“Moooooommmmm! I’m getting snow blinded from the glare off your WHITE legs!” bellowed my son.
Yup, I was born white, pasty, pale and now colorless. For a time in my childhood, I had a faint touch of pink with a broad sprinkling of freckles everywhere, but overall I was just plain white! When we lived in Washington, I seemed to fit in with everyone, but when we moved to the California beach in the 60’s, white definitely was NOT “in”!
Dark brown was the color of choice down there, and I worked so hard to fit in. On the weekends, I would rise from bed, gulp down a quick breakfast and dash off to the beach to soak in as many ultraviolet rays as possible. I was going to convert myself into a golden-bronze goddess with long, blond hair like the rest of the surf bunnies. However, I was going to need some magic here as I was tall, white, with medium length, auburn-reddish, naturally, curly hair that frizzed at the mere mention of moisture.
After years of lying in the sun, I think I did succeed in burning off any freckle I had on my body. Now, not only do I not tan, I’m whiter than when I started! I always thought the ultraviolet rays would attack the people with crocodile skin… not this white pansy.
Who KNEW what ultraviolet rays would do? After all of my years lying in the sun I now deal with skin cancer… so now I’m polka-dotted!
I was never able to tan either–white-white skin and freckles, same deal. It was so frustrating when I was younger. I burned so badly whenever I was in the sun that I gave up trying to tan altogether and spent a lot of time searching out the shady spots–probably a good thing in the long run.
We had moved from the NW to the sunny beaches of So. California and I was a teenager. I hated being at home. I love the water and the freedom of bicycling so I was ALWAYS out at the beach from sunrise to sunset. Yes, I can’t tell you the number of times I had second degree burns on my face and body. Yup, I’m paying the price now. I no longer try to tan but my physical therapy is walking. My dermatologist told me about a heavy duty sunscreen that I spray on now. If I were to wear shorts now… my legs don’t even tan, they rash. The joys of growing up or old or something. But, I DID have fun on the beach. I LOVE the sound of the surf, the crash of the waves, and the sound of the crazy seagulls…
Thanks Kern for stopping by. It is nice to know that someone else is as white as I am! You can relate!
Hi Kern, For some reason your Blog supposedly “isn’t there.” When I try to comment it says your page disappeared… yet I read about your love for umbrellas. That reminds me… my umbrellas blow inside out. I just wear a hood these days. So are you in Vancouver, Canada or down in Vancouver, Washington?? You are a NW person too.
Oh, Gwynn, you poor thing. Reading your article makes me happy that I have a beautiful middle coffee brown tan that I wear year end and year out. 🙂
Forget the tan. It’s not worth it. Just be your beautiful white self. I like you the way you are.
I’m chuckling Pat. I worked SO HARD to get a tan like you!!!! I did manage to lobsterize myself more times than I can count. The joys of being a teenager at the beach. Now, I don’t even try to tan, but my walking does provide that for me. I have to use a strong sunscreen now! RATS… and you don’t even have to try to tan as you already have a beautiful tan… I’m jealous!!! 😉
I used to try to lay out in the sun, but I never could sit still long enough to get anywhere. It’s a good thing, because I, too, have pale, freckled skin, with some good ol’ Celtic ruddiness on my cheeks. I do get some tan throughout the summer because I’m outside so much, but I’m at peace with my paleness these days.
As a teenager in So. California, I was either body surfing, riding my bike, walking the beach, or lying in the sun reading or listening to my radio. These days, since I’m in my mid-60s, my sun worshipping is limited to my walks around town covered in sunscreen. Join the pale-skin club!
Funny how people always want what they don’t have. People with straight hair curl it, people with curly hair straighten it. White people risk their health (and early wrinkles) to tan their bodies while some people with naturally darker skin wish they were white. (This from my son’s Filipina wife with lovely natural tan skin who wistfully looks at our white skin with longing while I’d rather mine was more the color of hers. It never will be though because I don’t go out in the sun without sunblock, sunglasses and usually also a face-shading hat.)
