In November, Ryan took a lot of call. A LOT. This means in the hospital, sleeping there (all by himself in his nice cozy little hospital room... all to himself...getting a full night of uninterrupted sleep most of the time...all by himself...), ahem, I digress. Anyhow, one night I was getting a little beyond crazy with the kids and the mess and the teething and the fighting and the bedtime madness, and I flopped down on the couch once they were all asleep to survey the damage and muster the energy to face it when I thought, I just want to be in a room, by myself, all ALONE.
The next day I woke up to an email saying the Groupon for the day was a package for spray tanning. Perfect, I thought to myself. Slightly selfish, and very alone.
So Ryan came home, I made my appointment and I was out the door. Now, I had done a spray tan at one place before. It was a nice machine in a nice room with a bathrobe and bottled water, a cap to put over your hair, and a nice gay Swedish man to tell you exactly how to do it and show you how to put the lotion on your fingernails and your toenails and the soles of your feet to block the spray so you didn't go out looking freakish. And then you were left alone with the soothing voice prompts embedded within the machine for the 46-second miracle to work it's magic.
Well, this groupon was for a place where it was done by hand. Alright, the awkwardness factor goes up by a bazillion right there, but hey, it was a really good deal, and I'm sure they do this all the time so it's no big deal for them, right?. Plus, I know that's how the celebs and stuff do it - their own personalized spray tan artist. I guess you can get those hard to reach places better? Plus I thought they were better at matching it to your skin tone and making it look natural, so I thought it was probably going to be a higher-end service and I was probably lucking out to get to try it.
And then I got there and she stuck me in the corner of a very small, and very dimly lit bathroom.
Suddenly it was awkward, and ghetto.
As I was relating this to Ryan later he was saying maybe that should be some kind of red-flag when this kind of place is looking to do a groupon. Point noted.
So once I was down to my skivvies (the minimum I felt like letting her stare at for the 15 minutes we were in there) the lady, who spoke very little English and had used mostly gestures and an isolated word here and there, picks up her nozzle, nods, and says ok like she's ready to go. I'm thinking, um, wait, shouldn't we discuss anything? Like my desired outcome here, for starters? So instead I say, "Do you have a cap or anything I could put over my hair?" "Mmm, good idea," she nods. She walks out for a minute while I try to grapple with what to say next to prolong the start of this episode into the unknown.
She comes back in and I'm still worried that she's given me nothing to put on my nails or the soles of my feet and she hadn't seemed to remember the idea of covering your hair either...but I don't want to annoy her too much when she's obviously ready to go, and maybe the way they do it makes that unnecessary? So instead as she's ready to hose me down once again, I blurt out, "So is there like more than one color to choose from or anything?" "No. Just one color," and she proceeds to blast.
Ah the internal panic. I have had no sort of conversation about what I'm hoping to look like when this is done, and there is only one color...and she is Hispanic as were most of the people I saw on my way through the salon. And that same color they all use is currently coating my body in copious quantities. Gulp.
The spray goes on and on. Really on. Like I'm used to 46 seconds and am rather concerned what the result of this prolonged dousing will be. Finally it's over and she tells me she's going to go get a fan to dry me off. So now I'm in a tiny dark bathroom facing a fan that is sitting on the toilet, freezing my wet, colored bootie off. So ghetto. Yeah, I guess this isn't what I envisioned when I bought this package.
After 10 minutes or so she comes in and pulls back the curtain and I look in the mirror.
Gasp. All I see are teeth and eyes.
Everything else is a mass of dark that blends into the shadows of the poorly lit bathroom. Instant panic sets in. I try to act composed in front of her, but as soon as the door is shut I'm silently screaming and darting in random, agitated movements around the room. Do I really have to walk back out in front of all those people that just saw me walk in here a pasty white lady just a few minutes ago??? Do I really have to take Cash to school tomorrow? Why can't it be one of those rare days Ryan goes in late?!? And if I try wearing a hat it will just shadow my face and make me look even darker!! There is seriously no escaping this....
I walk out with my face turned away from as many people as possible, mysteriously fascinated by something in my purse, and I walk up to the lady at the front desk - the one white person in there. "Is this the real color this is going to stay?" I ask in a hushed but intense voice. "Or is this going to wash off when I shower and fade into something lighter?" The one I'd done before had an instant color that while strong (yet nothing like I was now experiencing), would wash off the next morning and leave a nicer color developing underneath.
"No," she says, "This is what it will be." Aaahhhh! "But it looks nice on you." Are you kidding me? "Um, I look like a different nationality," I blurt out. She keeps trying to reassure me, "But this color is good - it won't be orange on you like other kinds."
Oh the horror. I get in the car and send Ryan a text:
"I look like Pocahontas."
As I pull into our garage I'm a little mortified to see how busy the parking lot is with so many people coming in and out. They all know me here. We're notorious. So I'm darting through the parking lot hiding behind cars as people pass and hoping the coast is clear when I make the final dash. Thank heavens I'm the first apartment inside the building.
I walk in the house and Ryan turns around. "Oh, wow," he says. "Um, that looks really bad." Awesome.
Well, one thing for sure, she was right about it not looking orange. I had remembered a friend before telling me that St. Tropez (the kind this salon had) was the best kind of self-tanner because it was green-based rather than orange based. I looked down at the bottoms of my feet - they were a solid mass of greenish-black. Perhaps the effect was magnified by the black towel she had me standing on? Whatever they case, they were putrid. Ryan made a gagging face seeing me look at them and said, "I am not getting in bed with you." I could only imagine myself at playgroup kicking my feet up on someone's ottoman with those. Note to self: wear boots and ignore the take-your-shoes-off-in-my-house rule.
You're not supposed to shower for 12 hours after getting your spray tan. I paced in an agitated panic at home for 40 minutes and after turning myself away from it multiple times, I finally freaked out and stuck my face under the sink and scrubbed and scrubbed. I hated to wash money down the drain...but I couldn't take it anymore. (I left the rest though figuring at least I had to be able to look at my face.) When I've done the other spray tan before, I still look a little unnatural being so tan (this happens when I'm even tan just from the sun)....like I sort of border on looking homeless. You know, that worn leathery look. This wasn't even that this time though. I was like this green/dark creature from another country. Or planet. It looked so off. And of course, my nails and feet were heinous.
So what do you know, the next day when I showered I did look much improved (I'm sure washing it off my face helped immensely), and as it faded, it turned out to be my favorite spray tan. (Ok, even though it took 3 days and about 17 layers of exfoliated skin for my feet to be able to greet the world again.) Anyhow, it really wasn't orange at all, and did look like I do when I've had time in the sun. Who knows, maybe I will even get my moneys worth and finish my sessions, when originally I had been certain I would never be walking back in that salon again. Just have to figure out how to go into hiding for that first day or two....
Seriously. I'm such a dork. Sometimes I sit and imagine people that lived like thousands of years ago that had to battle like mastadons and starvation for survival, and picture them looking down on me and the ridiculous things we do nowadays and just shaking their heads in disgust.