Tan, I Am!

One time, I thought it would be funny to return home from a February weekend in London with a tan. I’d been bumped up to first class, and spray tanning was one of the myriad ways to waste time/indulge yourself in Virgin’s Upper Class Departure Lounge at Heathrow. So I did it, and for the entirety of the seven and a half hour flight home, I smelled like a combination of wet dog and embalming fluid. When I looked in the mirror, there was an Oompah Loompah staring back at me, and the Paul Stuart shirt I was wearing was ruined forever. Not only that, but as soon as I took a (badly needed) shower, the water spiraling down the drain resembled sewage, and after toweling off, I simply looked as if I’d contracted a weirdly orange strain of rosacea. Lesson learned: Jokes sometimes backfire.


So the other day, when a friend of a friend contacted me, I was leery, to say the least. She had opened a spray tanning salon in Boston and wanted me to check it out.

“I don’t want to look like a Cheeto,” I said.

This place was different, she said. There’s no smell, and it looks completely natural, she promised.

So I said what the hey. On Friday, I went to the Femme Fatale Airbrush Tan salon, and stripped naked (I don’t care what Tom Ford says; I hate tan lines). Amy said she could go however light or dark I wanted, but being a believer in the “Go big, or go home” philosophy, I told her to make me as dark as possible. I wanted to look like the kid in “Life of Pi.”


So she misted me all over, and I must say it was an odd sensation to feel cold while getting tanned. Then I stood in front of an industrial fan to dry and marveled in the mirror at my ten-minute trip to the tropics. At lunch, my friend Rina kept saying I looked amazing, but that could have been the bottle of Sancerre talking.

That evening, I had a black tie gala for Save Venice to attend, and my date, as we entered the Boston Public Library, said, “Jesus Christ! You look like George Hamilton!” Throughout the evening, sundry people asked if I’d been somewhere like St. Barth’s or Aspen. I told one of them that I’d been helping the freedom fighters in the Sudan.


So now I knew the secret to Jennifer Aniston’s permanent sun-kissed glow: The Infinity Sun System, which Femme Fatale uses.

“Best of all, there’s no sun damage,” Amy had reassured me. Which is great. Now let’s just hope they don’t discover that the chemicals they use are carcinogenic.