Having grown up during FRIENDS hay-day, and having watched each episode in syndication at least 5 times, it is not surprising that I drove up to Solarium Tanning with much trepidation. I had seen what can go wrong with a spray tan (thank you Ross Gellar). And I was determined NOT to come out looking like an 8.
For those of you who did not own a Friends Quote-a-Day Calendar, or those who simply have a life and don’t watch as much television/reruns as I do, the main plot of the hilarious espiode is Ross goes to get a spray tan, and in his typical bumbling fashion, manages to not turn around in the little booth, so is sprayed multiple times on one side and none on the back, making him several shades darker than he intended.
So, with a Val-Pak coupon in hand, and a desire not to be pale OR oompa-loompa orange on my wedding day, I decided to give this whole spray tan deal a test drive.
I took the initiative to read up on “spray tan prep” in google prior to my appointment, and followed the suggestions to get all exfoliated, de make-up-ified, and not wear any deodorant to my appointment. I arrived at the salon, filled out a form for the very-tan front desk lady, indicated which level of tan I would like (thinking Ross, I went for “light”), and was led back into the depths of the tanning salon.
Fortunately, things have progressed since the late 90’s, and not only did I have a very-tan high school aged girl show me the “positions,” but I was also guided throughout the process by a computerized voice, telling me when to do each position and where to face (although without the demo beforehands, I wouldn’t have known what was “position one” and “position two” etc.) Although I may have the benefit of years of learning choreography going for me that Ross didn’t, it still seemed pretty easy to do, and fortunately, my experience was not for sitcom fodder.
When I first got out of the booth, and checked out myself in the mirror, I noticed an all-over I just got back from the tropics look (sweet! $30 is way < price of airfare and hotel and fruity drinks with umbrellas) and was pretty impressed with the results. However, on closer inspection, I saw that my face looked very speckled with tanning juice and I was quite nervous about this (did I not exfoliate enough? Did the tan teen lead me astray in my positions? ). But after staring in the mirror for a Sammi-Sweetheart length session, then deciding to get dressed so I could go cuss out the very-tan lady up front, and looking at it again in the mirror in the hallway, it had gone back to normal with no spots/dots/blotches.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with the process and effects. Definitely not orange, I would definitely not go any darker than the “light” level as it is fairly “dark”, not too smelly, pretty quick process (it probably took me 25 minutes total with filling out the form, practicing my “positions” and re-reading the posters approximately 47 times, I’m sure a veteran could have been done in under 10, but then again, I didn’t want to be an “8”).
My legs are a bit spotty (but only if you are really inspecting them up close) and remind me of the cougar who used to rub herself in baby oil and use aluminum foil to attract more sun in 1977 BSPF. This is probably due to me not exfoliating the winter skin off as much as I should have, and like I said, only if you are staring intently at my legs would you notice. Which I am. And reminding myself to use SPF so my own legs don’t look like this in another 20 years.
I tan pretty easily, so I am not too worried about needing to tan before the wedding, but like I said, I am trying to take good care of my skin and will be SPF-ing it up all summer long, and just wanted to make sure, if I felt a little pasty come September 17, I will be a seasoned spray tan veteran. And not orange in my wedding pix. So the results of this little experiment I would say are me: 1, ross: 0.
Side note: curious to know if Ross’ tanning woes happened before or after his glow-in-the-black-light teeth whitening incident.
Ross: You sprayed my front twice!
Assistant: You've never turned?
Ross: No, I barely even got to three Mississippi.
Assistant: Mississippi? I said count to five'!
Ross: Mississippilesly? (pause) Well, how bad is it?
Assistant: Ain't that bad yet, but it keeps getting darker for the next four hours.
Ross: So, how dark is it gonna get?
Assistant: You got sprayed with two two' s and...
Ross: I'm a four?
Assistant: Yeah, but you're back's a zero. You're gonna wanna even that out.
Ross: (sarcastically) Really!
Assistant: You might wanna get back in there.
Ross: (annoyed) Ok!
(The assistant leaves and Ross goes back in the spray-on tan booth and turns his back to the spray nozzles, facing the back wall)
Ross: Wait, wait a minute, there's no light on the back wall! How do I know when it's gonna start? Hello? (he slowly turns and the spraying begins, on his face) Ah, oh, ah! (he turns, but then he turns again and is sprayed in the front again) Ah! (he spits and angrily goes out of the spray-on tan booth and the assistant enters the room) The same thing happened again!
Assistant: You got two more twos?
Ross: (hysterically) I'm an eight!