vanity

Make no mistake about it, I have two normal enough legs in good working order.  They do exactly what they are meant to do.  It is just that when summer rolls around I am very aware that they are not quite the colour I’d like them to be.  I have very fair skin, with freckles on face and arms, and I burn easily and tan very little.  This was a problem growing up in the Mediterranean – I was always aware I had the wrong skin colour.  And whereas there has always been a role for very white skin (“skin like cream,” suggestions in Turkish poetry of growing up in a palace), my legs aren’t really white.  You see, I’m Scottish.  My natural skin colour is a sort of cold mottled blue, and it takes me a week of sunbathing to go white.  I even tried programmes of gentle daily sunbathing as a teenager, but the best result I ever got still left me with white calves, pale fawn shins, and a very dark patch on each foot that made it look as if I hadn’t washed for a few weeks.  Now, as I’m getting older, the skin on my legs is no more tolerant of sunshine but has taken on more of a red,white and blue mottled effect.  Very patriotic, but not fashionable.

So, when I saw the supermarket had a special offer of some body lotion with a gentle tanning agent I bought some.  I’d read recommendations of this brand, and indeed my mother (who tans nicely anyway) had used some herself with good results.  I bought the one for fair skin, supposed to give a light tanned look, this developing after around 4 days use.  I used it on my legs (just once).  It developed overnight and the next day I had dark brown patches on my knees.  Avoiding my knees I applied it again.  Now I look as if I got into an argument with a bottle of foundation.  Orange-tinged foundation. 

I wonder what will come into fashion first:  orange streaked legs, or red,white and blue mottled ones?

All is vanity. . .

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1 Comment

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One response to “vanity

  1. How funny!
    Don’t know about the orange streaked legs–that has always been my fear when it comes to those tanning lotions. Orange and i are not good for each other. At least it was not your face.
    I would love to have a little tan–maybe I’ll try the sun instead.
    The house we are renting for my Father-in-law has a pool–so maybe I’ll get some exercise and some sun.

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