Big Brother
 Wine and Spirits
 Keeping it Reel
 White Noise
 Fist Deep
 Bar Crawl

Beauty is Only Skin Deep

As Defining Moment’s resident “guinea pig” for testing new products on the market, I elected to try out “Sally Hansen’s Spray On Self Tanner”, assuming it would give my pasty, Irish skin the sun-kissed glow it’s been lacking all of these years. The innocent, copper bottle seemed to be non-threatening, and promised that within mere hours, I could go from semi-Albino status, to reveling in the bronze skin of a Hawaiian Tropics model.

However, what was to be a harmless trial ended in tragedy…so hellish in nature it can only be described in the scribbled notes I jotted down throughout this journey.

FRIDAY 7:00PM: I begin primping for a night out on the town. One glance at my pale white flesh lets me know it is time to try out this miracle tan in a can. No longer will the sight of my pigmentless skin blind onlookers, or arouse the gothic community. I pop the cap of the aerosol bottle, and begin spraying myself from head to toe with, what the label described as, a “refreshing, odorless mist”. In reality, the fumes are so intense and highly unpleasant, it’s similar to sucking on an exhaust pipe. Lightheaded and slightly wheezy, I do not falter; I do not break, until my entire body is entirely covered in a layer of clear film.

“You look exactly the same,” Jonny O comments in confusion. Yet, I am secure in the knowledge that beauty requires time and patience, and in this case, it shall take “one to twelve hours”.

FRIDAY 10:25 PM: Jonny O and I have met up with friends at a local bar, and have begun drinking heavily. I’ve nearly forgotten about the application of the spray tan, but am abruptly reminded when the bartender asks me what happened to my face. Assuming he’s flirting with me, I respond with a coy, “Wouldn’t you like to know?” The level of drinking becomes elevated, and the remainder of the night slips into oblivion.

SATURDAY 8:30 AM: Jonny O is frantically shaking me from my alcohol-induced slumber. His screams seem panicked, frenzied. I awake, frightened of what may have occurred. He’s demanding that I look in the mirror, and his choked pleas fill me with a gut-wrenching dread. But nothing could prepare me for the horror we were about to endure. The reflection that looks back at me is that of a monster. I, too, join in with his screams. I crumble to the floor, and expose my arms, my legs. My worst fears have been proven true. I am deep orange in color, with darker, dirt like streaks smeared within. My flesh seems to have taken on a shriveled, elderly appearance, and the pale spots where the tanner didn’t work cause a cancerous, diseased look, almost as though the very cells of my being have rejected this substance. My skin appears to be rotting away. As I curl into a fetal position, I can still hear Jonny O’s sobs of terror, echoing throughout the house.

SATURDAY 12:05 PM: Jonny O has long since recovered from the initial shock of my skin tone, and is now unable to control his laughter, every time he looks in my direction. What has resulted in a horrific nightmare for myself, proves to be the highlight of his weekend. He has forced me to take pictures of my bizarre catastrophe in order to share our experience with the world, followed by calling loved ones to entertain them with the tale. Surprisingly, countless hours of scrubbing do nothing to rid me of my carrot colored nightmare. There simply is not a strong enough loofah in the world. My flesh has been rubbed raw, but the irritated redness is hardly visible beneath the deep, pumpkiny hue that has taken over. It seems the more I attempt to rid myself of this tan nightmare, the darker I become. It has become clear to me that the self-tanner is winning the war.

SATURDAY 10:15 PM: The Defining Moment Staff has been invited over, and with the assistance of whiskey, have succeeded in humiliating me to the highest extent. While I do my best to laugh along with them, I can’t help but feel as though my recently varnished skin color has caused me to become an outcast. Are the staff members’ jovial taunts that of a racially motivated nature? Are there other people in this world that suffer from “bad fake tan” discrimination? I yearn to find a chat room for others, like myself.

SUNDAY 9:35 AM: Jonny O is rocking a pretty harsh hangover, or at least I would like to believe this is the case. Reason being, upon opening his eyes, he rushes into the bathroom to vomit. This may be the result of viewing my stained, flaking skin, but I am hoping otherwise. It has been a full thirty-eight hours since the initial application, and the darkening process has finally ceased. My fingers and toes have taken the brunt of the damage, resembling wrinkled, burnt sausages. The remainder of my flesh is the color of cherry wood stain, with a pungent, somewhat unsettling aroma. As Jonny O heads back into the bedroom, the sight of a bronze colored bottle catches my eye. I am certain there is at least half of the can remaining. He smirks at me, clearly amused by my misfortune. As he drifts into a peaceful sleep, I reach for the can, and know what must be done. He sleeps on soundly, as I throw back my head, and laugh and laugh.

June 30th, 2005