A Healthy Tan?

vintage ad Johnsons baby Oil

Once upon a time, a deep dark tan was the gold standard of a successful summer run.

When it came to getting a gold medal for the best bronze I was always a winner.

In full disclosure, I am still one of those throwbacks who still sports a tan no matter how out of fashion it may be.

I came from a generation where backyard grilling meant more than barbecuing a steak. The suburbs were always sizzling with teenagers char broiling in their yards in an attempt to achieve a golden California tan.

Lavishly slathering on some oily accelerant like baby oil, skillfully maneuvering a silver metallic reflector to help make those long summer rays burn deep, I would marinate all day in baby oil, expertly turning and flipping for even browning. With skills that eluded me in home ec classes, I would slow roast all day only going inside once I was grilled to a turn in my itsy bitsy teeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini.

 

Collage tanning on burgers

So it was with some hesitation that I decided it was time for this burnished body get a to a once-over by a dermatologist for any possible skin cancer. I was the mature and healthy thing to do.

Given the fact that in 6o some years I had never been looked at by a dermatologist, I had resigned myself she was bound to find something suspicious and I’d have a biopsy. Or two. Or more. Friends I had spoken to said they almost routinely get some kind of biopsy taken at an appointment like this.

I walked into the office rather sheepishly since I am currently sporting an end of summer  deep dark tan. It felt like going to an AA meeting drunk. Her walls were decorated with posters and prints from the American Cancer Society saying things like “Having a tan was natures way of saying you have skin cancer” etc.

Eyes downcast, I prepared myself to be admonished.

Well, you could have knocked me over with a tube of Bain de Solie when she said everything was normal and there was nothing disturbing. I was fine. Relieved, of course, I credit my good fortune to my long line of good sun worshiping genes. Both grandmothers loved the beach, spent their final years living there and I am sure my great grandparents were out sunning in Minsk when they weren’t being chased by the Russian Cossacks.

As a disclaimer, this is not an endorsement for freewheeling tanning. Skin cancer is serious and one must take precautions. My days of baby oil are long gone, a good sunscreen has taken its place. But nothing takes the place of a day in the sun. Or a healthy tan at the end of a good summer.

Copyright (©) 2018 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved

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