Sorry to hear about your skin cancer issues. I hope it is at least just BCC and not something more sinister. Thank goodness for Moh’s surgery!
Yes, I always admired the people who tanned such dark shades. Me, I’d just mostly tan red. Everyone would say, “ohhhhhhhhh does that hurt?” It does seem we admire every other trait but our own. Fortunately, my skin cancer is NOT melanoma! But I do look polka dotted a lot because of the cancer creams I have to use periodically. Bummer! With all your cruising, I assume you stay covered up!
I used what I thought was sunblock since it said so on the label. I recently got a BCC taken off my ear (and my dermatologist says ears and noses get the most skin cancer.) The dermatologist says it is not the number that matters, but the ingredients and said the ones marked sunblock in the stores are really sunscreen and that it has to have zinc and another ingredient that I can’t remember at the moment to be sunblock. So now I have an expensive sunblock from the dermatologist’s office which is labeled as sunscreen.
I had skin cancer lasered off my legs, and dug out of the side of my head. The hole looked like the Grand Canyon. Now I really do have a hole in my head! Plus, I have had spots burned off of my arms. My dermatologist told me that Neutrogena has a mist spray that is 70 SPF that I have been using on my face and arms since I walk everyday. We’ll see if it works.
But, as a kid I REALLY did fry myself quite badly. Now I am paying the price, big time!
Hello your Majesty! Love the corn popping graphic!
My father was dark, my mother fair. My sister and brother fair, I was the dark one. I like my olive skin and used only olive oil as a teenager. I remember my husband to be fetching me from the airport MANY years ago after I’d been holidaying in Cape Town and he didn’t recognise me. I was teak coloured. I still don’t use sunscreen and sometimes burn a bit when bathing at the beach ..
So, from the darkie to the whitey .. be yourself and you’re beautiful!
Your humble servant.p.s. Kern’s post is now accessible, I had the same problem earlier ..
My dad tanned easily, but my mom was fair, as was my brother too. My brother was not a fan of biking or swimming so I’m the only one who deals with popcorn popping skin! RATS!! I want to be tan like you and Patricia! 😉
Yep, we all do try to achieve the beautiful color skin that Patricia has naturally. And, Susan — teak. I tried to achieve that with my light olive skin — but the only place I’ve ever tanned quickly was Florida; otherwise I my skin seemed tan resistant. Both my parents, though, had skin like yours, Gwynn. When I was a kid, we could not go to the beach without a really good beach umbrella, and even then, in the shade, they burned.
Since your parents were both so fair, who did you receive your olive skin coloring from? I’m jealous! Did you ever try using olive oil or cocoa butter for tanning?
My light olive skin is from my father’s side of the family, Gwynn, as is my thick brown hair; his was dark and flyaway; Mother’s was dark, too. I used baby oil & iodine in high school. Think I tried olive oil, too, and cocoa butter. Best was Florida, though — five minutes in the sun and you’re done, without even trying. Most of the time you have to wear long sleeves and long pants to keep the bugs off.
I did the same. I insisted on a tan until I burned myself but never tanned properly. Come to think of all the hours we spent in the sun without proper sunscreen. Sorry about the skin cancer issue. An aunt of mine sees her dermatologist couple of times a month, dealing with all sorts of issues from the years she’d spent in the sun back in the day. Oh, the days of the foolhardy youth.
Mostly the doctors didn’t know much about skin cancer then. Also, sunscreens weren’t too readily available. Besides, like Susan, I used olive oil and cocoa butter… I wanted to be DARK brown. Now, when I put my shorts on my legs get red racing strips. I may be allergic to the sun there. Oh well, you live and learn… the hard way! 😉
Remind me never to show you the inevitable tan lines I get from standing in the sun for five minutes.
CC… so the tan lines are from your sunglasses or your bikini? 😉 Yes, my t-shirt lines look pretty funny. I can relate.