It’s been cold lately here in the north. I’ve been wrapping up in fleece and mittens to go outside for the mail, but my heart yearns for the warmth of the sun, sandals on my feet and cool cotton.
The sun has been coming through our patio doors the last few weeks and I’ve taken to sitting in front of them to dry my hair. I love to soak up the light and imagine that it isn’t quite so cold.
So, it wasn’t much of a surprise that I caught myself wondering if one can tan from a winter sun. Is it strong enough? Heaven knows that all of the moisturizer ads during the winter warn about the damaging effects of UV rays from winter sun, and we all know that any form of tanning is unhealthy and potentially cancer causing. Still, I worry that my legs are just too pale.
I sat for five minutes or so in the light streaming in through my patio doors. I turned my legs this way and that and watched them critically – obviously nothing was going to happen in 5 minutes even if it were the dead of summer let alone March, but I looked on anyway.
I’ve never tanned well. My mother can go all nice and golden and yet I’ve always gone a bit sickly yellow. I also freckle badly on my arms, and my legs always seem to be pale no matter how long I’ve been outside.
I then pondered, not for the first Spring, if I should invest in a tanning lotion. I have thought about buying those mositurizers that add a “touch of sun” but I’ve always been too scared to try. I worry that I’ll go orange (because of that one girl in high school that we all know of who tried it and went neon for a week), or streaky. I worry that it’ll be a horrible shade or that the cream will cause some unknown health problem.
With all these worries, I inevitably sigh and resign myself to whatever sun I can get running errands, taking walks, and messing about with my garden. It’s not that I truly want to be tan or that I think that tan is pretty. What I worry about is how others will view my pasty pale legs come shorts weather. Will I offend their eyes with my horribly white legs when we all know they should be tan?
Should I worry about what others think? Of course not. And perhaps in the end, that’s why I’ve yet to succumb to the many “remedies” out there for untanned skin and still wear my shorts in spite of it all.