OMIGOD! I'm As Black As You!

Let today be my final lesson in "Do not go out in the sun without sunblock on. Ever."

When I'm at home in Los Angeles, I apply sunblock religiously every morning, rain or shine. However, because the sun doesn't feel as strong here in the Midwest, I've really been slacking over the past five weeks.

I went to the beach today with my sister, and I forgot to have someone apply some SPF 45 to my back. Thanks to my lack of vigilance, I presently have some serious lobster action going on. It hurts to even lean against the back of the chair I'm sitting in, and I've already taken some Tylenol because it hurts so much.

The result of all this fun-in-the-sun without my loads of sunblock is that I now have a serious suntan. I'm not exactly psyched about this suntan, although my angst over this is not because I'm afraid of my skin getting darker. No, it's because I can be really freakin' vain and I don't want my skin to look like I'm 45 instead of 35... at least not until I am 45. Then I'll be perfectly happy to look like a smashingly hot and intelligent 45 year-old.

I have to tell you, all the information about the damaging effects of the sun is clearly going in one ear and out the other of the general population. Every beach I've been to this summer, whether in Santa Barbara, Chicago, or today's fab experience in New Buffalo, Michigan, there are dozens and dozens of folks out there frying themselves.

Don't these folks know they do not possess the "black don't crack" genes? (Or, if they do, they don't have much to speak of.) I mean, I see these burnt umber teenage girls out there in these skimpy bikinis, strutting along the edge of the shore like they're on America's Next Top Model. Don't they know that their faces are going to be looking like all hell broke loose in another twenty years?

On top of my "You're so vain" issues, I still can't help but think about the racial undertones of suntans. I used to get annoyed by white high school "friends" who'd come up to me in the summer and say, "Wow, we're the same color now, aren't we? I can't believe how dark I am! OMIGOD!!! I'm as black as you!"

Some version of that still gets said to me every single summer. And to this day, it sometimes feels like folks are "trying on" dark skin while being able to hold onto their white privilege. People go on and on about how "good" their tan or someone else's tan looks. But they'll have no black friends, not even someone who's just a light bronzed tan color. Or if they do, I'm that one black person.

Back in high school, I always kind of wished one of those super-tan white "friends" would magically find herself in the type of situation where suddenly the newly acquired "blackness" didn't fade away in the Fall along with the greenness of the maple leaves. I mean, if tans didn't fade, would people still be roasting in the sun?

These days? I still think about all that, but, in true Angeleno style, I think about wrinkles and skin cancer more.

And, speaking of Angeleno's, this time tomorrow night, this here Angeleno will be nursing my massive sunburn at home in Los Angeles! Whoo hoo!

I'm pretty much all packed except that I can't find the memory stick that I keep my fiction writing on. I saw it four days ago, haven't written all weekend, and now it's GONE. Not good! So cross your fingers for me, say a prayer that it returns and that I have a safe flight.

I'll see you tomorrow after I'm home.


Jameil said…
i need you to find that stick! "I'm as black as you!" is sooo annoying and i'm not even as light as you are. it's like really jerk? i never had the thought that tans shouldn't fade to give them a taste but i like it! hilarious! love that neutrogena stuff you have a pic of up there! it feels great when you put it on in the hot sun!
Anonymous said…
I am enjoying a Vosges Haut Chocolat Barcelona bar as I'm typing this. When it melts and the grey sea salt hits the roof of your mouth I swear I see stars!'s that good! Yes it's after 3am but that's ok. If it makes you feel any better you kinda gave yourself a natural chemical peel. Also you have to apply sunblock 3-5 times per day so you may have still burned.
thailandchani said…
I always found that custom rather odd, too... "sunbathing" to get darker skin.
Ian Lidster said…
Hon', you'll look glorious at 45 and 55 and so on. It's all in the genes, so you can't do a damn thing about it. May you have a wonderful trip home.
Anonymous said…
Liz, I never understood the urge to get tanned, and I never had the patience to lie on a beach all day. Now with all the skin cancer anxiety, I'm even more baffled as to why people lie on the sand inviting trouble. As for those who think it's kind of cool to look like de black folks, how crass can you get?

How your memory stick turns up and all that valuable writing doesn't disappear. I hope at least some of it's backed up somewhere!
Mamita Umita said…
Ok, how ironic is it that you are going back to LA on a day when a major earthquake happens?! See, you all need to move back to the Chi.
Anonymous said…
Sending "find the memory stick" vibes your way.

Its strange how back in the day a white woman's social status had to do with staying out of the sun and keeping her skin as white as she could, since tanned skin meant you were poor and worked on a farm.

Now its the complete opposite. The darker your white skin is, the more time and money you must have to lay on the beach or go to a tanning salon.

So Stupid, and EW who wants to look like 60 year old prune?
Anonymous said…
People have a hard time looking ahead - it'snot just that they'll look much older than necessary, it's that they're risking melanoma. I was never a big tanner, but watching a friend die with melanoma altered my behavior forever. Now when I forget sunblock, I'm kicking myself.

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