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Holy moly! How the dickens do you do that?  I have visions of me, rigid in bed, afraid to go to sleep for fear of sweating.  Can we do that?  I mean, deliberately stop sweating?  Surely not, or the entire deodorant industry would collapse.  And what a pity that would be, right?

Why would I be instructed to stop sweating for five hours? I hear you ask.  Well, some of you might be asking.  Some of you already know the answer.  Spray tan.  Here’s what happened.  The night before I was to board the Silver Whisper for this amazing cruise, I took the shuttle from my hotel to the nearby shopping center to do a few last minute errands. I was given a map of the shopping center at the hotel, complete with the name of each shop and restaurant.  Said map was as useless as tits on a boar, as they say. (Whoever “they” are, they surely could find a better example for their simile.)  Anyway, to be fair, the useless map might well have been very handy at some other shopping center.  Just not this one.  I eventually gave up on my original quest and went in search of a new one.

Actually, I was presented with the new option right where I got off the shuttle.  I was standing in front of it.  A tanning salon.  I’d never been to one, and thought it might be just the thing to start the cruise looking a little less pale from the mid-western winter (“less pale” being a euphemism for white as Elmer’s Glue).

I went inside to make enquiries.  “Do you do spray-on tan, or just the sun-bed?” I asked.
“We do both,” I’m told.  I wasn’t interested in the cancer-rays, of course, so opted for the spray-on version.  The choices and prices were explained, and I handed over my credit card with a sense of adventure.  Being fair-skinned, I chose the lightest spray.  Off to the little room with the tanning machine we went.  Those of you who have never done this might like to know that the little tanning ‘booth’ is a bit like a wee vertical carwash, except that you don’t drive (or walk) through, you stay in one place and perform what, in my case, turned out to be a sort of Egyptian Jive as the spray moves up and down.  Thankfully, there were no rollers with flappy things, or giant brushes… just the tanning spray.

I need to back up for a moment and explain that I was given a full set of instructions, including a description of every move, position, posture, and stance to guarantee my golf  swing – er, tan — would be perfect. I was also shown where to put my clothes, given a nifty cap, like they wear in cheese factories, offered disposable bra and knickers if I didn’t want a ‘full body tan,’ told to put lotion on my palms and fingernails and toenails, lest I come out with dirty-looking cuticles, instructed to remove all jewelry, and… what else?  I know there was more.  Oh, yes—how to turn it on.  My tanning pro then withdrew and left me to it.

Well, I can tell you now, it all happens a lot faster than you expect!  My Egyptian poses turned out to be more of a St. Vitus Dance.  It’s hard to remember all those details the first time, so I concentrated on trying to remember to close my eyes and hold my breath while the spray was around my head.  Everything else was a blur.  Little did I know, the worst was yet to come.

The very first thing I noticed when I got out, after being thoroughly blow-dried, like in a carwash without the wax, was the box of foot-shaped stick-ons that were supposed to have been stuck onto the bottoms of my feet so I wouldn’t tan there.  No big deal, I thought.  So the soles my feet get tanned—so what?  As it turned out, they looked like I’d been standing in a puddle of dark chocolate.  Not a good look.

But that wasn’t the end of it.  When I got back to my hotel and sat down to read the instructions for how to care for my new tan (sounded like I’d just acquired a pet) I read those fateful words:  “Do not sweat for five hours.”   So I turned the air conditioner down to 60° and waited.   I gotta tell ya, goosebumps and spray tan do not make a pretty combination.              MM