Confessions of a white kid and the terror of the tanning bed

I’m a white kid. I’m not talking Rory Gilmore “peaches and cream” white. I’m talking transparent legs in the winter white. 


As a dedicated pale kid, I’ve stayed away from the tanning bed. I’ll admit, I’ve tried my fair share of sunless tanners and ended up looking like a Doritos locos taco and smelling like a bag of pretzels (scent-free Jergens natural glow, you lie).

But I’ve always stayed far from a tanning bed. Sure, sometimes I’d wear SPF 30 at band camp instead of my usual SPF 50, but I know my limits.

Earlier this week, I thought my fear of the tanning bed had subsided. Maybe I’d even give it a go, with the proper sunscreen, of course. After all, my apartment complex offers free tanning. And who am I to turn my nose up at anything that’s free 99?

Leave it to my big mouth to spoil my well-rationalized plans for a bit of bronze. As soon as I mentioned it to my fiancé, he hit me with this gem, “You’re pale. You’re going to get cancer. It’s free now, but I don’t want to pay for your cancer later. I’ll buy you a fake tan instead. It’s cheaper.”

I’m not sure if that’s love or not, but I’ll take it.

Magically, he managed to find an article recently published by USA Today about a woman said to be “too fat to tan.” 


Courtesy of

Kelly McGrevey of Norton, Ohio was turned away from a tanning salon because of her weight. At 230 pounds, the salon would only allow McGrevey to use the standing bed, which was out of order at the time. The kicker? They wouldn’t refund the money she’d already spent on a month’s worth of tanning.


Welcome back, perfectly rational fear of the tanning bed.

So, I guess I’ll remain a white kid for the time being. But if you catch a whiff of Snyder’s or Rolled Gold with no pretzels in sight, you’ll know I’ve gone back to the bottle. Of self tanner, of course. 


Courtesy of


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