April 25, 2005

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.

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19 Responses to Yesterday I got a spray-on

  1. Brian says:

    Well, that’s um. OK, then.

  2. birdfarm says:

    “…the funniest thing I ever read about semen stains,” is the sentence ending Brian is seeking, I feel certain. A lot of people write a lot of things about semen and mostly it’s not at all funny. (Examples include that icky scene in “There’s Something About Mary;” also, I swore off Tom Robinson forever after reading the following sentence, which is still burned into my memory: “Alma gnashed her semen-greased teeth in her sleep.” Ugh.)

    Tan lines on your chest in the shape of semen stains, though, that’s very funny indeed.

    Question from a clueless lesbian: is this a shape that would be identifiable to others who are familiar with semen? (A simple yes or no answer will do; no further description is necessary).

  3. Mike says:

    I wouldn’t think so, birdfarm, not unless it was a really spectacular orgasm. Of course, one might notice the smell if Faustus didn’t shower and be able to put two and two together….

  4. Jake says:


  5. i. bendito says:

    I think she was more than clear. Why take it for granted that her “Don’t take a shower” warning was restricted to water?

  6. Brian: My thoughts exactly.

    birdfarm: Given the placement and direction, yes.

    Mike: It was a really spectacular orgasm.

    Jake: My thoughts exactly.

    i. bendito: I will let this be a lesson to me never to assume, because when you assume you make an ass out of . . . oh, never mind.

  7. Scroobious says:


    I too have just had my first fake tan experience (administered by self, at home, because I’m a cheapskate, and stupid). I’m now reassured that my results, while less than successful, are far less hilarious than yours.


  8. Jess says:

    I found it interesting that someone who uses the phrase “by hook or by crook” is still young enough to get laid. I really figured that phrase was limited to people who could remember World War I. 😉

    As for the semen stains, I think they’d just make the whole look sexier.

  9. anapestic says:

    Surely they sell home touch-up kits. If not, I reckon you can get a pretty close match with Rust-Oleum.

  10. Jeffrey says:

    Consider just how much worse it would be if the stains were on your face.

  11. Michael says:

    Oh, Jeffrey. That was fun.

  12. That’s hot, lol. It’s like a semi-permanent tattoo that only you and E.S. know about! Fun times to be had.

  13. David says:

    Donatella says you’re a dirty bitch.

  14. jake k. says:

    way, way too funny!

  15. Joe.My.God. says:

    Come have lunch with me tomorrow, I want to see this spray on tan.

    I got one by machine a couple of years ago, and hello Mr. Blotchy.

  16. Jay says:

    Hilarious. Much funnier tha by cheap ass experience with a spray on bottle of Neutrogena MicroMist.

    And yes, birdfarm, we would recognize it.

  17. Sin says:

    I would empathise, but being brown, the whole natural tan thing works out REALLY well for me. Except for the part where my insane friends fricassee me on the beach using sundried tomatoes in sunflower oil in lieu of tanning lotion, and drag my lounger out into the Karachi summer for three hours.

    I peeled for days. But I think that your discolouration may be more attractive than mine, regardless 😉

  18. homer says:

    So how long does the tan last?

  19. Denny says:

    ** Jess wrote:

    “I found it interesting that someone who uses the phrase “by hook or by crook” is still young enough to get laid. I really figured that phrase was limited to people who could remember World War I. 😉 ” **

    … or reads books .


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