I studied in Liverpool, in the North of England, where there are a lot of Tanning Salons and many people with dubious tones of skin (sorry to conform to a stereotype, but it’s honestly based on what I observed). I remember a female friend at university visiting one of the salons and returning to class pretty much bright orange. She’d fallen asleep on a tanning bed and the automated stop timer failed to kick in. I’ve been wary of these human toasting machines ever since.
Despite being fully aware of the many health risks associated with using a sunbed, I thought to myself that surely one ultraviolent radiation blast can’t be that bad, so I headed to The Tanning Shop in London Bridge and kept my fingers crossed I wouldn’t get cancer for Christmas.
On The Tanning Shop window there was a huge image of some beautifully tanned women frolicking together on a beach. As I sheepishly opened the shop door it dawned on me that perhaps men don’t use Tanning Salons, I had no idea, and I suddenly felt a bit stupid. Luckily, I was greeted by a very friendly, if slightly over tanned, member of staff who answered all my questions. She informed me that lots of men use fake tanning facilities, in fact, at that branch there were more male than female customers, although it is very close to the City of London so I imagine all the bankers need to constantly boast their natural glow.
After being assured I wouldn’t turn orange, it was only two days till Christmas and I didn’t want my family thinking I’d been ‘Tangoed’ by Santa, I was left on my own with the Sun Angel S52 – the world’s most advanced lay down tanning technology (apparently). I took all my clothes off and got on the huge sci-fi looking bed and pressed the start button as instructed. When the machine burst into life I pretty much shit myself, it was terrifying, but once I closed the lid and acclimatised to being in the brightly lit cocoon I actually found it quite relaxing.
As I laid naked in the bed listening to loud House music being pumped through the integrated speakers (I did say it was the most advanced technology) I suddenly got the fear that I wasn’t meant to get completely naked and perhaps you’re supposed to leave your underwear on. I felt quite vulnerable as a feared someone could open the lid and recreate the scene from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. I also kept getting flashback to my friend’s orange face and I started doubting how advanced the advanced technology was – the last ten minutes were quite unnerving.
When I got off the bed and looked at myself in the mirror, my face was covered in red blotches and I looked a bit ill – shit. However, about an hour after the experience I discovered I had quite a nice tan and I was surprisingly impressed with the results. As I dashed around the shops doing some last minute emergency Christmas gift purchasing I was expecting strangers to shout “Hey Mr, you been somewhere nice?”, but of course they didn’t
In conclusion: I think I’ll want for my holidays to get another tan; I don’t want to push my luck.