spray tanning, by marge.

OK…I’ve just gotten my kids settled down for a movie, instead of succumbing to one of my recent addictions such as playing Words With Friends, or having to put on a panty liner in order to continue reading 50 Shades of Grey, I’m going to attempt to squeeze in a post.  I’m so responsible! What amazing self-discipline!  I cannot wait to blog a book review on that porny little gem.  Oh my, am I right ladies?

Anyway, last year I decided it was time to start actually taking care of my skin.  I love being in the sun and have long suffered with the disease, Tanorexia.  Contrary to popular belief, excessive sun really does prematurely age the skin.   I have had a chemical peel and 2 laser peels and suffered through that business to erase some of the damage, but now I am told I need to maintain it.  I will never be that pale white woman sporting long sleeves and enormous hats hiding out under trees and umbrellas like some sort of troglodyte.  I love being in the sun, gardening, cutting my grass, golfing, the beach…all of it.  The sunshine makes me happy, it’s that simple.  So I needed an alternative, some sort of happy medium.

So after doing some research, I learned that spray tan’s done by a real live human being with an airbrush were really the way to go.  I decided to give it a shot, it was the perfect solution.  Get a nice glow, slather on the 50 and still enjoy the sun without looking like I lived in a cave.   With a few clicks of the mouse, I found my solution,  “Spray Tanning by Marge”.

My only experience with this sort of thing, outside of sunless tanners was the one time I got a spray tan in a booth.  Oh dear god.  I was an orange, streaky, uneven hot mess.  The worst part is that you’re stuck with it, you just have to wait for it to wear off.  Needless to say I was slightly apprehensive on my drive for my first appointment.

The drive was much farther than I bargained for, about 30 miles North to bum fuck Pennsylvania.  But it was such a great deal!  $35!  I arrived at a dingy single family home, it looked like a rectangle with maroon shutters.  “whatever” I thought.  I rung the doorbell and heard a symphony of dogs barking.  I knew I was in for a treat, but I had no idea how much of a treat until Marge answered the door.

She stood a chunky 5’6, brown bowlish Haircuttery haircut, sporting rather tight corduroys that incidentally matched her shutters and a tee-shirt with an interesting arrangement of wolves on it that read “Colorado” in a scripty font.  The teeny tiny dogs amassed me and she scooted them away and gestured towards the stairway to the basement.

All I could think was silence of the lambs.  As I descended the stairs to the basement aka tanning salon, I was not sure if I was fully able to hide the look of awe and wonderment on my face.  It was a rather small space, about 18×12 feet.  Think early 1970’s.  Mustard shit colored shag carpet, her desk with 1990’s Dell computer, a few pieces of dusty old exercise equipment, and one lonely disgusting chair.  It was orange, brown and mustard yellow checked heavy burlap fabric glider thingy with skirting around the bottom and early american wood sides.  It had what looked like a mismatched cushion/cat bed on it and was covered in animal hair.  She gestured gracefully to have a seat.  The strangest item of all in this wood-paneled museum was the enormous bird perch right in the middle of the room, with no bird in sight.  It was fascinating.

She wrote down all of my information (emergency contact and such) then opened a door to “The Tanning Studio” (the computer printed sign read.) Clearly this was a closet, one which used to hold a washer and dryer.  I was told to remove all my clothes with the exception of my underwear and place them in the basket (Silence of the Lambs).  She exited and I did as I was told.  Standing naked and freezing in front of a full length mirror in this crazy closet I thought to myself, what the fuck.

Marge asked if I was ready and came back in.  I would have sworn she was gay but she wore a wedding ring and spoke of her husband and children.  She also talked a lot about The Cosby Show, it was her favorite, it was so funny and she recapped a few of her faves. What a treat!  She then told me nonchalantly to lift my breasts and she sprayed me with the eerie precision of an auto detailer, all the while recalling her favorite episodes as if we were just two old pals chatting over a cup of joe.

Marge had me turn around a few times, double checking her work to make sure it was up to snuff then escorted me to the “drying area” aka 4 steps to the side with 3 table fans nailed to the wall.  Once dried and dressed, I was escorted back up, through the dogs and cats and said my farewell to Marge.  I was warned not to get wet or shower for 8 hours!

Of course it was raining.  I darted to my car and began winding my way back towards the highway.

I was driving down what mast have been the main street in town, peppered with a few strip malls, Cracker Barrels and gas stations.  It was gray and drizzling, not a person to be seen, it felt like a ghost town.  Then, I saw a few boys on the side of the road waving signs in the rain that read “Car Wash” and “Fried Chicken” in attempts to direct the nonexistent traffic to the upcoming strip mall parking lot.  Poor kids and their broken dreams. Then, just when I thought my day couldn’t get any stranger/better/more bizarre I slowed to about 3 mph in utter disbelief as I gazed at the main attraction to this lonely parking lot fundraiser…a cop perched above a dunk tank.  It was as if I had followed a crazy ass rainbow and happened upon the pot of gold.

Now I had a true dilemma on my hands.  Cop, dunk tank, spray tan, rain.

I really wish I could tell you that I whipped it in there on two wheels, followed by tales of fried chicken and cop dunking, believe me I had already written the story in my head.  But I can’t.  I had fucked up a spray tan before and I had to keep my eye on the prize.  Sure it would have been amazing to let that story play out, but then I would have had to walk around thoroughly streaked for 2 weeks.  No thank you.  So I passed the dunk tank with the same angst that an alcoholic passes a liquor store (me also).

I pulled in to Panera Bread and darted in to grab a Chicken Panini.  I was starving.  I was gobbling down my sandwich, driving down the highway reflecting on the mornings events.  I was laughing out loud and talking to myself and cracking jokes like a lunatic while inhaling my Panini.  My tan was going to look sweet!

But what I hadn’t bargained for was how this story would play out.  While I had been busy applauding my own self discipline and shoveling Panini in my mouth, the grease had streaked down my hands, all the way to my elbows.  I didn’t realize this until after I had stayed dry for my assigned 8 hours (looking like Magda from Something About Mary by the end of the duration) until I took my shower and dried off.  My right arm looked as if I had held a lit a candle, about the size of a Panini, for 8 hours and let the wax drip down the length of my forearm.

Remember those melted drip masterpieces we used to make in wine bottles?

Every time I looked at my arm for the next 2 weeks, I thought to myself, “fucking cops.”

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