Last night, Jeff was telling me how the cost of cell phone plans has gone up. Now, they are making $99 a month with unlimited texting sound like a deal. To us, this seems outrageous. To a teenager, it is cost effective, since they are texting almost all day long.
I told Jeff that teenagers are spending all the money they earn at their part time jobs on cell phones, download for their IPods, and tanning (white kids only). Jeff said, "Did you see that girl at the hardware store? Her tan looked so fake."
When I was in high school, a tan represented wealth. When we would return to school after February or April break, it was always obvious whose family had the money to go south. While the rest of us underlings, were still ghostly white.
It seems as though not much has changed. Even with all the warnings about skin cancer and premature aging, girls and even boys now, are spending booku dollars on tanning. Tanning itself is relatively cheap, it's the lotions and potions that they sell to boost your color and make it last, that make it expensive. Some lotions go for over $75 for 8 ounces. I've read that tanning booths are physically addictive. The lights they use actually increase endorphin levels, and once you start, it's hard to stop.
One student even has a tanning bed in his house. I asked him how that happened. He said, "My mother discovered EBay a couple years ago, and things have never been the same. One day, I came home and there was a tanning bed, the next day I had a new baby brother."
I think he was kidding about the brother, but the other students vouched for the tanning bed. Where does one store a tanning bed? Does it need its own room?
I have never set foot in a tanning booth. I have used "self tanners" in the past, but they are a lot of work. You have to keep reapplying, and then you risk getting strange dark spots on any skin where you have rough patches.
Now, I wear sun block everyday, even in the winter. My skin rarely sees the light of day without protection. I have stopped wasting my money and time on self tanners.
The other day, the principal was handing out our new ID badges. The person ahead of me looked at her photo and said, "Oh, I was so tan!" The principal said, "Everyone is tan, the photos were taken the first day of school."
I said, "I won't be tan in mine, I never go in the sun."
They both looked at me in shock. The principal, who always has a tan, asked, "Why, because you are so fair?"
This question always puts me in a strange predicament, as I don't want to insult the tan person! I just said, "Skin cancer runs in my family."
I get teased a lot for my vivid whiteness. Recently, I wore some shoes without socks, and a student said, "You don't go tanning do you?"
"No," I said. "Why?"
His reply, "Your feet look like Casper."
What I have noticed is that the only people who make comments about my paleness are white people. Never has a black or Hispanic student made any comment about my lack of color (although they have made plenty of other comments about my appearance, but that's another blog). In fact, the kids of color, are constantly questioning the white students who are tanning.
They say, "Why do you do that? It doesn't look natural." or "Why don't you just sit in the sun, why do you pay to get a tan?"
I always agree with them, and am glad to have someone on my side.