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My tan means I'm not taken seriously

Brendan O'Connor


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Brendan O'Connor. Photo: Andres Poveda

Brendan O'Connor. Photo: Andres Poveda

Serious tan

Serious tan

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Brendan O'Connor. Photo: Andres Poveda

Monday: I'm not sure I've got an appropriate look for the pandemic. First there's the tan. I have a pretty serious tan at this stage. Not totally deliberate, it has to be said. It is my cross to bear that I take a tan easily. It's my dark West Cork blood. While I conduct a certain amount of my business in the back garden, I generally wear a straw hat. But the running cannot be conducted in a straw hat. Neither, as I have discovered, can it be conducted with sun-cream on the face, most of which will end up pooled in your eyes. So I find myself with this very visible tan, which can't be covered by clothes or even a face-mask.

Any other time it might look good. But I can sense when people mention it now that they think it's vaguely inappropriate. A tan suggests a certain idleness, like I'm treating all this as some kind of a holiday. It suggests also, at this time, that I am a less-than-serious person, and that I don't care about all the awful things going on around us. People with a tan just tend to look more insouciant. So you get a lot of passive aggressive tan-shaming. I'll be honest: I even judge other people with tans at this stage.

The tan on its own you might get away with. But then you add the shaved head - and not, I should add, an elfin head - and now all I'm missing is a few tattoos and I could be a Millwall fan just back from two weeks on the beer in Benidorm.