When The Redhead Turned Orange


A redhead with a tan is about as rare as Ellen Degeneres in a mini-skirt.

I discovered this on the day of my cousin’s wedding. I wanted to look nice but was perplexed by how to do so with a family of such good-looking people. To the average person, this could be as easy as a half-hour tan. For me, a half-hour tan would lead to weeks of peeling skin and thousands of unwanted freckles. With nowhere else to turn, I decided to ask my mother, who suggested I get a spray tan.

I did feel a little odd getting a spray tan as a male, but when your mother says you look “tired” or “drained” it’s obvious she means, “you look awful and I don’t want the family seeing you like this.”

Flash to the tanning salon, filled with tan beauties, the sound of wind-chimes and gentle waves crashing on a sound machine. I talk to the woman at the front desk who then guides me to a white room with plastic covering every surface.

The whole spray tanning process is something that I hope to never endure again. I was told to strip down to my underwear and stand in front of a full-length mirror spread-eagle. I took this time to admire the 10 pounds of love-handle I gained in college.

After one application the woman with the spray asked me if I noticed a difference, and to be honest, I hadn’t. So I figured I was already here, why not go all out and get myself a tan the cast of Jersey Shore would be proud of.

After the second application, I had definitely noticed a difference and my whole body now matched my freckles.

I left the tanning salon a new man. My former pigment-less self was now hidden under 2 layers of sticky, neon orange, coconut-smelling spray.

On my way home, I noticed I was dripping beads of tan and had to be at my cousins wedding in less than an hour. On the remainder of the drive, I traveled with my head out of the window, (an appropriate action for a dog, but very dangerous for a person.) I kept reminding myself, “pain is beauty” or in this case, a possible decapitation.

With no other option but to grin and bear it, I was off to the wedding. As I sat watching the beautiful ceremony, which was outdoors, I noticed a group of grey clouds forming. It was at this point I knew Mother Nature was deliberately trying to foil my plans, and I gave up the charade right then and there.

As my bronzed complexion melted away, the ceremony ended and we were ushered inside for food, drinks and dancing. Before anybody had noticed I had gone from Spanish to Caucasian in less than an hour, I ran to the bathroom to wipe away any orange residue that was left on my skin. After I had done so, I returned to the “kids” table where the lights had already been dimmed and my fluorescent flaws were hidden. I went the remainder of the night without any tan-related criticism, periodically wiping tinted sweat between the garter toss and the Macarena.

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