On not being tan
Continuing to pick myself apart, I got dressed and pictured how much better my legs and arms would look with some sun on them but claimed defeat and left for work. I couldn’t stop thinking about it though. You could say it was a bit obsessive. And then at a stop light, I saw two female construction workers who appeared to be about my age. There they stood, holding their orange and black “slow” signs, chatting away — probably about how easy it is to get tan when you’re a construction worker, I imagined. And I couldn’t stop watching them. Yes they were wearing jeans, but their arms were tan and their necks and their faces and their hair even had highlights from the sun. I’m sure some of the brown color on their skin could have been from the dirt at the construction site, but I’m most certain that most, if not all of it, was from the sun. It was natural. They don’t have to spend money on sunless tanners to try to achieve a “natural” look, which never really works anyway. They don’t have to plan out how they will get some sun, they probably don’t even have to spend any of their weekends in the sweltering humidity to catch a couple of rays. I guess I don’t have to do it either, but I do. If only I could get paid to stand there, talk and get tan.
I’m really not this shallow. I know that being a construction worker is hard, manual labor and that it’s not all about being tan and that you can get skin cancer and wrinkles and that tan skin looks leathery and prematurely old and sometimes even a dark natural tan can look fake. But why do I want it so badly?