Posts Tagged ‘tanning beds’

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My skin is not, and never has been, built for a tan. At best I freckle. At worst I burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.

That’s not to say I’ve never been tanning. When I was in high school (in Utah in the early 2000s) I had a friend who was a metrosexual before any of us knew what metrosexuals were. He would regularly go to Bahama Bronze on Harrison Boulevard after school and drag us with him. (Further proof that without productive and educational after-school activities, America’s children will fall into bad habits).

Tanning beds are the worst. Putting aside the fact that studies suggest they’re as cancerous as cigarettes, they’re sweaty, uncomfortable and more than a little bizarre. I’d hand over my money, cook in a glass oven for 20 minutes, and then have a weird pinkish hue and itchy dry skin for a few days before returning to my natural, Irish white.

But I confess that from time to time I long for the chiseled abs and flawless tanned skin of the men in the magazines. It’s hard out there for us guys. We’re so objectified by modern society.

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50 Shades/50 shades darker

So for October’s adventure, and just in time for my upcoming cruise to the Bahamas (Boo-Yah!), I decided to get a spray tan and invite along my friend Neil.

Neil and I met in a former life when we were both somewhat-begrudgingly working as missionaries in northeastern Brazil. We’re both highly-opinionated, vocally argumentative people, and most of our time together is spent arguing the merits of capitalism versus socialism and libertarianism vs progressivism.

FullSizeRender(2)He’s OK.

We checked in for our appointment at European Tan, where a nice young lady immediately went about describing how our lives would be changed by the VersaSpa Skin Care System, the “most technologically advanced spray bed” in the world.

She chatted with us about the three different levels of tan available to us, and assured us that it was impossible when using the VersaSpa Skin Care System to come out with an unnatural skin tone because the spray was made up of an aloe vera-based mixed with snake oil.

Once in the room, she gave us a demonstration of how we should stand, walking through the four positions that lead to optimum color.

IMG_3555The spray itself was surprisingly chilly, making a series of passes over your body similar to a car wash. After each set of sprays, a computerized voice would remind you to move to the next position and after all was sprayed and done a “dry cycle” started, passing a fan over your body.

Properly pampered. Neil and I headed next door to The Kathmandu to conduct our interview over some Lamb Vindaloo and Naan.

Wood Stock: Who are you and what do you do?

Neil Schiffman: My name is Niel Shiffman and I help set up retirement accounts, usually for teachers but for anybody.

WS: Have you ever had a spray tan before?

NS: Never.

WS: What did you think of the experience?

NS: I thought it was wonderful. If this could keep me from getting sun burned in the summer I’m so in. They have sold me forever. You stand there, you get sprayed down. There was no experience like Ross from Friends.

ross-tanWS: That’s exactly what was going through my mind.

NS: I had to look that up when you said we were doing this. I looked that up and thought “I do not want eight 2s.”

WS: Walk me through the experience, paint me a word picture.

FullSizeRenderNS: You come in, there’s a lovely young lady standing behind a salon desk in front of 8,000 bottles of different colored lotion that say things like “sexy,” and “irresistible” and “tremendous.” They ask you if you’ve ever tanned before, make sure you get the right tan for your skin tone. They ask you why you’re tanning, lucky Ben here is going on a cruise.

WS: That’s right.

NS: I will be staying in delightful Utah in October.

WS: And you’ll definitely need a tan for that.

NS: Yes, that will be tan-worthy. When it’s your turn they take you into a booth. They explain how you’re supposed to stand. Little Egyptian poses to make sure you get your underarms and the sides of your torso. You walk in and the booth says “stand in position 1” and you stand there, nervous as can be. Is this going to sting? Is this going to be cold? Is it going to be hot? What’s going to happen? Do I close my eyes? I had better close my eyes.

FullSizeRender(3)WS: Yeah I closed my eyes. I didn’t need tan eyes.

NS: You gotta stand with your hands away for the Egyptian pose so you don’t get the bottom of your hands. Oh that’s the one thing I forgot. There’s lotion if you don’t want a body part covered with spray tan to block the spray tan.

WS: Where did you put that?

IMG_3558NS: I chose my palms and bottoms of my fingers and the bottoms of my feet. And I went totally naked.

WS: Oh yeah. You have to.

NS: If they were going to spray me down (manually), I came prepared.

WS: Even if. Bring it on.

NS: I suppose that is always an option.

WS: Was there anything that surprised you?

NS: It was quicker than I expected. I think that I was not expecting the machine or whatever they call it to dry me off, which I thought was nice. It smells better than I expected.

WS: Yeah it kind of has a chocolate-y smell right?

