Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The fake bake

I spent the morning at a local spa getting exfoliated from head to toe and then smeared with sunless tanner in preparation for the bikini photo shoot. (The shoot, by the way, is postponed until this weekend due to thunderstorms, and also because I couldn’t get the tanning appointment until today and the goo has to set on my skin overnight. Another side note, why does being tan make us look healthy when it is actually completely unhealthy? So annoying. Anyway, moving on.)

I’m actually excited about postponing the shoot because my sis will be sailing in the Chesapeake for the holiday weekend, so there will be the possibility of some shots on the boat in addition to beach shots. Options are good. Ropes and rigging are even better. Maybe I’ll bring the sexy boots after all…

But back to the fake bake. The aesthetician was completely sweet. She was a teeny tiny little thing, but she didn’t bat an eye when I told her I needed the full body tan treatment for a bikini photo shoot. She asked what the photo shoot was for, and I told her about the blog and tried to explain, without getting into my whole life story, how empowering this has been for me.

At one point, she noticed a tiny scar on the inside of my elbow, because the tanning fluid was pooling in the scar. She asked what it was from, and I explained it was from giving blood repeatedly. I am a very good blood donor. It’s easy for me. I don’t get squeamish, or faint, or anything. I don’t miss a pint give or take. The only time I have ever noticed any effect was the time I accidentally gave blood on Mardi Gras, not realizing what day it was. Later that evening, I was a hurricane and a half in, trying to figure out why my proprioception and balance were doing major loop-de-loops, when I remembered that I was a pint low. I was an extremely cheap and giggly date that night.

In the course of the blood donation conversation, it came out that she has never weighed enough to give blood. I asked; the limit to give blood is 115 pounds. I weigh nearly twice what this woman weighs. And you know what? It doesn’t matter at all. I had no emotions about her smearing sunless tanner on my thighs, which are probably the same diameter as her waist. I just measured a thigh to see if that is really true, and yes, it probably is.

I spent some time yesterday looking at photos of Sports Illustrated swimsuit models on the web. I figured if I am going to call this a “swimsuit edition” of the blog, I should know what I am referencing. I also wanted to get posing ideas*, look at the hair and makeup, etc. I looked at dozens and dozens of swimsuit models, and I was surprised how… neutral I felt about it. They look lovely. Young, thin, fantastic abs that have clearly cost plenty of time at the gym, large stationary hooters that have clearly cost plenty of money. I’m not a hater. They look beautiful. I just don’t like that we think we have to look that way in order to show our bodies. I wish we saw more varied kinds of bodies in bikinis, at the beach, at the pool, and in magazines. But none of the images, page after page of flat toned stomachs and long thin legs, made me feel any less beautiful or any less excited about my upcoming photo shoot. Self-love, once you find it, is apparently pretty resilient.

That is so cool.

* Regarding posing ideas, not so much. Lying on one’s side in the sand looks fantastic when one’s hooters stay where they are regardless of gravity. Not so in my case. My wonderful supportive bikini tops only combat gravity when it is going in the expected direction. When gravity is suddenly pulling to the side, I wind up with one “organic” ta-ta in the middle of my chest, one under my armpit, and neither in the bikini top where they belong. Similarly, lying on my back with my back arched, while sexy when I am naked, also leaves me with an oddly empty bikini top.


  1. I think I'd go for the one where you're standing with your arms outstretched holding a billowing scarf, with one knee slightly bent and hip slightly tilted. Oh, and throw your head back with your eyes closed to get that sexy windblown effect. Nothing squishy or fallen looking. Good luck!

  2. Don't worry, we've all done it at some point. Gotten home and gone to unpack our shopping and thought 'Why the hell did I buy this?'. Looks like I'll be steering clear of this product!
    Fake Bake