Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oompa Loompa Doopity Doo, I've Got Another Puzzle For You

This may be an anonymous blog (well, anonymous from my family at least), but I will disclose one identifying detail so you can understand my latest plight.

I am pale.

Not pale like the olive-skinned girls who look in the mirror during the winter months and lament in a high pitched voice, "I'm soooo pale!" because their skin has not retained the same bronzy sheen as during the summer. No, I am pale like the gauzy hue of a piece of thin wax paper. Or the almost glowing iridescence of a full moon.

In fact, during the winter, much like a piece of wax paper, I am practically translucent.

I am a natural redhead (or at least, I once was, now it's more auburn) - but my skin has retained its natural paleness. I make Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore look like the Coppertone Girls.

So when I tried on my wedding dress (in ivory) and stood in the dressing room against the white walls, my parents, the seamstress, and I all simultaneously realized that my skin was lighter than both the dress and the walls. I was like a floating head of hair. I was the gecko bride.

Which resulted in a conundrum that I have faced before. But never on such an important day.

How do I get a tan without subjecting myself to cancerous rays of light and/or potentially orange, hand-staining artificial methods?

Now normally, I would just pop on a little Clarins self-tanning lotion (the stuff is the BEST) and end up a nice hue of bronze and accept the corresponding streaks on my hands and deliciously orange color deposits on my knees and elbows. (I chose this path last year for my brother's wedding.)

But on this day, I don't really want to risk orange streaks (or even brown ones, for that matter). I want to avoid the telltale sign of fake tanner which is pools of brown tanner next to pearly white skin. Not to mention, I'm acutely aware that there will be a ton of "hand photos" (that whole wedding ring thing and all) and I don't want to focus on my striped hands when perusing through my wedding album over the next 50 years.

So what to do?

Operation Anti-Loompa. A quest to seek color, but without streaks or orangeness.

Sort of like the "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" of the tanning world. All of the taste, but none of the bad side effects. And no Fabio.

I have been in a spray tan booth before, so I knew that while the color could be good, the streaks could be bad. This is why I thought that having someone hand spray me with the stuff (using a machine that is frighteningly like a spray paint gun) would be my best bet.

However, after standing stark naked in front of a bored spa employee who, after spraying my body with a misty substance, left me to stand in all my glory in front of three giant industrial-strength fans (in a room that was about 50 degrees to begin with), I began to doubt my decision. (Or perhaps hypothermia was setting in and my faculties were not functioning properly.)

And right I was. Though the color wasn't bad, my feet looked like I had stepped in cheez whiz and my hands looked like I had dipped them half in orange paint.

It was back to the drawing board.

So I continued to look on the Internet for alternate tan options and found a spa which did a "body bronze." In essence, a woman will actually put the tanning lotion on you (and by having someone else out it on you, it hopefully avoids those pesky spots and stripes).

If nothing else, the application process certainly beats the ice-cold-spray-and-stand I was forced to endure last time. This time I got to lie on a heated spa bed and have some chick rub the lotion onto me. It was basically like a poor man's massage (if a poor man was forced to pay a ridiculous amount of money to turn himself brown). Not bad.

And the results?

Also not bad. I got home and looked at my hands. Nary a stripe. And the color? A nice light brown. Hopefully not overwhelming (since the goal was not so much to have people say "When did you get back Jamaica?" as to comment "Oh, you don't look as sickly as you did last week.").

So I was ready to call this a success.


I undressed for bed. And I looked down at my stomach, my legs, my arms and my back.

And they were covered with spots. Hundreds, thousands, of SPOTS. Red spots.

I ran into Mr F. "Look at me!! Look at me!!"

"What? I see. You're brown. It's nice."

"No! I'm allergic to the dye! I'm not brown, I'm red. And bumpy!"

He motioned me over to his side of the bed and turned on the light. "Hmmm. Yeah, you're definitely having an allergic reaction."

(OK, I'm not going to say it yet again, but I think I definitely have an Edding-Way Llergy-A.)

I stared at myself in the mirror and counted the days until my wedding. On one hand. Because that's all there was.

Then I popped three Benadryls and slept like a baby.

The next day the red dots had mostly cleared up.

Now I just have to figure out how to avoid turning my ivory wedding dress orange via contact with my artificially-colored skin. But that's another conundrum for another day.

Too bad there are only two more days to figure it out.


MsLaurie said...

It should be 'set' enough by the day to not rub off.

I suggest sacrificing a cheap white tshirt tomorrow to see how you're going with the colour-transfer effect. Should be fine!

BTW, your blog has been a godsend. Made my slightly crazy wedding planning seem tame and sensible :)

Anonymous said...

I'm going to suggest paying your photographer a little extra to "touch up" the photos..then your memories are nice and tan...even if you weren't. Good luck. I can't wait to hear how it all goes.

redframe said...

Oh my lord woman, the obstacles thrown in you path, ridiculous! Glad the bumps are gone. Good luck! xx

Globetrottingbride said...

Your blog always makes me laugh out loud!!! Glad the bumps went away. I hope your wedding weekend goes off without a hitch. Can't wait to see the pics!

Anonymous said...

Ive tried the same thing and since its two days before you wedding... you should be fine by then!!!

On a side note... I have been comforted by your postings. I too have delt with a baby of a sister-in-law, selfist parents, and a MIL from hell! Your blog has been like my best friend these past few months!! I read your words and nod my head thinking ME TOO!! I am 71 days away, but I feel like we have both been on the same countdown. I hope Sunday is the most perfect and beautiful day of your life. You deserve all the happiness and love you could ever hope for. Mr F is a lucky man... enjoy your most special day.

Mrs English nee Trini said...

Good luck!

Once you're married at the end of it all, nothing else matters!

(And even if that doesn't happen, that's what the city hall/Vegas wedding chapel is for...)

Karol said...

Hilarious. In a totally horrifying kind of way.

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As you plan this wonderful day, you both will continue to feel great joy, but may also experience a few butterflies and a little confusion. After all, organizing a ceremony and reception is a big undertaking.

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