The Naughty N looked decidedly orange.
With her head and neck jutting out of the therapy room door, she resembled a Maltanese Tortoise.
“It’s not that bad!” she hissed at me as I gawped at her. “It’s actually All Right.”
“Are you sure about that?” I asked suspiciously.
“Yes. Yes, quite sure. The girl who sprays you makes you feel very relaxed. Don’t you?” Naughty N looked up as a svelte, golden brown beautician sailed gracefully to the counter.
“I try,” Svelte Golden Brown Beautician smiled. “And your tan looks gorgeous.”
“Exactly!” trilled Naughty N triumphantly. “Now I’ll get changed and you can have your go, BETHAN.” She fired me a pointed look.
The door closed. Turning to Svelte Golden Brown Beautician, I mouthed, “She looks quite dark.”
“It’ll be fine. You simply leave the spray on overnight and then in the morning shower it off. You’ll be left with a beautiful golden tan. Just like mine.” SGBB then elegantly swept up the sleeve of her top to reveal a long arm, sun kissed with a delicate golden tan.
The tan looked nice.
“Do you promise it will look like that?” I sounded like my six year when he makes me swear I haven’t hidden diced leeks in his mashed potato.
OK. I took a deep breath and for a moment was infused with courage. It’s was all going to be fine. I simply had to get sprayed, get home and get showered. And then I would have a nice, mid winter golden tan.
However, my courage fizzled quite quickly when Naughty N exploded out of the therapy room, bringing with her an orange glow and the eyes of a woman who has seen things she should never have seen (like a war-zone journalist.) Twinges of horror, like machine gun fire, racked my body and before I could scream “I cancel! I cancel!” Naughty N had placed one mahogany hand on my shoulder and shoved me into the therapy room.
“In you go sweetie! And don’t even think about backing out,” I heard her hoot as the door slammed shut.
Inside it was small and quiet and hot. The usual massage table had vanished and was replaced by a large black, fabric Tardis. Above the opening were the ominous words, Fake n Bake.
“What am I doing? What am I doing?” the Squealy Bethan part of me spluttered, peering around, looking for a small window to crawl through and escape from.
“Calm down. It’ll all be fine. It’ll all be fine,” Zen Bethan replied soothingly (whilst also looking for a small window to crawl through and escape from).
Five minutes later I was standing inside the Tardis, jiggling from foot to foot, whilst wearing nothing more than a pair of paper pants (provided) , two large inner-soles stuck to the bottom of my bare feet (also provided) and feeling a tad self-conscious. I thought about Naughty N out there, sitting in the waiting room, glowing orange and biting her lip. And I knew that I had no choice but to go through with this. I couldn’t let Naughty N be orange alone.
This was my idea.
I jumped as the door knob twisted. Svelte Golden Brown Beautician silently glided in.
“Ready?” she asked, and before I could stammer “no – let me go” or negotiate my way out of this horrible predicament, she had rolled up her sleeves and with the grit of a hardened marine, picked up a mechanical contraption that looked like Henry Hoover’s evil sister. Pinning Hooligan Henrietta under her arm, Svelte, Golden Brown Beautician then aimed the nozzle at my body and without a word of compassion, proceeded to unleash a blast of cold, orange spray.
Three …. LIFT!
“There. That wasn’t so bad now was it!” Naughty N beamed at me when I shuffled out of the therapy room.
I bypassed her question and demanded, “Are you still wearing The Paper Pants? You’d better still be wearing The Paper Pants.”
“I am!” she declared and clapped with happiness. “You look Lovely.”
I paid very quickly, whilst trying not to cry. Then I instructed Naughty N to meet me at my house, pulled my hair over my face, ran to the car and drove home whilst trying to stop laughing, stop crying, stop looking at my orange cheeks in the rear view mirror and hide behind the steering wheel (all this being hard as well as dangerous).
Eventually I got home, rang my mum, insisted she had to collect the kids from school, then twitched hysterically until the door knocked and Naughty N dived in for cover. We drank coffee, panted, stared at each other and compared our orange-ness with the pine bookshelf in the kitchen. By now the colour was “setting in” and we were more orange than ever before..
Now, unfortunately for Naughty N, she was collecting other children as well as her own from school, so she was going to have to face all the parents whilst looking orange. Oh dear. Poor Naughty N. Sigh.
But fortunately I had already rung my mother to do the collection and fortunately for Naughty N I had a nice big hat for her to cover her face and neck before she went on her way.
“Why have we done this to ourselves?” she howled as she ran off down the road.
“I don’t know,” I replied hoarsely. “I really don’t know.”
But that night, at 3 am in the morning when I leapt out of bed, dived in the shower (I could not handle being orange for one moment longer) I DID KNOW. I knew why we had done it!
The idea to get ourselves sprayed orange in the middle of the bleak British winter wasn’t actually much to do with having a fake tan. It was the idea of doing something potentially hilarious and out of the ordinary. (I understand that for some people having a fake tan is very serious and ordinary, but being a bit – well – being a bit (not sure?), it wasn’t very serious or ordinary).
Anyway, I realised then that the reason we do silly things like this is for the adventure and laughter and absurdity and trying new things and learning new stuff. Stepping into the realm of the ridiculous KEEPS US YOUTHFUL, HAPPY AND GLORIOUSLY ALIVE.
It then occurred to me (still at 3am in the shower) that it’s so easy to become obsessed by looking younger, moisturising away wrinkles and warding off age but by trying to look young, we aren’t necessarily staying young. I mean, if you think about it, someone who has just nipped out at lunchtime to have a face full of Botox doesn’t feel young.
They feel relieved.
And in control of time.
And probably a bit cardboard stiff in the forehead department.
And after having a spray tan, I didn’t feel relaxed and sun kissed and full of Vitamin D. I felt slightly orange, a bit Essex and extremely sure that I didn’t want to go out for the rest of the evening. Having said that, it DID totally expand my realm of experience, I laughed until I cried and found a skin tone in common with my bookcase. All in all, the comedy of it made it gorgeousfying.
Fun = Gorgeousification
Fear/ Bitterness = Rusting of the mind, body and soul
Below is a video of the other thing I did for my birthday. It involved myself, Naughty N, Sarah the Serene and Katy Woo in an extravaganza of ice, dance routines and human caterpillars. V Gorgeousifying. (When I left that ice rink I felt younger than I have done in years! In fact, I think I felt about twelve years old ….) Hope you enjoy watching our epic ice sking skills. xxx
PS. No word from Heston. Am feeling slightly wounded. I bet he’s never had a write up like the one in the last post.
Damn you Heston! Damn you!