Saturday 18 November 2017

The tanning process leaves me red-faced

Eleanor Goggin

I wonder am I slightly deluded. I thought in the past that I used to tan easily. I have photos of myself at home as a little girl in summer dresses. And I have a tan. Brown as a berry. Now I know your skin tone changes as you get older, but at the rate I'm going I'll still be like a berry. A raspberry. The photos are black and white but I still look dark. Maybe it's dark red, but I don't think so. Anyway, since I've grown up to be a big person, it's all gone horribly wrong. They say that if you're carrying a bit of extra weight a tan looks better, so every year I embrace the few rays that we get and throw myself out in the back garden or the beach. And every year the whole process gets worse.

There have been times on the beach where strangers have approached my friends to warn them of the sleeping, snoring, recumbent mess that is me, who is now turning into the closest thing to a lobster they have ever seen. Once, I fell asleep with my hands on my thighs and ended up with bright red thighs with white hand-marks on them. Just as well my days of hot pants are well and truly over.

Back in my late teens, I used to plaster myself in butter (much to my mother's chagrin) and lie in the back garden and turn brown. Now I can put on factor 15 and still turn red, and the red does not turn brown. When I go out again, the red deepens. To a frightening shade of puce. I know your skin tone changes as you age but I see women who are older than me with lovely deep tans.

I gave up wearing a bikini a long time ago. For various reasons. Not least to protect the sensibilities of neighbours and beach-goers. But also because I used to end up with red stripes where the sun didn't hit the little ridges of blubber.So, when I straigtened up, I looked like somebody up for the match supporting my local county. Red and white. I suppose I deserved what I was basking for.

Sunday Independent

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