Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fry Till Crispy

As a child, spending the summer days unwillingly playing machanayim and willingly swimming, I would tan easily and spectacularly. 

I have a few great aunts whose faces are referred to, lovingly, as the "road maps." They spent their youths worshiping the tan-giving sun. As I got older, and more paranoid, my summer tan has ceased to exist.  I swim when the sun is lower in the sky, zealously apply sunscreen, and spend most of my day indoors. There is the faintest of hypothetical tan lines when I remove my rings.

At the beach I watch in fascination as quite a few females splay themselves on the sand, flipping over periodically for even browning. One was so dark she could no longer check the box "white, Caucasian" on forms.

In every other culture worldwide, pale skin is the equivalent of beauty. They studiously tote umbrellas shielding their visage. Some use poisonous bleaches to strip the skin of pigment. Many suffer from low self-esteem.
Monet's Woman With a Parasol
Why do we Americans adore bottles of self-tanner, UV beds, and sizzling sunshine? 

This article in the Sunday Styles chronicles Jancee Dunn's pursuit of tanned skin, only to give up.

 She finishes off:
Now I must wear brighter colors to wake up my complexion, like the red Ms. Hathaway favors, and I never leave the house without some form of vitalizing lip stain.
From a fashion point of view, being tanned does not equal colorized. If anything, black on the pale-skinned is absolutely ravishing (as the photo of Anne Hathaway in the article proves). The tanned also need bright colored makeup, as their features become lost in the false toasted hue. 

To clarify, I think there is no such thing as a desired skin shade.  As in many aspects, acquiring false color often looks . . . false. 

All skin shades are beautiful, so to knock oneself out for a different color (whether it be pale or dark) seems like an exercise in futility.


Mark said...

Everyone wants what they can't have.

Princess Lea said...