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Spray Tan Gone Wrong: A Faux Glow Faux Pas

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The winter pallor was too much. On Saturday I got my first (maybe last) spray tan. If you are picturing Ross on Friends, well, you’re in the right zip code.
Let me start by saying that I am very low maintenance, mainly because I’m lazy … and cheap. I remind my husband CONSTANTLY of how lucky he is that I don’t spend time or money on body maintenance type activities. I mean, I work out,, but I’m talking nails, massages, spa treatments and the like.
And tans. Even though I LOVE being tan—I lay out in the sun way more than I should—and I love the glow that the dancers on Dancing With The Stars have…and how sparkly they are! For all my laziness/low maintenance style I do have a surprising affinity for body glitter and have to watch it or I will look like a tween girl at a Ke$ha concert (sparkly eye shadow and pink lip gloss? Yes please!)
Over the years, I tried the self tanners but always ended up weird and streaky and orange, no matter how carefully I tried to apply it so I gave up on the “healthy glow” (I know, I know…pale is the new tan), unless I happened to be somewhere tropical.
This weekend, though, I succumbed to the siren song of the spray tan, thanks to an enthusiastic supporter who always looks golden-licious.
You’ll love it, she promises, aghast that I am a spray tan newbie.
I arrive and am reading the “ special” flyer which says “cocktail, tanning bed + Mystic spray tan.” And I’m like “OOOO…. a fruity drink with my tan,” as I literally picture them whipping out a blender. And what a great idea, really completes the whole “laying in the sun at a resort” ambience. I come to learn that’s what they call the combo bed plus spray. A cocktail. Oh.
Turns out that going in the bed opens your pores so that the spray adheres better. So I lay down and the bed turns on and I start freaking out that I am going to burn to a crisp since I haven’t seen the sun in forever. So after a couple minutes I bail out of the bed and say I’m just ready for the spray tan.
I am led to this SHOWER type thing; freaks me the heck out…Not only a germophobe, I am pretty modest, so the whole concept of stripping down for the spray is a little uncomfortable. 
I am shown how to tuck my hair in the net shower cap thing; I do it wrong and she has to redo it. And how to put lotion on my hands and feet so they don’t absorb too much pigment. Sheesh, this is complicated!
Then I hear the description of how the sprays are going to spray up and down so you have to move around so that it gets all parts of your body. It will stop and I need to turn so my back is being sprayed, and then for the last couple sprays turn back to get more on my front. There is no doubt in my mind I am going to screw this up.
I am supposed to go in and wave my hand over the sensor. Where’s the sensor? I can’t find it. Which way does the spray come out? I am so confused. I wave and wave and wave over anything that can be a sensor. Nothing. I push a green button. Nothing. Wave, wave, wave and finally the computer voice tells me my spray tan is about to begin! Ack! So scared.
And then the color starts flying out of the sprayers, they are going up and down, I am shrieking because it surprised me. Trying to twist and turn as she told me so that I can get a nice even glow. It stops and tells me to turn around but I am not fast enough. I keep turning in circles, worrying I will end up like Ross!! I am laughing so hard I inhale the spray and start coughing. Finally it stops.
I come out and was like “Am I the worst client ever?” Yes. She’s trying to describe how to dry off, and I’ve left my clothes in the other room and I am just terribly relieved it’s over. And can’t wait to show off my beautiful glow!
That night we had dinner with friends and there is no way I am not rocking a tank top, even though it is freezing. I sit this close to the fire, and repeatedly ask my host to turn up the heat. I’m cold, but so very glowy!
Sunday morning I wake up and admire my beautiful glowing face and shoulders. I text my friend that I love my tan; I am so happy. Later I am getting ready to go running and as I glance at my legs I am like what?! What is on my legs?
From my knees to my ankles I am one big streakorama! It’s official … I always knew I couldn’t do my own nails, or my own hair and guess what? I can’t tan either.
Total tanning fail, but at the same time I am comforted as I think of all the money I will save! What if I had loved this?!


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