Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tangerine Woman

I’ve been hypnotized in the name of research and I'm here to tell you it was less threatening than my recent experience: Mystic Tanning.

Mind you, I haven’t been in a tanning salon since I was in high school and I only went then so I’d look good in my prom dress (it was pale pink and so was I). I remember lying in a coffin-like bed for 45 minutes as bulbs cooked my body. I remember being uncomfortable at first, then sweaty, then itchy, then finally falling into a doze.

Not this time.

My character wouldn’t have the 45 minutes to spare and she isn’t found of enclosed spaces, so I opted for the Mystic Tan experience. (Just pretend I’ve put a trademark sign next to every appearance of the words Mystic Tan please).

After asking my babysitter for advice (she’s an experienced tanning pro – always looks as though she just spent the weekend in the Bahamas), so told me I’d have to buy a package of 3 tans, I’d need goggles, and I should buy a tanning accelerator.

“Swim goggles?” I asked dumbly.

Armed with her tanning goggles I asked the young, tan, blond charging my Visa $65 how Mystic Tan worked. “It’s an invisible spray,” she informed me in a bubbly voice. “You just take all your clothes off, step into the booth, and close your eyes. Oh, and don’t breathe it in ‘cause it takes kind of gross.”


I was still recovering from that line while selecting an accelerator. Perhaps that’s why I absentmindedly picked the one called Bronze Goddess or something along those lines. Apparently, this is not a good choice for the Mystic Tan.

Inside the small room with hip-hop music piped in through the wall speakers, I disrobed and slathered myself with accelerator. I put on a hair cap and covered my hands and feet with this other stiff to prevent the skin from turning orange. (Ha!)

I stepped into the booth. A countdown started. I was cold. I felt exposed. I took a deep breath and got blasted by cold air. I was told to turn around. Now cold air was blasting my backside.

All done! I dried off, hurriedly dressed, and drove away.

Four hours later, I was the color of a tangerine. Actually, the bottom of my feet looked more like two orange Starburst candies.

Like I said, I picked the wrong accelerator, but it doesn’t matter, because as soon as my family stops calling my Clementine I’m going to trade in my last two Mystic Tan sessions for something else…maybe therapy!

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