Bond: Tanning a dark addiction

By Lexie Bond

At the beginning of last semester, I terminated my nearly two-year-long contract at a local… At the beginning of last semester, I terminated my nearly two-year-long contract at a local tanning salon. No, I didn’t have a huge epiphany about the negative health consequences of fake baking; nor did I finally become bothered about how hypocritical it is for a health blogger to tan. Instead, I was just looking to cut back on the expensive habit so I’d have more money to spend on Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts and top-shelf gin — the breakfast of champions.

Now it’s hard for me to believe that for nearly two years, I lathered up in Black Storm tanning lotion, applied a Playboy bunny sticker classily above my bikini area and patiently stood in an ultraviolet light-lined vertical coffin for 11 minutes.

Despite the fact that I once mixed up the gas and break pedals while driving, in addition to often forgetting to take my weekly shower, I generally like to consider myself an intelligent individual. I mean, if I can memorize and master Nicki Minaj’s rap solos in “Monster” and “Bottoms Up,” I’ve got to be somewhat smart. So why was I willing to commit $60 and many hours per month to something so sure to cause me to become a dried up golden raisin well before I needed to?

I’ll admit it’s not the most nonsensical thing I’ve done. No, that award is tied between the time I chose to search “people using neti pots” on YouTube and the countless hours I wasted playing Mahjong on my new laptop over winter break.

Back to the point — if you’ve ever seen me, you probably would have never guessed that I tanned. Only a few shades darker than a polar bear, I only ever tanned to achieve the color of a normal person.

When I ended what could be considered an abusive relationship with the tanning bed, I expected to enjoy the extra money and the extra free time. Instead, I mostly enjoyed looking at old pictures of myself from when I was at my bronzed prime.

Some people pull off the pale ’n’ pastey look really well. Kate Winslet, Gwen Stefani, Nicole Kidman, Martha Washington —  some girlfriends look banging in their Snow White glory. But me? There was just something about tanning that made me feel better-looking in my size XXL granny panties.

After I quit, I stopped working out as much and didn’t care about eating as healthy. Without my usual color, I couldn’t find myself attractive, so I let myself go.

Realizing this, I had to wonder if maybe there was such a thing as a tanning addiction and if I was experiencing some sort of withdrawal symptoms.

According to The New York Times, there is now considerable scientific support that exposure to UV radiation has addictive potential.

The Skin Cancer Foundation Journal, Dr. Robin L. Hornung and Solmaz Poorsattar of the University of Washington in Seattle reported that the “continued purposeful exposure to a known cancer-causing agent suggests that factors besides lack of knowledge are driving individuals to tan.”

Since I recently came into some money, my urge to once again pick up my bad habit was strong. So I did what any normal girl would do and purchased expensive French foundation that matches my current “Night of the Living Dead” skin tone. I figured tanning after that splurge would just seem far too wasteful to justify.

More important than the purchase itself were the comments I received while in the cosmetics shop. The employee that picked out the foundation shade for me said how beautiful my complexion was. And the cashier that rang up my makeup told me that the foundation looked so good on me that I was glowing. Hey, maybe I can pull off the pale look after all.

I ultimately decided that tanning is a vain and unhealthy addiction that I needed to break. In addition, I also wasn’t willing to give up the extra time and money that I had gotten so accustomed to. Because I no longer tan, I now have time to watch “Titanic” five times per week instead of four. I also am saving up to get the entire lyrics to Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” tattooed on my back. Just kidding. Maybe.

If you want to mix my milk with your cocoa puffs, send an e-mail to [email protected]

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