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You always remember your first time

Laura Wilson
By Laura Wilson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 22, 2005
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My yellow-bellied beauty solution

I've never been one for following trends, but when I found myself stuck behind two fashionable blondes who had no problem blocking my path with their turtlelike gait, I couldn't help but wonder, what made these girls any different than me? Although they housed their notebooks in designer totes while mine were stored in a well-used Target knock-off, we were all obviously on campus to get the best education possible, right?

While their conversation seemed to revolve around whose boyfriend had the nicer car, I tend to talk to my friends about somewhat deeper topics like how awesome Nip/Tuck is and how we're afraid of growing up, but we all just do what we can to relate, right?

These questions plagued me for a couple of days (read: the 15 minutes before I realized I was hungry and needed lunch), but it wasn't until a friend outed my paper-white legs at a party that I realized that the only thing separating me from the rest of the UA population was a beautiful bronze exterior.

Unsure of how to remedy my pasty problem, I went to the only source I knew I could trust for such vital information: Cosmopolitan magazine. I figured that if any publication could inform me of all things skin deep, it would have to be Cosmo. After sifting through all of the ads of seemingly misplaced scantily clad women, I was left with approximately three articles, one of which addressed my tanning needs.

I called up my local tanning salon and inquired about the misting process. The woman who answered the phone must have been a genius because she was able to answer all of my questions with one-word answers. I inquired about the ingredients in the spray, as I'm allergic to almost everything I encounter, and I was ensured that I would have no problem, as "no one else had."

Armed with freshly exfoliated, moisturizer-free skin and loose fitting clothing, I entered the salon. Seemingly annoyed by my presence, the girl at the front counter commanded me to sit down in order to watch an instructional video. This high-caliber film taught me how to put on the goggles, a nose plug and booties that the facility was supposed to provide. As the movie ended, the lovely woman glaring at me told me that I would not be receiving goggles, a nose plug or booties, as they cause tan lines. Instead of such safety measures, I should close my eyes and hold my breath.

I was led to a small room and told to take of my clothes and get into the tanning machine. With my eyes closed and lungs full of air, I started the machine. As the first freezing blast of chemicals made contact with my body, I inhaled a giant breath of disgusting. It's hard to hold your breath when you're being fumigated.

After my one-minute assault, I got dressed and went home. On my way out, Ms. Sparkling Personality reminded me that results could take four hours to appear. For the next four hours, I waited in intense anticipation, regularly asking my partner if he saw any changes in my skin tone. As his answer continued to be "no," I started to get worried.

Two hours later, I received a call from someone who didn't identify herself, except to say that she was from the tanning salon. She was calling to kindly inform me that the chemicals had been mixed improperly and the bronzing agent had been excluded. She told me that I could come back at any time for free, but as I stared at my now yellowing stomach, I told her that I didn't think that would be such a good idea. A refund was not offered.

As the hours passed, my face broke out in hives. Apparently I'm the first person in tanning history to have such a reaction. To think that I spent money to turn yellow and rashy is embarrassing. Fitting in just isn't worth the pain.

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