Friday, March 4, 2011

Tan in a Can

With out fail, every January I begin asking myself why it is I choose to live in Massachusetts. Every February I begin researching what other state I could see myself in. Every March I look for apartments on craigslist in California. At this point I am also researching "the best spray tan in Boston". It's almost offensive how white I can get with the lack of Vitamin D. With that said, this year I decided since the 10 minute bed isn't an option, I would try out all the different spray tanning options that are available. So far I have successfully completed 4 spray tans. All of these experiences have been, well, unique. It's only fair I share, so that some of you will never have to go through the same orange looking, cheese-it smelling torture.

The Booth: This is just weird. First of all you have to watch a video of a girl in a bathing suit putting on a hair net and stepping into a booth that looks similar to a stand up tanning booth. Then, you watch her do about 10 different awkward poses while being blasted with what looks like dirty water (AKA the tan). While watching the video, there is no way you can think about memorizing these poses because all you can think is, "was I supposed to bring a bathing suit?" When the video ends you are handed a towel and are told to head into the booth. With your best effort, you mimic the poses seen in the video wearing your bra and undies that inevitably are now ruined. When the spray ends you are coughing because there was no warning the booth was about to spray at your face when you took your deepest inhale. You are wondering why your are dripping so you begin to wipe down your legs, arms and face with the towel provided. You step out of the booth free-boobing it because your bra is sticky from the tan and you don't want to ruin your white shirt (another strike against you). As you pass the mirror in the hall heading toward the front desk you see out of the corner of your eye your reflection in orange. For the next 5 days you smell like cheese-its or Frittos, it's hard to distinguish. It was the worst $30 investment of my life. (Other than my 4th grade haircut from Fantastic Sams)

The Medford style spray tan: After asking a few people in school where to get a good spray tan I was told about some place in Medford. When I got there, although behind a Chinese Buffet restaurant, it looked like a nice little spa. I headed to the back where I was told to put on my hair net, take off my clothes into whatever I felt comfortable, and rub lotion on my hands and feet. I did as told and kept on, yet again, my bra and undies. The girl came in and guided me through my positions while she sprayed me. I told her off the bat I wanted a natural glow. After 8 coats of spray she told me to wait just a minute and get dressed and I would be good to go. Excited that I had a much better experience then the booth I payed and tipped with a smile on my face. When I opened the car door, my boyfriend for the first time, was speechless. I looked into the mirror and all I saw was eye balls and teeth. Scary and orange, it was not the look I was trying to achieve.

The mini-airbrush technique: I decided to try to stay local on this one. I found a spa minutes from my apartment with airbrush tan. This was amazing. When I got there I was directed into a room with a shower. Different I thought, but the shower looked nice so whatever. Again got undressed down to the bra and undies. Put on my hair net. The esthetician came in and asked me if I was going away. With rough heels and jacked up toe nails I embarrassingly said "If I were I would've opted for a pedi". She then preceded to take out a facial mini-airbrush machine. She began spraying me with precise strokes. I even asked her if she could paint me on some abs. Half way through the airbrush, I heard the machine start to stutter. She stopped calmly and tested out the machine on the wall to make sure it was working okay. I figured since she continued on painting me that the machine was working perfectly. When the spray was over she said I could wait a minute and then get dressed. I looked in the mirror and was very happy with the results on my face. It was a perfect summer glow! Unfortunately, the following day while at my core fusion class one of the ladies asked me if everything was alright at home. I smiled and said I was very happy at home. She pointed to my arm and said "if you need to talk I'm here. I've gone through the denial before too". Confused, I went to the bathroom to look at my arm. I looked like I had been badly beaten. No lie, I looked like a Leopard. I compared the other arm and my left leg and realized I had been beaten with a bad airbrush machine. Not only did I look like an animal, one of the ladies in my class thought I was in denial over domestic violence. $45 later, I was pissed.

The gradual tan: This was the last and final attempt for a tan. I walked into the salon and met with my esthetician. She told to head into the room and again take off everything and/or wear what I was comfortable in. This time I figured to save a bra and spare a panty. It was weird at first and I was bouncing around while trying to perfectly strike my cheerleader like poses. The room was freezing and I was singing Britney Spears songs in my head to get me through the service. She informed me that this tan would go on clear and gradually over the next few hours into the next day, turn into a nice even tan. When she finished the spray she told me to stand in front of a fan to ensure that it dried. With the fakest smile I could muster, I agreed to do so and I miserably froze in front of the cold fan. I quickly changed, paid and left. For the first time in 4 tans I was very pleased with my color. Like she said the tan did build and I actually had an even healthy glow. $60 later, I was a happy crispy brown.

My experiment was successful. I've done a lot of self reflection after these experiences. I am moving to California.

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