Monday, August 9, 2010

Pale Skin is Beautiful, Isn't It?

I have pale skin. I've always had pale skin. Except for a couple of summers in my childhood, I've never been a bronzed, glowing goddess. Because, personally, I think that pale skin is beautiful. Don't get me wrong, though. Tan and Olive and Dark skins are pretty, too. I think natural skin colors are absolutely gorgeous. But tanning really grosses me out.

Recently a new tanning salon opened up in the shopping center that I work in. The store is called Too Hotties, and they seem to be pretty popular. Every time I walk by on my way to Muang Thai to get some lunch or a snack of a soda, there seems to be a few bronzed girls waiting in line to be painted some more.

Personally, I'm against the whole tanning thing. Spray tanning, tanning beds, laying out in the sun with tanning oil on trying to get darker: all of it rubs me in a wrong way. I see people like my older sister who try to get as much unprotected sun as possible so they can get dark, and it just makes me think, "You should be on a poster for how to get skin cancer." My older sister is like a walking want ad looking for skin cancer. Seriously, she's just begging for it.

Me? I don't go to the beach. When I wear a swimsuit, it's always covered by a big t-shirt or a linen jacket and some shorts. I'm always covered head to toe in SPF 80 sunblock, and I'm always packing the bottle to reapply every four hours. I sit in shade. I do everything I possibly can to make sure I'm protected from the sun. I like my pale skin, as I said. I think my pale skin is beautiful, and I wouldn't want it artificially colored with paints or darkened by the sun that causes skin cancer.

When Too Hotties opened, they brought a few fliers and coupons into the store. The girl (ridiculously tanned and resembling the color of an Oompa Loompa rather than a human girl) handed me the fliers and gave me her spiel, asking me to hand the coupons and fliers out to anyone that might be interested. I immediately thought of my sisters, and while I don't condone artificial tanning, I'd rather my sisters all spray tanned instead of UV tanning, so I thought I'd give them the coupons.

And then the girl made her fatal mistake.

Looking me up and down, she said (in what she obviously thought was a friendly and flattering way) "Hey, since you work in the same shopping center we'll give you and extra special discount on top of the coupons! We'd be happy to help give you beautiful, glowing skin! We can fix you up, no problem!"

First, this comment was unsolicited. I expressed absolutely no interest whatsoever in ever entering her shop. And looking at me it's pretty DAMN clear that I've never tanned in my life, and I'm not going to start now.

Second, she insulted me. "Giving" me "beautiful, glowing skin" implies that I don't already have beautiful, glowing skin. And while my skin doesn't glow in the bronze statue way, my skin is radiant and healthy and I get compliments on how pretty my skin is all of the time. I do take care of my skin, after all. I exfoliate it every night, I moisturize, I don't pile on oily and damaging make-up. So my skin is beautiful and glowing without their help.

And adding "We can fix you up, no problem!" was overkill on the double insult. If the whole comment was the wound, and the giving me beautiful skin was the salt on the wound, then the "fixing" it add-in was lye on top of the salt on top of the wound. She probably thought she was being helpful, I thought she sounded pretentious. Not everybody who isn't tan wants to be tan, and she shouldn't assume that.

Because what she did was far more than make sure I never patronize that business. No, what she also did was make sure I wouldn't pass on advertisement. People who take on the point of view "if you don't look like me you should because this is the only way to be beautiful" should not be rewarded. Sure, lots of people think tan it awesome, but it's bad for business to go around insulting people who aren't tan. You want to EXPAND your client pool, not keep it the same size. And if all you do is insult the people you feel are in need of your service, then you've just guaranteed that they won't give you their business.

As I said, I don't find darker skin unattractive. But as evidenced by the way I prefer my hair (either extreme blond or extreme brown) it's obvious that I like extremes one way or the other. But in a natural way. So pale is pretty, natural olives are pretty, and ebony dark skin is beautiful. But fake bronze metal copper tan color? Absolutely not. It looks fake, it is fake, and it's bad for you to boot.

Am I the only person that thinks pale is beautiful?

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