Perhaps the weirdest aspect of the bodybuilding sport (next to posing, of course) is the whole tanning thing. The most basic question is: why do they do this?
1) To show more muscle striations and definition
2) To counter the harsh stage lights that wash everything out (think of actors wearing “stage” make-up.)
There are two tanning processes to go through. The first is getting a base tan, which I’ll cover here. The second, more odd process, is the spray on tan and oil coat right before the show, which I’ll write about later.
A base tan is helpful if you are extremely pale (like me.) If you live somewhere sunny and warm and have an hour or so to spare, put on your bathing suit and enjoy. If you are time pressed or reside in a climate challenged local a tanning salon is your other option.
Lisa: So how does this work? Do I wear a bathing suit?
Tanning salon lady: Well, most people don’t want tan lines, so they do it in the nude.
Lisa: Ooooooh…How long do I go in for? Like 30 minutes?
Tanning salon lady: You’re pretty pale. How about 5 minutes?
Lisa: I’ll try for 7 minutes. (I was paying for 30 minutes after all…)
She showed me the different bronzers, all super-duper expensive ($65 per bottle) and I was directed to room 8. Room 8 had country music playing. Eventually I discovered that each room had its own soundtrack. I stripped down and started applying the lotion. It felt pretty nice on my pasty-white skin.
A little brown towel was on the chair to wipe the bronzer off your palms, lest they turn orange. On top of the towel there were little goofy eyeball things to put over your eyes, but they didn’t seem to want to stay in my eye sockets.
It’s a good thing I’m not claustrophobic because when you get into the tanning bed you have to close it over yourself like a vampire in a coffin. Suddenly the bed started beeping at me. Oh s***! What did I do wrong? Lights and heat lamps went on in a blinding glare. Game on.
There were buttons in the top right corner that controled different things so I pressed the fan blower button just to check it out. A fan kicked on and one (1) of those goofy eyeball things fell off my face and managed to roll under the machine. Oh great.
Now, I want you to think of the most embarrassing spots you could possibly sunburn yourself…
That’s where I burned myself. Not to brag, but I also burned my armpits too. That’s pretty impressive for just 7 minutes.
Another fun thing I discovered was that while my front half and back half were tannish-pink, my sides were completely white because I had my arms at my sides. Apparently you are supposed to rotate like a rotisserie chicken during this process.
Oh well. I’m much better at it this time around!
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