really only saw me paler in the winter. And for a blonde, I tanned very well. DH has seen pics of me as a kid and couldn’t believe how dark I was.
So what made me go from tan to Casper? Well, it may have been kind of a rebellious thing. I remember seeing all of these girls who were going to the prom (which I refused to attend) go tanning and it kind of grossed me out. It just wasn’t my thing I guess. And being the voracious magazine reader I am, studies were starting to come out at that time just how bad the sun really was for you. And Salsa Judy (who was an avowed sun worshipper) had started getting pre-cancerous moles that needed to be removed. And the fact the hygienist at my orthodontist's office was super-duper tan and her skin looked like crepe paper and freaked me out. But she always made comments about how she didn’t want to get ‘too light’. So I decided I didn’t care about being tan and would just take care of my skin.
People need to realize that sun damage is cumulative. If you get a bad bun in childhood, that alone doubles your changes to get skin cancer. I can remember getting so sunburned on a family vacation in Hilton Head that I couldn’t even sleep on my back. That and the fact that I never wore sunscreen in our pool made me realize that I would be happier to embrace my Pale Porcelain self.
And I’ve been happily pale since. And have you noticed that despite Jersey Shore’s attempt to popularize the tanorexic look, paleness seems to have its own little trend going on. Dita Von Teese and Rooney Mara (both above) have been my fave pale girls lately. I’ve always loved Dita’s style (I would kill to have access to her amazing vintage wardrobe!) and she embraces her paleness as well, even using a parasol in the sun. I tried that but DH said he wouldn’t be seen with me! Rooney is also an Irish girl like myself and her skin is gorgeous. I would say she’s my skin twin in terms of color. Can you honestly tell me that these 2 women aren’t beautiful with pale skin? I couldn’t even imagine either of them with tan.
The are a few things I don’t like about being pale. One is the comments from people who seem to think it is their duty to tell you that you need sun. I just tell people that I like being pale and smile. Plus, I’m not going to look like a wrinkly raisin later in my life! I like my moon tan, thank you very much!
Another pain is makeup. 90% of the foundation shades out there are not light enough for my skin. That’s one of the main reasons I use mineral makeup. If the lightest shade isn’t pale enough, I have a little bit of white mineral powder I mix in to get my perfect pale shade. Plus minerals have natural sunscreen built right in so your skin is already partially protected.
But it’s not to say that I don’t get a bit of tan every now and then. You really can’t avoid the sun, unless you’re a vampire. DH and I go to a lot of outdoor festivals and he LOVES the sun (how is that for irony?). I practically have to force him to put sunblock on since he wants a tan (yes, he’s Italian). So I have gotten some tan/burn but rarely. And on our last vacation to the Dominican Republic (pic above is one of the beaches *sigh*), I got a decent tan (for me anyway). It wasn’t that I was lying in the sun, I was in the water really enjoying the beach and just happened to get a tan. I love the water more than anything so the tan was side effect.
It’s interesting how times change. In addition to the Little Black dress and her amazing fashions, Coco Chanel was the person who made having a tan fashionable in the 20th century. The legend says that she went on a long trip abroad with her latest love, the Duke of Westminster, she came back with a tan and started a trend. Since Chanel was (and to me still is) the height of chic, everyone started to tan. Before that, if you had a tan it meant you were poor and had to work in the sun. If you were a lady of leisure, you were white as snow and never went in the sun for fear of freckling! Soon after, tanning became associated with being healthy and doctors were saying the sun was great for you. And 70 years later it’s all upside down again!
How do you feel about the sun? Do you try to avoid it? Or are you one of those who loves a great tan?
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! ( bit early) I will be celebrating with my family tomorrow and then DH and I are meeting up with friends to see some great bands. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some good pics to post next week.