This could have been a very short piece. I don’t get the point of tanning, I really don’t. Be it the fake version or the real thing, I just don’t understand why people want to barbecue themselves on the beach or cover themselves in fake tan. My natural pale skin is just fine by me; that’s how I was born and that’s how I’ll stay. But many Brits and other equally pale people seem to hate their own skin colour. It’s so odd.
Living in the Mediterranean, I see countless Brits who’ve clearly been making the most of their short time in the sun. There should be a new shade on the paint charts called ‘Barbecue Brit.’ It’s an unpleasant shade of deep pink that the British skin was never meant to be. I, on the other hand, lurk in the shade, wear a hat, and cover myself in Factor 30 on the rare occasions I’m out in the direct sun (which is never for very long). This is perhaps why I can pass for younger than my real age. Smug? Of course. Who wants to look old and wrinkly before their time? Plenty of people, it seems.
The funny thing is that until Coco Chanel popularised a tan in the Twenties, having a tan was seen as absolutely undesirable. Historically, it showed that you belonged to the lower classes and had to work in the fields. A lady would rather die than have tanned skin. Now people risk dying for a tan. We’ve gone to the opposite extreme in less than a century. Like smoking, the dangers of too much sunbathing have been known for a long time – yet people still take chances with their health. A little sun is good for you – Vitamin D and all that – but don’t overdo it.
It’s not just the risk of wrinkles that makes too much sunbathing daft. Wrinkles won’t kill you. Melanomas can. Yet people still act as though it won’t happen to them. It’s just plain idiotic. Why take the risk? If you really think your natural skin colour is that unappealing, fake it. Look like a Oompa Loompa if you want. It’s too much of a palaver for my liking, but each to their own. I like my skin colour anyway. So I’ll stick to pale, thank you. Somewhere around ‘Classic Brit’ on the paint charts.