Tuesday, May 02, 2006

You Better Appreciate This Tan

It looks easy, doesn’t it? I just walk into a room and everyone says, "Hey, that White Dade, he’s got a nice tan." Yes, yes I do. And you damn well better appreciate it. Because while looking like the gardener’s baby may just seem like a natural part of living in South Florida, for a White man it is more work than you can imagine.

Do you know how embarrassing it would be for me, who lives in South Florida, to go ANYWHERE and NOT have a tan? When you say you’re form Miami, having skin roughly the color of an old potato is just expected. There is pressure on us White people to look as dark as we can before we leave the state. Otherwise we would be giving Floridians a bad name. And so we bust our asses to look as much like George Hamilton as possible, lest we hear the question all
Floridians dread: "I thought you moved to Miami. Why are you so pale?"

Picture this: You go out Friday night and get hammered. You stay out drinking until 4 AM only to be awoken on one of your two days off by an alarm at 10:30. Why so early? Because the good UV’s are only out from about 11 to 3, and since you are white, you most likely live in Pinecrest or Palmetto Bay, a good 45 minutes from the beach. If you’re lucky. You drag your ass out of bed and fight traffic, eventually putting your towel down next to the lifeguard stand at 8th street. It is 93 degrees with 85% humidity. Hotter than bloody Hell. No sane person would be outside for more than half an hour in this heat. But you stay. Soon the kids form Kendall and Westchester show up, blaring their Reggaeton and talking in Spanglish into their cell phones about nonsense you are glad you can only understand part of. Because the story about Alex and Marisol hooking up at Ale House last night is slightly more bearable when half the words are in a language you choose not to understand. You try and read your book, but it is fruitless as the noise of terrible music and mindless chatter are deafening. But you stay. Dreanched in sweat, you try and go in the water to cool off, only to find the Atlantic Ocean is roughly the right temperature to cook linguini. It is hot and you are pissed off and hungry and just want to go home and go back to sleep. But you stay. Why? Because you’re dedicated to your tan, that’s why. Those UV’s are yours, and you’ll be damned if some punk kids form west of the Turnpike are going to take them away from you.

On days when you don’t have to be at work until 1, you get up early and lay out by the pool. No errands get run or shopping gets done during your free time when it is sunny out, because that would be squandering your opportunity for more melanin. Call me an addict if you want, but my tan gets me laid.

That’s right. Tall, dark and handsome. That’s what the ladies love. I’m 6'2" but I don’t have the best looking face in the world, so a tan makes the difference between one and 2 out of three for me. Did you notice how my dark skin contrasts my blue eyes? So do I. Notice how my tan accentuates muscle definition? Shit took me nine hours in an outdoor sauna last week, you’d better fucking notice. This color does not come natural, folks. I had to work for every inch of brown skin I have.

My Mom is Russian, for Chrissakes. Every time I lose my tan, I have to go through one excruciating sunburn to get my base back. And let me tell you, trying to sleep when every skin cell in your body is on fire does not make for a pleasant night. But I grit through the pain because I know the glory of the end result. Skin cancer, you say? Bah! That shit was invented by people from northern cities who were jealous. Wrinkles? Men look distinguished with lines in their face. Right now I only know one white guy who tans better than I do, and I am pretty much convinced he’s half-Mexican anyway.

So the next time you see a guy tanning in a salon or on the beach, appreciate the discipline, dedication and toughness that a great tan requires. Know the hours of painful sunburns and grueling days on a hot, crowded beach that were needed to forge its creation. Know the time commitment and sacrifice that was put forth to look like a bronze God. Tanners are not wimpy metrosexuals, they are men willing to endure great physical and mental hardships to achieve their goals. When I was in my Marine Uniform, people used to stop me on the street and thank me for what I did. I think I should get the same appreciation for the work I put into my tan. Because while boot camp was three months and my contract lasted eight years, a good tan is a commitment that lasts a lifetime.



At 1:31 PM, Blogger Sofi said...

Alex and Marisol hooked up at the Ale House? Oye!

At 10:16 PM, Blogger angel, jr. said...

I've seen some people go to the extreme of buying that fake tan stuff. It makes their skin look dirty/like they have been playing with orange play-doh.

At 10:51 PM, Anonymous nicole said...

Okay, so my blog feed JUST NOW decided to inform me that I've missed the last seven posts you've published. And for that I am infuriated.

I honestly have no idea why this thing is glitching but I'll try to remind myself to check your blog every day. Even if the feed says I haven't missed anything.

Emphasis on the word "try."

Oh and Ash gave me the heads up on the Alf photo before I even got here. That thing is BRILLIANT!

At 11:09 PM, Anonymous Cliff said...

How bout actually being in Miami and constantly having people ask, "Do you REALLY live here?"

At 7:33 AM, Blogger Tara said...

I'm from Ohio...The only sun we get is either in Spring or Summer. I'm very pale, but I refuse to go to any tanning booths. I did lie out in the sun last year during one of our hottest summer days and I got a burn. I was so proud. I peeled a bit but the rest turned into a noticeable tan. Yay!

My friend is pale too, and when we visited my brother last July, we were all in the pool and a helicopter flew by. My brother said the copter was flying by to see where the glare was coming from. Of course he was joking about our pale skin. He's in Arizona and really isn't as tan as he should be.

At 8:53 AM, Blogger Kirsten said...

let me just start out with I too live in Florida...but for me, I am sooo totally opposite from you, course maybe because im female..lol..I personally do NOT go outside until at least November, maybe October if we get a good cool front...To that extent, I check the mail very rarely, cuz hey...thats why I have kids...I go from the house to an air conditioned truck...I do open the window for smoke escape, so I have that "driver's tan"..ie my left arm from t-shirt arm down, and my left leg..from shorts down...yes...I look ridiculous...do I care??? absolutely not...I hate to sweat, I don't do the beach, which is maybe ten miles from my house..and its not from worrying about skin cancer...hell...I smoke...hellooo...lol...nope...im an air conditioner girl allll the way...(and damn it, it's broken, too...) so, I guess, tho, that I should say to you GREAT TAN dude..the work is sooo paying off
Have a great day
:)Just me

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Ashburnite said...

Alf has never looked so good!!

At 11:57 AM, Blogger jenjen said...

Occasional breeze, 85, but 'it's a dry heat', 75 degree water so refreshing! AAAAahh the West Side Story.
Your wrecking your skin Dade.
Just realized the reason why all moms look older than me is that they have the time to bask in developing wrinkles.
I'm so lucky...

At 12:44 AM, Blogger Miamista said...

Great having you man. Miami/NY - great mix. I'm gonna try it as a permanent solution to having multiple blogs.

At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post ... I am actually one of the last white men living in the heart of midtown Miami, it is indeed work to get a tan. I have to stay tanned to keep from being detected as a white guy in Miami. But I do think you've gone beyond tanning on into Leather Mode, which is realy popular at Hollywood Beach. The older women there, they're all past leather into Raisin Mode ...

At 7:51 PM, Anonymous J said...

Good call dude. Ppl in the north can never appreciate that I am too lazy to go to the beach though I am usually near by (sob, in my RSMAS days). Luckily a little melatonin does me good!

Good to be back commenting...


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