Tanning My Own Ass

Every time I decide to take a vacation, or do something else fun, there’s a little part of my brain (probably the same part that makes my eyebrows itchy when I haven’t tweezed them for a day, and convinces me I’m dying every time I get a headache) that pipes up and says, "You know, I bet I could ruin this exciting/important event, purely by making myself look like a total freaking idiot. I think I will use fake tan to do it."

So it is that I’ve gone through almost all of the important days in my life with bright orange feet and a bit of a strange smell about me – you know, like the kind of smell you get from FAKE TAN.

Now, before I go any further down this road (this road that you can already see the end of, dear reader, can’t you?), I just want to pre-empt some of the comments I always get when I write about my fake tanning exploits, by saying that yes, I KNOW. I know fake tan makes you look orange. I know it often goes streaky. I know it has that strange, slightly mouldy smell, and leaves a Turin Shroud style outline of your body on the bedsheets. And yes, I know there’s nothing wrong with pale skin. I actually like pale skin. It is very lovely. I know all of these things.


The thing is, my skin isn’t so much "white" as it’s "mottled grey". Seriously, if you ever happened to be lost on a dark night, you could use my bare legs to light your way home, no problem. Think Renee Zellweger, only with a greyish tinge. That’s me. So, while I’m happy to embrace my paleness for fifty weeks of the year (and let’s face it, with the weather we get here, the only parts of my skin that are exposed most of the time are my face and hands, and sometimes not even them. See ‘Scotland, and how it sucks‘ from earlier this week for reference), on the very rare occasions when my legs are revealed by shorts or bikinis, I do like them to have a bit of colour to them. Just a bit, mind. I use self-tan moisturiser and aim for the "sun-kissed glow" promised on the bottle rather than the full-on "Footballer’s Wife Orange" that so many seem to favour.  I just want to take the edge of the greyness, ya know? IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?

Apparently so. As the years have passed, I’ve tried just about every brand of fake tan on the market. Some have worked out, some… haven’t. Actually, let’s be honest: most haven’t. And yet, still I persist with this fool’s mission. You could call this the triumph of hope over reason, but let’s face it, you could also call it, "complete and utter stupidity", because that’s basically what it is.

You can see where I’m going with this story, can’t you?

Well, on Tuesday I decided to kick off the annual fake tan fiasco, so that I’d be all orange and streaky in time for my holiday. I picked Tuesday so that when the first application went horribly patchy, as I knew it would, I would still have time to apply further layers to even things out. No, that really DOESN’T sound like it would work, does it? Yeah, that’s because it doesn’t. Don’t try it at home, kids.

Obviously, the first application didn’t work out so good. In fact, I woke up on Wednesday looking like a jigsaw puzzle. So, naturally, I slapped some more of the stuff on. And now I kinda wish I’d just slapped myself instead, because that second layer of fake tan? Yeah, not so good.

This left me in an awkward position. (No, really: I had to stand around naked with my arms in the air for ages waiting for it to dry.) With only a few short days to go before I need to expose my mottled grey flesh to the world, I had somehow managed to acquire the Worst Tan in the History of the World Ever.

Well, I tried everything to get that tan off. I tried lemon juice. I tried hydrogen peroxide. I tried good old soap and water. (I didn’t try baking soda or the special fake tan remover you can get because we don’t OWN any baking soda, and the fake tan remover didn’t work the last time, so I wouldn’t really expect it to work this time, either). I tried getting down on my knees and praying. Finally, I tried the one thing I know works to at least some extent (and which I totally don’t recommend you ever try yourself because I don’t want you suing me when it all goes horribly wrong): nail polish remover. Yes, nail polish remover. It will generally take off the worst bits of a fake tan disaster, but like I said, I don’t recommend it, and it can only do so much – as it did in this case.

Then I said "Screw this," got out the fake tan bottle and slapped on some more.

No, I don’t know how it is I got to be this clever either. All I can say is that the early signs seem to be positive. If it doesn’t work out this time, I’m going to give up and hope it fades before Monday. And I would like to say that I’ve learned my lesson from this experience, but that would be a lie, so instead I will say, "Tune in next year for the next thrilling installement of ‘When Will Amber Learn That Fake Tan & Utter Stupidity Don’t Mix?’"

Um, anyone got any other fake tan removal tips? You know, just in case….