Find your tanning bed; try something new

Megan Keane, columnist

I’d never tanned in a tanning bed before, but I had tanned … once or twice.

When I was younger, I tanned nicely. I wasn’t always super pasty and freckly. What I’m really saying is, I wasn’t always super Irish. I’m, like, a decent chunk Italian, and my skin would express those genes in the summer. In the last eight years, I’ve barely gotten enough sunlight to get red, but my friends convinced me to buy a two-week tanning pass at Tan Express on Lincoln Avenue.

Listen, I’m no fool, OK. I watched “Final Destination 3” when I was 10. We all know what happens in tanning beds. (If you don’t know, there’s an incident in “Final Destination 3” where two girls die via tanning beds). Citing that as my source for being scared, I received a lot of backlash from my friends and acquaintances.

“That seems like an irrational reason not to tan.”

“You’ll be fine! There’s a timer! It turns off by itself!”

“Someone will look for you after 15 minutes.”

Well, okay, whatever. It probably is irrational. I’m telling you, if my panic disorder was not held so well under-wraps, I never would have done it. But my treatment is working, so I did it. I got the indoor tanning lotion and everything. I went in there like a pro, dude.

A lovely employee signed me up, had me fill out a sensitivity survey, and when she asked me how long I wanted to tan, I said, “Six minutes!” Seemed like a lot to me.

I gotta tell ya, sitting in that warm tanning bed is euphoric. I used to be super claustrophobic in hot places: saunas, crowded rooms, AMC Loews Quarry in the summer. Not anymore, I guess! Or, not in this particular situation. It warmed my anemic blood.

I’ve used the tanning bed almost every day since the start of my two-week trial. I wasn’t sure it was going to do anything for me, but I’m excited, not only to see my regulars—my freckle mustache, freckly elbows and knees—but also, the beginning of a really nice tan. I had this idea in my head that I would either burn or get some freckle-less color. While I have been itchy (probably the result of stepping up my tanning time to 12 minutes), there haven’t been any long lasting burns.

I can definitely see how tanning could work its way into people’s weekly routines. It’s soothing. For something that I was, seriously, super fearful of, tanning has become something I look forward to; it’s right up there with “coffee in the morning” and “falling asleep at night” on my list of daily favorites.

It’s a little step in the grand scheme of things, and an experience that will probably start mutating my cells into cancer, but it’s also something I never would’ve tried before ever. Everybody, step out of your comfort zones! It’s super wild out here!

Megan Keane is an English and psychology major and can be reached at [email protected].