I've been a bad, bad girl. Against my better judgment. In the face of conventional wisdom. With the blindess of self-absorbed youth and its accompanying denial of mortality.
And I don't care.
Today's What Is Sexy bits (W.I.S.B.s):
Tanned skin is sexy.
Specifically, my skin, tanned, makes me feel sexy. Gasp! I know. I should be full of shame. I feel a *little* dirty - literally, as my skin is peeling and the small flaking bits are in excess of my normal shed rate.
Updated - From Tony Carillo's F Minus.
My paleness was not in question. Years since my last beach vacation, I prepared my skin carefully to avoid burn shock. Occasional 30-minute exposures in the late afternoon Atlanta sun delivered - don't cringe! - tan lines. Weak ones, but present. Not a lot of colah gained, but a light base that took me out of the vampire league.
I earned the peel innocently enough. Seventy-five minutes of pool play in the St. George Island sun with two 3-year olds, a 14-month old, and their mommies. The plan was an hour of weak sunning from the overcast, mid-afternoon sky.
There were warning signs that I patently ignored. The mommies had sunglasses on. The mommies were wearing rash guards with 8000 SPF. The urchins had hats on and had their 3000 SPF sunscreen re-applied. Twice. But my splash frolicking was insouciantly careless of such measures.
Realizing more exposure than desired as I showered before dinner, a liberal application of aloe cooled the heat. But the colah kept coming. Simmering for hours as it darkened on my arms, shoulders, chest, and back, all exposed to the sun's passionate heat while my lower half was protected in the forgiveness of chlorinated water.
Alas, it wasn't a crisping. It should have been. Had the burns of my Cocoa Beach youth been invoked - eyes puffy, lips swollen, chills, bright pink flesh in sharp relief against white ghost skin safely unscathed - I'd have likely banished my body into the sheltering confines of shade and denied the sun any further purchase on my person.
But I'd been bitten. My dalliance with the sun continued. Skin was pruned smooth for better receiving. Chastened by the burn, prophylactic sunscreen was applied. Carefully. Slowly. With attention to detail. Massaged until absorption. Applied whilst nekkid for thorough, complete canvassing without the distraction of sand as a chafing exfoliant. Beach housemates took pity on the hard to reach back bits. These cautionary ministrations not well disguised as the ritualistic ablutions for guilty pleasure.
The beach mates weren't seduced. They fished, played with urchins, and built sand castles while fiercely armored against the sun's advancing assault. They rested under the 10 x 20 shade tent erected for the week, a safe distance from the tide.
Away from the tent, my toted chair was firmly planted in full view of my lover's gaze. Its pregnant heat laid a blanket warmly on my skin, lulling me into sluggish languor. Bikini top unhaltered to better accommodate my lover's mark. Awkwardly turned onto my stomach for even attention, trying not to flash my beach mates. The day's heat had found them too, even under the tent, and their nodding heads implied my modesty was intact.
Snoozing. Waking partially to the sounds of play. Sweat in thick evidence between chest and towel. Securing my top, I stood, lightheaded, and moseyed into the clear Gulf water to renew and refresh. Traipsed past minnows and through dense small shell beds chopped by the surf. Dipped under into a blue green embrace of liquid as warm as the air.
Afternoon's advance and cold Sweetwater refreshment at hand. Doh! as we realize they aren't twist offs, I'm off to the happy gaggle of beach goers just west of us on the sand for the kind borrow of an opener. One of the gagglers was a cautionary tale against my pleasure, her skin leathered and wizened far beyond her years. But nothing could stop my sungasm that day.
The beach now a happy memory, I've no assurances that my rediscovered bad habit will be sustained. But I'm not going to apologize for enjoying it. It felt too damn good.
Scott Adam's 4th of July post on Sunshine is apt - excerpt here:
This is the time of year I have to make difficult choices about my sun exposure. I figure I have three choices.
1. Enjoy an attractive and natural tan until my face begins to resemble Honus Wagner’s baseball glove. Then die from skin cancer.
2. Avoid the sun and look like a cross between uncooked tofu and whoever is attacking Harry Potter lately. Live a long life shunned by the sighted.
3. Apply an artificial tanning lotion and look like I got gang raped by giant carrots who watch too many Peter North movies.