55.7 F

Davis, California

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Column: Beautifully brown

      There are things we all, as little Aggies, just seem to do during our stay here at Davis. For instance, this little Aggie has strolled through the arboretum. This little Aggie has taken a snapshot with an Egghead. And this little Aggie, like many others, handled his shit on Picnic Day.

      Come springtime, a visit to the Rec Pool is another Aggie favorite thing to do. But in all my four years, I had never been to the Rec Pool until this month.

      Like all good things, the Rec Pool is huge enough to brag about: DavisWiki reports it’s the largest freeform swimming pool on the West coast, holding about 500,000 gallons of water. It’s got lap lanes and diving boards and a big hilly lawn, tastily occupied by the beefiest of cake.

      Now, I go every week – though, not because I like to swim. Every Thursday, I don my speedo for one reason only: to tan my ass off.

      Some say a tan makes you look healthier – more radiant. Others say it helps you look thinner. Personally, I just prefer an even caramel color throughout. I tan mostly for upkeep – just like the mechanic who tunes up your car or the fluffer who keeps things up on the set of a porno.

      Had I been alive before say, 1920, my tan skin would not be all the rage. (Neither would my love of penis, to be real – any dick sucked could’ve ended in my execution. Homo acts were like, a capital offense.)

      In those days, the paler the gal, the better. No sensible woman would be caught dead without her gloves, full-length skirt and parasol – they kept her free from the sun’s skin-darkening rays. Women would use powders or even lead and arsenic to lighten their complexions. Tanned skin was not an option for the classy; it was associated with outside work and the lower class.

      Today, that’s hardly the case – indoor tanning salons with sun lamps and beds aren’t uncommon. When millions of Americans lay out on a tanning bed, they’re resting atop a multibillion-dollar industry. And while there’s always an influx of patrons come spring and summertime, tanning salons offer year-round services that many a bronzed customers take advantage of.

      If you’re looking, Amazing Tans and Nina’s Salon in Davis offer package deals for first-timers and seasonal tanners, and memberships for the more dedicated salon goers. On Saturday, I spotted a blonde leaving Target as I went in, her orange skin tone putting any carrot to shame. I wonder where she shopped for her glow. And how much she paid – these services come with a stiff price tag.

      I’ve never visited these locations, but I’m no stranger to tanning beds. University Village apartments in East Davis provide their residents with a free tanning bed. Two years ago, this little Aggie lived there and at one point, I’d find myself in a 10-minute session every other day. I abused the fuck out of that privilege.

      The conundrum of it all, as with most Americans who tan, was that I was never unaware of the negative effects. Studies prove overexposure to UV rays can cause skin cancer, make skin age and wrinkle faster, mutate DNA and weaken the immune system. Several trips to the tanning bed triple one’s risk of melanoma, a fatal skin cancer. The US Public Health Service states sun lamps and beds are “a human carcinogen.” And yet, Americans glorify the tan, its latest display within the catch phrase “GTL” of Jersey Shore infamy.

      When we take that next shot of Patron, or drop pills at a rave, or light up a blunt, we little Aggies clearly know it’s not good for us. But we do it, regardless of nagging consequences, because we want to feel a certain way, whether it’s buzzed, beautiful, blissful or blazed. I wanted to feel beautifully brown, so I tanned.

      To be fair, tanning isn’t all bad: Exposure to sunlight increases the production of Vitamin D in our bodies, which in turn can decrease cancer risk. The key is moderation.

      In excess, however, UV radiation is harmful. And after reading a New York Times article with scientific evidence proving the addictive potential of UV rays last year, I’ve since parted ways with indoor tanning.

      I strongly suggest you avoid it, too. Wave goodbye to any increased risk of cancer – the perks of a tanning bed can just as easily come from a nice sunbathe.

      Say hello to the sunshine and hotties at the Rec Pool, instead – it’s natural, free with the swipe of your AggieCard, and you can always multitask by using that time to catch up with readings or study. Or if you’d rather not, I’m sure you’ll find something to feast your eyes on. This little Aggie always does. 

MARIO LUGO binges hard on Vitamin D after he’s done with classes. Enablers:  Join him out at the Rec Pool tomorrow for a nice lay, and don’t forget your SPF. Concerned honeybees: Reach him at mlugo@ucdavis.edu if you think it’s time for an intervention.


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