Here is this week’s newspaper column. It’s scary. Brace yourselves.
This past weekend my husband and I were heading out of town all by ourselves to go to a friend’s wedding reception. My mother came to town to keep our kids and we were seriously looking forward to having a weekend getaway sans children. For a couple of weeks leading up to the party, I performed the ever famous, “Whatever Will I Wear?” monologue for my husband. I was torn between wearing something in my closet and feeling like I needed something new.
Since the first of the year I have been, very literally, working my butt off trying to lose “my baby weight.” (Yes, my “baby” is two. Shut up. I’ve been busy.) At any rate, I’ve lost a little weight in the last few weeks but I just wasn’t ready to buy new clothes. It seemed like a waste of money and I decided I would rather make-do until I get closer to my goal weight. So in lieu of a new outfit for the party, I opted for a spray tan. It’s common knowledge that brown fat is more attractive than white fat, so I figured I’d feel cuter in the same dress I’ve worn to every event for the last two years if I was slightly brown.
I’ve had spray tans before and you normally have the two following options: go to a booth where you get sprayed by a machine but leave with orange hands and feet, or get airbrushed by an actual person. But as far as I know, here in Greenwood, Miss. we don’t have spray tanning booths. No ma’am. We have people who will airbrush your body like a car needing a new paint job. Or a mini-van… or a tank… whatever, you get the idea.
So I gritted my teeth, tried not to think about it too hard and walked right in the salon like nobody was about to see me nekkid. (I will save you all an email and tell you that I know how to spell naked, but I prefer nekkid because that is how I say it. I’m very Southern, y’all.) I made small talk with my friend who owns the shop and concentrated on trying to keep my breathing slow and steady.
Then suddenly the girl called me to the back. My heart was hammering in my chest as we walked down the hallway and she said, “I love your boots. Those are so cute!”
“Yeah, thanks. You’re going to need to concentrate on how cute my boots are for the next ten minutes, ‘cause I’ll tell you what’s not cute: Me. Nekkid.”
I stripped down in the bathroom, wrapped myself in the robe they had given me and made my way to the partitioned off area of the salon that they use for new paint jobs. I hung my robe on the corner of the privacy screen and stood stock still for a humiliating ten minutes. I held my breath, closed my eyes and turned every few minutes so that I got an even coat. Finally, we were done.
I sighed with relief and reached for my robe. But before I could actually get the robe in my hands, I bumped the screen. Hard. So hard in fact, that it wobbled unsteadily for approximately half of a second, half of a second that seemed like eternity. Half of a second in which I simultaneously threw up in my mouth and my heart flatlined.
In my mind, I saw the screen crashing all the way to the ground. I saw myself trying to decide which parts to cover with my hands as all the women in the salon stopped what they were doing to stare at my nekkid, but admittedly, sun-kissed body. Brown fat is only more attractive than white fat if you don’t see it all at the same time.
The screen righted itself just as quickly as it wobbled and I almost cried out in relief. I hurriedly swathed myself in the robe while chanting, “Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!”
So my naked, fluorescent-white flesh has been burned permanently into the stylist’s memory… big deal. So what if I have nightmares about that screen actually crashing to the ground for the rest of my life? I guess that’s just the price I’ll have to pay for sun-kissed skin in the dead of winter.