It’s been a weekend filled with preparations for the wedding, as we’re starting to get close enough to the date that we can no longer delay taking care of anything with a lead time. In the last week, we’ve ordered our invitations, done the
bridesmaid Kickass Women of Honor dresses, ordered the pig for the day-after barbeque and started our gift registry. (Easy enough to start – just pick a store that sells Caphalon and hope for the best). In possibly the biggest vanity point of all our wedding preparations, I also signed up to go to a tanning salon, because my dress has a rather dramatic dropped back and, living in a beach town as I do, I manage to get burned early enough every year to develop weird tan lines that don’t go away all summer. One year, due to a rather unfortunate incident with the last dregs of a bottle of spray on sunblock, I even managed polka dots.
So vanity must be appeased, as that dress cost way too much for me to walk down the aisle in August with polka dot skin.
I’m sure tanning salons are no big deal for a lot of people, but they’re totally foreign experiences to me and, to be honest, intimidating. So the first night I went in just to ask questions and sign up for a package of sessions. I asked so many questions that a rather long line formed behind me of very, very tan people. As this was early March, I was clearly in the right place. And, although I shocked the counter desk teenager by not having the slightest idea what a bronzer is for, I made it through. I then retreated and went to my knitting circle, realizing that if I didn’t go for the first appointment within a week, I’d probably never make it back.
That Saturday, I dutifully put bronzer all over. And I mean all over. I put on a dress, since I’ve never liked putting jeans on over skin with lotion on it. It was not warm enough for a dress, as I quickly found out, but it did making walking into the salon a little easier. Putting on a dress makes me feel like a person in disguise, like the sort of person that might just be comfortable in a tanning salon.
I mentioned it was my first time tanning ever. The teens behind the counter squealed in delight. They fussed over me enough to set me at my ease. One of them introduced herself and showed me back to a room with a bed. She pointed out the big blue button that I was to press to start the experience. She also mentioned that it was going to go on automatically in seven minutes. This was the sort of talk that I needed, as I respond extremely well to deadlines. She left and I, realizing there was an objective to be met within a timeframe, got down to business. Within a minute, I was rather exposed and staring up at the heavy lamps above my head through the weird eye protection sunglasses that you must must wear. And then I realized how claustrophobic I am. I inched the top of the bed down a few inches, which was very brave indeed. Then, after several minutes of arguing with myself, I pushed the damn blue button and scrunched up my eyes and waited. For a moment nothing happened, then I was suddenly lying on a beach, so long as I closed my eyes and ignored the loud buzz of the lamps and worked aggressively on using my imagination. Which is to say that I could see how it could *become* relaxing, but that I wasn’t quite there yet. In fact, I was pretty damn convinced that the second I stopped looking, the tanning bed lid was going to come flying down on me and smoosh me and burn me to bits. So i kept an eye on the trixy thing, instead of relaxing like I suspect you’re supposed to.
My guide had mentioned that if I didn’t turn over, there was a good chance I wouldn’t tan between my upper thigh and tush, as there’s a bit of a shadow there when you’re lying on it. I’ve been back again, but I still haven’t mustered the courage. That lid needs watching. (So far, I have settled into trying to smash my skin about in such a way as to alleviate shadows. Who wants a pale strip across their butt?) I have eight more sessions in the package I bought and, after two sessions, i have the bare beginnings of a little tan. It’s certainly respectable for April, anyway, though I would probably be blistered if it were July. It is joyously even, with no weird marks, which is kind of addictive. I can see why people are into this.
Really, after all the out of character things that planning a wedding has lead me into, I’m starting to feel like marriage will be a breeze. Our life now is a mock marriage; we share the household tasks and function as a family. Marrying Himself is a natural course of action, a mere extension of the life that we’re already living. Being engaged has certainly deepened our bond, because it raised the stakes, and I expect that when we’re actually married, this will happen again. But none of that is nearly as frightening as getting into a tanning bed for the first time and pressing that big blue button.