Spit and Spirits

Beers and Spray Tans

with 2 comments

'Wow, I look pretty good for 37!'

‘Wow, I look pretty good for 37!’

I’m going to tell you something I swore I wouldn’t tell anyone, ever. And to be honest, I’m a little nervous about it. However I feel this is a safe place. A place of non-judgment. Somewhere we can let it all dangle in the breeze and save our sniggering for later when we aren’t around each other. Not that I do that of course.

So here goes – the other week I got a spray tan. Shit. I immediately regret telling you that. I can tell you’re sniggering right now. I can smell the judgment seeping from my Mac’s little speaker holes and USB ports.

The reason I went and got a spray tan is because of Skin Cancer. Oh yeah, the big S.C. And more specifically a skin cancer that had to be cut out of my face. Oh, I see you look a little taken aback. You thought this was going to be a silly blog? Well, it ISN’T. Men getting spray tans is serious stuff.

I grew up on and around the ocean. I knew even back then that I didn’t pay much heed to the warnings of sunburn and skin cancer. A young surfer had to be brown. That’s the way it was. And now I look back on it they also had to kind of look like a miniature, crazed prison escapee, which slightly horrifies me. I lived in the sun and surfed sometimes up to three times a day. As the doctor said, it’s the time you spend in the sun as a child that comes back to bite you in your thirties. I guess I was right on cue.

It was a little scary, but don’t worry it’s all fine. None of you will have to squabble over who gets left my motor-scooter or my collection of Jamie Oliver cookbooks just yet. I had noticed a lump near my eye for about the last year and decided to do a little Dr Googling to see what it was. After going to the local Melanoma Scan they too confirmed what Dr Google had told me and said that it was a BCC formed skin cancer and would have to be cut out. No big deal. He then traced a line with his finger down next to my nose that I swear went from my forehead to my chin. ‘We’ll just cut along here,’ he said with a look in his eyes that reminded me why I will never, ever watch Silence of the Lambs again – I also don’t think the doctor has ever completely understood why I then asked him if he likes pushing his penis between his legs to look like a woman or if he enjoys fava beans and a nice Chianti. It went well though and now I have a moderately ghastly incision on my upper cheek and a swollen, black eye to show for my lack of respect for the sun as a little surf grommet.

That seagull/stalk guy from the Slip Slop Slap ads wasn’t screwing around. Sun damage is serious. One of my Mother-in-law’s friends also got a BCC looked at a little while back which was in the same place as mine. He’s now been told they need to take out his entire eye. Yeah, his entire eye. The only difference between him and me is he’s about thirty years older. He said he noticed the little lump sometime during his thirties. Poor bastard. I guess the lesson there is it pays to be proactive about your health.

I’ve always thought I look better with a bit of a tan. I definitely look healthier. I feel more confident. That’s why I’ve always, even as an adult, tried to get a bit of sun whenever I can. Not any more though, as thankfully this whole experience has really scared me off doing that.

So as a man, what are we supposed to do if we want a bit of blokey colour but we’re not willing to burn ourselves for it? What if you’re getting married and you want to look even slightly worthy of your wife? I don’t work in the sun. I don’t go cycling with my buddies in the sun swaddled in spandex before gorging on tappas and lattes. I exercise, sure, but it’s not really in the sun. I work indoors, and even now as I write this and continue trying to become a novelist in my spare time, I’m not in the sun. There’s not a whole lot of outdoors happening that will count towards rugged swarthiness.

'Oh yeah, ladies. Come and get some underdone man flesh.'

‘Oh yeah, ladies. Come and get some underdone man flesh.’

So my mind turned to spray tans. My wife gets them every now and then, and hey, it’s 2013 people, this kind of thing is normal these days. Completely, totally, 100%, normal. Not even a tiny blip on Australian modern masculinity’s shaved scrotum. Isn’t it? Isn’t it?? So I went. Unfortunately they didn’t have a sneaky rear door like those other stores. And seeing as my wife is the only person who has seen me in my underwear for almost a decade, it felt pretty weird standing in front of a stranger in my trunks, legs wide and arms palm up and out. The girl was all professionalism and chat though which eased the whole situation. She said guys get tans there all the time. I went for a three hour express light to medium. Apparently the other tan you had to leave on for eight hours before washing it off. Who has that much time? I had blokey things to do like unthaw chicken and check our cats for ticks. The girl also said I shouldn’t get wet, so I then had to bolt home on my scooter, head down, checking over my shoulder as afternoon rain clouds and lightning reared up behind like a desert sandstorm. I made it home and pushed my remote for the garage door just as a swimming pool worth of water smashed into it, like Mother Nature desperately trying to wash away the abomination I had become. I then drank beer. Because that’s what men do.

A little dramatic, I know. The next day I looked brown. Really brown. My teeth looked white. My eyes looked bright. Whack a wig on me and I could have passed for Delta Goodrem. I did feel a little embarrassed. I’d have to come up with a lie for why I had suddenly turned so bronzed. Maybe something to do with mowing the lawn naked. But no one even mentioned my newfound brownness, and I guess that’s what the girl meant when she said it’s so totally, like, so really totally natural looking. The tan lasted for just over a week and I was back to pretty much normal.

It does seem to be becoming a more normal thing for a guy to do. I keep hearing now about women’s husbands or boyfriends or friends going in for a sneaky tan. It’s almost like a high society kind of thing to do – but of course ultra secret. Surely if the stigma of men getting spray tanned disappeared it can only be a benefit to all our health, right? It makes sense to get a fake tan rather than a real one and end up with scars all over our faces or much, much worse, like a missing eye or even death.

Since the tan has faded I’ve seen a picture of myself, and to me I look like some kind of wannabe sixty year old man who lives on a yacht and made all his money through porn websites back in the early nineties, so I probably won’t be doing it again any time soon. But I can tell why you could get addicted to them. You get sprayed. Feel slightly embarrassed. Then get a little used to your new Baywatch look. Then confidant. Then start missing it as it fades, like memories of peeing at the pool-bar during your last tropical holiday.

I’m glad I’ve told you now, though. There’s a weight lifted. But if you do see me and notice that I have a flawless, light-medium tan you can definitely assume it’s because I’ve been mowing the grass naked, not because I’ve gotten another spray tan. No way in hell.


2 Responses

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  1. Thanks for the late night laugh. I have been enlightened! No hair colouring though eh? Yet?


    May 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm

  2. Pfft! “Spray tans” are sooo passé. These days it’s all about the “tattoo tan”.


    May 21, 2013 at 3:35 pm

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