Tanorexia – It’s not a myth anymore . . .

See - no tan lines! (photo from FreecessionLessons.wordpress.com)

So if you are a regular visitor to my blog, you may remember the post Party Dress Humiliation about me trying to find the perfect outfit for an upcoming holiday party and, more importantly, how to squeeze into it.  It involves some embarrassing moments and possibly a can of Crisco, but that’s not the end of it.  The selection of the dress and proper undergarments is just the beginning, because once you’ve put on the dress and smoothed out your lumps and bumps you look at your face hovering above it all and realize you look like a corpse!  (Note:  Never, ever, ever search for corpse images on Google.  I need therapy now.)

I’ve been working 50-65 hours a week, daylight’s getting shorter and the weather is turning colder.  How am I going to cure this sickly pallor?  Oh the humanity!  I finally solve the dress dilemma only to discover that I forgot my head was attached to my body!  Then, as I’m sinking into yet another pit of despair over this damn party, an idea comes to me . . . I can go tanning!

This looks completely safe! (photo from photobucket.com)

I can go once a day to a tanning salon and lie in a coffin that shoots rays of death at my body in an attempt to look better in a week or two.  This sounds horrific, but if you can get past the increased chances for cancer, the fact that some other naked body was lying in that exact same spot just moments ago and the smell of slightly charred flesh – it’s really not so bad.  I mean you get 10 – 20 minutes to take a nap while lying on that piece of plexiglass.  (if the sweat pooling beneath you doesn’t bother you)

If you’ve ever been tanning, then you know what I’ve written above to be true.  If you haven’t, then after reading that you are probably thinking “NEVER!”  But there’s a condition that is recognized by doctors everywhere . . . or at least WebMD.com.  Tanorexia!  I am NOT making this up.

Tanorexia is the theory that just as anorexics can’t get skinny enough, tanorexics can’t get tan enough.  While you may think you are just subjecting yourself to these deplorable conditions for a few days to knock the white glare off your pallid complexion for a special event, you will look in the mirror and think “Oh good heavens!  I’m still pale – I need more fake and bake!”  (note:  Fake and bake is a technical term for indoor tanning.)  After your special event has come and gone, you will still feel the need to continue the indoor tanning lest you feel you have “lost your glow.”

I'm totally rocking this look

Tanorexics also believe that they look slimmer and sexier when they are tan.  This is compounded by the fact that it is true.  Seriously, when you think of nerds do you envision tan ones?  No, they are super-skinny and pale like Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory.  When you think of super-models or bare-chested hunks do you see one with alabaster skin?  No!  They always have a healthy glow if not a deeper, richer color.  There’s also an expression:  If you can’t tone it, tan it.  So if working out isn’t working out for you, tan it!  What’s the harm?  Oh yeah – cancer.

Then there’s always the chance that while you are subjecting yourself to this tortuous situation and burning your skin in order to be sexier that you will over do it.  There’s nothing more difficult than trying to explain a sunburn in December when it’s 30 degrees outside.  People look at your red face and first assume you must be drunk.  Who would think you had suffered a sun-burn?  It’s not a sun-burn it’s a bulb-burn.  I spend a hundreds of dollars a year on make-up and moisturizer with sunblock built in only to scrub my face clean of it before lying underneath direct ultraviolet rays.  What is wrong with me?

Don't my teeth look nice and white?

If you are new to my blog, then you may be expecting me to now say something meaningful and altruistic about how we should all embrace our own unique physical appearance and not feel burdened by society’s demands that we look tan and slim in the middle of winter.  But this ain’t that blog.  I say, do what you have to ladies!  Buy the restrictive undergarments, fry your skin to a golden brown – whatever you need to boost your confidence.  When you find people asking you why you look like a piece of shriveled up bacon, come join me at my next TA meeting.  People there are very friendly once you get past the smell of fried skin and tanning accelerator.  “Hi, my name is Angry, and I’m a Tanorexic”

11 thoughts on “Tanorexia – It’s not a myth anymore . . .

  1. littlesundog says:

    I absolutely LOVE, “Hi, my name is Angry, and I’m a Tanorexic”. I’d have to join the ranks of being “angry” if I had to go through all of that to attend a holiday party. LOL I no longer give a rip about going through the beauty rigors that I did when I was younger. Maybe at my age I’m confident and comfortable as I am. Maybe it’s acceptance of my age, and being too tired and overwhelmed to keep up the ridiculous pace to find acceptance in a society full of expectation. My hair is long and graying. I have a farmer’s tan, I’m outdoors all year long and have the deep forehead wrinkles to show for it. I’m comfortable with that. I work with what I have… I look deadly in low-cut tops and I love sexy shoes. That way, I still get the elevator look!

    • See now you are my hero! Truly, that is what I’m striving towards – full acceptance of myself. But, I’m still fighting this “middle age” thing. I am not so vain as to be unable to scrutinize and laugh at all the sillyness I put myself through. Nor do I attend this party and pretend that I look this good all the time. I make darn good and sure that everyone knows just how much work it took to look this good. 😉

      • littlesundog says:

        You are SO after my heart… I swear, about 10 years ago… well, no, maybe it was still going on 5 years ago, I was still struggling with the transition of middle age. Today, I would see you at the party, tell you how awesome you look, and you’d probably spill your guts telling me how the spanx was killing you and you were on FIRE from the tanning beds and I’d say, “Geez, get out of that spanx and I’ll get us some wine and we’ll SIT and look fabulous all night”. Again, I’m not sporting a “sack-full” as they say in the south, but a low-cut top (or dress) and some sexy shoes go a long way and you can SIT and look very inviting. Don’t sweat it!!

  2. RVingGirl says:

    LOVED this post. You are a gifted story-teller and make my laugh out REALLY loud.
    I hate that leathery look and living in Bermuda, I do everything to try to stay OUT of the sun.
    I remember as a teenager in Canada, coating on baby oil and grabbing some tin foil and cardboard to increase the suns’ rays while I cooked. But then if you only saw the sun a couple of weeks a year….well you get it.

    • I’m I made you laugh! I have to poke fun at myself because some of the things I do are insane. I remember those tin-foil, tri-fold “tan enhancers”. I distinctly remembering my sister using one out at the lake one summer.

  3. Dear Angry and Tanorexic,
    I was in a tanning bed once, but did not know whether to leave my underwear on or take them off. I know women don’t like tan lines, but what’s the rule for men? Do women expect my “*****” to have a golden glow?

    Darkly Confused

    • Hmm, that might be a better question to pose on Facebook. I saw a man leaving the tanning salon the other day but I’m pretty certain he was not concerned with anything that any women thought. Good luck with that.

  4. RVingGirl says:

    PS….and I LOVE the photos you chose. SO great!

  5. I think I sunburned from just looking at the pic of that tanning bed! It was either that or the George Hamilton photo! 😀

  6. Barb says:

    Well, I do labor under that misconception that I look better with a tan. The problem is these crappy dark spots that are starting to show. And how the tan doesn’t enter the crevasses of my wrinkles. So I appreciate an honest blog without that righteous jibberish. We’re tan and we’re semi-happy!!!.

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