NS: It’s a nice smell. Definitely chocolate. It’s sweet, not quite exotic but just, it’s pleasant.

WS: Obviously we won’t know exactly how it went until tomorrow. Are you worried at all about your tone?

NS: So far I feel darker. It could just be a little placebo effect going on but I feel darker.

IMG_3559WS: So you are a father, correct?

NS: I am a father of two.

WS: For how long now have you been a father?

NS: Two and a half years. I have a two and half year old and a 3-month old. Almost 3 months.

WS: Were you ready to be a dad? Were you prepared?

NS: I was prepared in more ways than I expected and less ways than I expected at the exact same time. It seems like a cop-out answer but like, changing a diaper? Rock and roll. I don’t care. Peed on, pooped on, puked on, that didn’t scare or bother me in the least.

WS: I have a really hard time with that.

NS: Crying babies, no big deal. I was dumb and thought I was smarter than the car seat so I waited until after the baby was born to install that sucker. I didn’t do it right for like 6 months so my baby was riding in the car for 6 months in a very precarious situation. You’d be driving down the road and the baby would just be tipped over because you went around a curve. That’s not going to work.

WS: What is something surprising about becoming a parent?

NS: The surprising thing for me is how much I enjoy it. I didn’t think it would be that cool and for the first couple of months I was proven right. It was not that cool. They just sit there. My wife breastfed, for the most part, so I didn’t get to participate in any feeding. They just hung out and were boring to me and I kept thinking when is this going to be cool? At about 6 months it was “Holy cow that baby smiles at me and laughs when I make a face.” That’s when it got really cool for me because before that I was totally not in.

WS: So it really is cool? That’s not just a communal lie to perpetuate the species?

NS: No, but it does take a while. For my wife she was all in when they put that newborn baby on her chest. I was just like “that is an ugly baby.”

WS: Brand newborns are a little crazy to look at.

NS: My kid’s face was good, he didn’t have a messed up face but he was the longest baby that they said they had ever delivered. He was 24 inches long.

WS: So, a nice prized trout?

NS: Oh yeah, he was rather large. So his head was kind of squished like the alien on Aliens. Big huge monster thing coming out the back. That was kind of gross but his face was good.

WS: Is it easier the second time around?

NS: Totally. Totally easier the second time around. You know what to expect at the hospital. You have everything ready to go. You got diaper changing down. One baby wipe takes care of the most massive poop with the expert hands of a second-time father. You are prepared to not sleep. You are prepared to anticipate what the kids wants and what they need.

WS: To what degree are you cognizant that these children will grow to be obnoxious teenagers?

NS: Totally, totally cognizant. He has started getting an opinion on what he wants and has started punching my arm to get my attention. That could be because I’m a bad dad. It’s not hard, he’s not doing it maliciously, just “hey dude, I want to play ball now. I want to watch a movie.” He’s definitely figuring out what he wants and he knows how to get it.

I was not expecting him to show preferences to movies already, which is nice because he mostly prefers Pixar. There’s not a bad Pixar out there.

WS: Yeah, there’s lukewarm Pixar but there’s not bad Pixar. But there are some bad cartoons out there.

NS: Yeah and maybe that’s part of the blessing of our modern life. We have access to Netflix and the movies so we don’t ever watch TV. He doesn’t know what’s out there except what I expose him to. So we only watch the movies, really, that I want to watch.

WS: What would be the one bit of advice you would give to an expectant father?

NS: There was a concern by a certain someone that perhaps God gets bored being God. Because you just do the same stinking thing every day for forever. Regardless of who that God is to you, that would get boring after a while.

The advice that I have for expectant fathers is that it doesn’t get old. I learned this on child 2 because child 1 it was like every day I’m watching him do something new. Now I’m watching kid 2 go through that same experience and my daughter is just starting to smile, it like makes me cry. It’s so dang cool to watch her learn how to smile, learn how to use her body. She’s starting to suck on her thumbs and stuff and holy cow, it’s so cool that I get to watch her doing that because I saw that two year’s ago with my first son.

Now, whether or not I want to do that again as a mortal man remains to be seen and that really will be my wife’s decision.

IMG_3557WS: Would you recommend a spray tan to someone?

NS: Yes. If it works.

WS: Right, with the asterisk that we’re not orange in the morning.

NS: If tomorrow, one of two things, I don’t look like a carrot and I’m a shade darker than I was today then this is the greatest invention ever made for skin beautification.

WS: Anything you need to promote?

NS: Fatherhood is cool.

WS: Are you on Twitter?

NS: I am. @chiqueman

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