{stories and snapshots from my new york city life.}


Fake it till you make it: A true story of a spray tan

Yesterday I got an airbrush tan from a 15-year-old. Few experiences have been more uncomfortable than standing in my bra and underwear with a shower cap on my head while a gorgeously fresh teenager sprayed my every nook and cranny a deep golden brown.

I'm afraid of the sun, so sunless tanning lotion is something I've always used at home. Annoyed with the bad streak jobs and a scent that rivaled kitty litter, Vin finally broke down and gave me a gift certificate to Beach Bum Tanning.

So I went into a dark room with a girl who can't legally drive yet and stripped down to my underpants. Now, is it just me, or does giving spray tans to half-naked people strike you as a wildly inappropriate summer job for a 15-year-old? What ever happened to lifeguarding or scooping ice cream?

Anyway, the kid described the process in detail. Always a sucker for the upsell, I paid 20 extra bucks for the deluxe spray, set and shellacking job, kinda like getting the final wax seal on your Honda at the carwash.

"So, I'm gonna put three different coats on you." She explained.
"You mean like chicken?" Ha, ha...look at me--making jokes in my underpants.
"Um, no. I mean, smell it. It definitely doesn't smell like chicken. It smells really good. Like pineapple!"

And it really did! It smelled like pineapple! So I stepped on some freshly browned towels, spread my legs wide and assumed what she called the "Scarecrow position"--arms out to the sides with the elbows hanging down like a rag doll. She sprayed, I turned, she sprayed, and I turned until I was sufficiently coated. And it really was just like chicken, instead of breaded I felt more like rotisserie.

For the finale, she used a little powder brush to smooth over any uneven spots. As her brush tickled the fold between my butt and upper thigh, I let out a giggle and a sarcastic, "Lucky you!"

She looked up at me seriously and said, "What do you mean?"

What ever happened to teenagers understanding sarcasm?

Once the spraydown was over, I stepped off the towels and went to check myself out in the mirror. Mind you, I was still in my underwear and a shower cap--which--believe it or not, isn't my best look to begin with. Not only did my body look really, really dirty, but I took one look at my dark face and actually offended myself. I looked like I was ready to get booed off-stage at a Comedy Central roast.

"Oh no, honey. You've gotta wipe some of this off my face. I can't walk down the street like this." I pleaded.

"Oh, really? Wow. You're like the total opposite of most of the people who come in here. Most people ask me to make it darker." Any darker and I would have looked ready for a body-building competition. The only thing I needed was a sequined bikini. And abs.

 I actually look more normal in these photos than I did in person. 
The camera lightened up my skin tone quite a bit. Trust me--it was scary. Also, do my nostrils look tan?
For comparison's sake, this is my normal hue. 

So she made a few quick wiping strokes down my face, and I was out the door. I put on some dark shades and avoided any main streets. I felt like an Oompa Loompa with a height advantage. The kid assured me that it would look more natural once I showered four hours later.

At home, I inspected myself closely. As my tan developed over the next three hours, I became increasingly amused/ horrified with myself. Every time I'd look in the mirror I'd gasp in terror, then laugh uncontrollably. My tan line was positively vulgar, but on the upside, my teeth and the whites of my eyes were gleaming like never before.

And though only a wee little babe, my little sprayer knew what she was talking about. After the shower, my tan was golden and even and natural. So Vin, if you're reading this, thanks so much for the gift certificate to the tanning place. And if you find yourself stumped about the next gift certificate to give me, make it for Stanley Steamer. My tan stained the hell out of our couch.


  1. Smile. This was such a fun read! You are too hilarious. And honey, you are going to look gorgeous no matter what is sprayed one you. I hope you are doing well.

  2. You crack me up!!

  3. You brave, funny girl! Thanks for sharing the experience - good that you can laugh about it all!! You're beautiful, don't forget it! :-)

  4. This is such a funny story!!! you're so hilarious!!! this just made my day

  5. hahahahaha! this post made my laugh out loud. i've always been so scared to try a spray tan!

  6. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Dying. You poor thing. Amused/horrified would have been my reaction as well. Thank GOD it showered off okay.

  7. I love your stories! For some reason I was not seeing your FB updates for your blog. I was going through withdrawal and randomly came on to see if there were any new posts. I'll be here for a while. :)

  8. OMG! LOL. I can't. I'm sorry. This is too funny but I'm so glad that once you showered it looked awesome!

  9. Oh my god! This is HILARIOUS. I just discovered this through Vmac & Cheese's link up. I've always wanted to try a spray tan, and don't take this the wrong way--I probably won't now lol. I would have freaked out!!

  10. Hahahaha! You have such a funny story on a trip to the tanning salon. I'm glad to hear that your tan went well (after all the trouble!).

  11. Fits of laughter are no doubt bothering my coworkers right now. This is truly hilarious. Maybe your bizarre experience was all worth it for the sake of comedy? (...looking for that silver lining...)

  12. Great, side splitting story!!!!!!! Joy & Joe & Zoe are here for the weekend and Joy said I had to read it. Of course she was right. When are you & Vinnie coming back to visit?
    Pat Yeaman

  13. You've never looked better.

    -The Spray Tan Association of America.
    You'll pale in comparison.