Yesterday I got a spray-on tan.
One would think that since, as a redhead, I have no melanin, getting even a fake tan would be low on my list of priorities, because one look at me and it would be obvious that either my tan or my hair was fake. One would be wrong. I have long felt incomplete and inadequate as a gay man because of my lack of anything resembling a tan line, and last week, spurred on by the fact that it was Spa Week, I finally decided that damn it, by hook or by crook I was going to get one.
To get my tan I went to a spa in the 70s between Park and Madison. Given the tony address I was expecting a very tony spa; I was shocked, therefore, when I opened the door and was immediately confronted with glittery stars pasted on the walls and a woman behind the counter in a hot pink jumpsuit. Furthermore, the entire place reeked of what I thought at first was second-rate air freshener but turned out in the end to be the tanning spray.
A Russian woman named Svetlana or Tatiana or Masha escorted me to the tanning room and gave me a disposable thong and shower cap to wear during the process. After I put them on–I looked like nothing so much as a porn actor in a scene set in a restaurant, before the action started–she came back in and began to spray me. I did my very best not to inhale the stuff, and after about fifteen minutes I was covered with tan moisture. The most fascinating thing about this was that by the end my chest and underarm hair was shiny, like copper wire.
Svetlana or Tatiana or Masha nodded approvingly and encouraged me to inspect my tan line. I did so, and I have to say I was thrilled. The whole thing looked subtle and healthy and natural–except of course for the no-melanin part–and I felt I should be modeling, if not in Playgirl, then at least in a J. Crew catalogue. I went out to get my jacket and bag from the pink-jumpsuited receptionist. “Don’t take a shower until tomorrow,” she warned me as she handed me my things. I was reluctant to obey her, as I still felt very sticky, but she assured me the sensation would go away in an hour. It did, and by the time I showed up at E.S.’s place, I was dry and lightly but attractively tanned.
The problem was that I was so attractively tanned that E.S. was compelled to do something about it.
I want to call the spa and suggest they modify their advisory. They really ought to say, “Don’t shower until tomorrow and also don’t have sex with your boyfriend before your fake tan dries completely because if you do you will end up with tan lines on your chest in the shape of semen stains.”
But, given the stars on the walls, I’m not sure they’d be up to it.