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Auntie SparkNotes: How Can I Get My Pale Bod Beach-Ready?

Auntie SparkNotes: How Can I Get My Pale Bod Beach-Ready?

Hey Auntie,
Obviously I have a problem, and I'm not sure if it's enough to worry about. To start off, it's about (dramatic music) bathing suit season! I already know that I don't go to the beach often, but this is really a question for when I have to go to the beach as a family outing, because unlike me, they like to go to the beach.

A loooong time ago (a couple years actually) I was in a bathing suit that I was already uncomfortable in and as I was leaving, two attractive, tanned girls around my age were pointing a camera at me, taking pictures and laughing... at how pale my legs were. Because I don't wear anything above the knees, my thighs are extremely pale. Actually, all of me is pale, but it's really the legs I seem to like focusing on. I already want to get into better shape, but I don't know what to do about my pale legs. Even my family teases me about them. I don't have the money for a tanning salon, and I was wondering if you had any advice as to how I can feel more comfortable at the beach... Because I don't really want to ruin the good mood if they want to go the beach and I'm on the shore looking miserable. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated!

Well! For starters, you can take comfort in the fact that in another ten years or so, the obnoxious overtanned twits who mocked your beautiful porcelain paleness will wake up, look in the mirror, and discover that their skin has begun to develop the same wrinkly, sagging, well-leathered texture as a frequently-worn purse—a purse covered in CANCEROUS MOLES. (Seriously, y’all: sunscreen, on your face, every day starting now. You’ll thank me when you’re 30.)

And when it comes to feeling better at the beach, you have two options: first, if you really want to get some color on your perfectly pale bod, please skip the tanning salon (because sun damage! BAD!), head to your local drugstore, and pick up the lightest available shade of Jergens Natural Glow. (Write that down; this is one of those times that getting the brand name matters.) Seriously, this stuff is the business. Unlike other self-tanners, it builds up in subtle layers over the course of multiple uses, so that you can give yourself anything from a hint of color to a full-on bronzing—and unlike other self-tanners, screwing up an application will not make you look like you’re either a) suffering from vitiligo, or b) turning into a carrot. (Just make sure to wash your palms and let your skin dry completely before you put clothes on.)

But before you do that, do me a favor, and try this: making peace with your naturally pale complexion. Self-tanning is a drag to keep up, and learning to love the skin you’re in now will make it that much easier for you to focus on the pleasant parts of a trip to the shore—like sand castles, floppy hats, fresh shellfish, and reading deliciously trashy novels in the shade of a giant umbrella. (And if you’re wondering how to pull it off, look to alabaster icons like Cate Blanchett, Keira Knightley, and Dita von Teese, who are living proof that you don’t need a tan to be a serious beauty, at the beach or otherwise.) With the right outfit—some great sunglasses, an old-school floppy hat to protect your pretty skin, a hint of color on your lips and cheeks, and a bathing suit in a flattering cut and color (fair-skinned girls look great in subtle, lighter shades like dusky rose or mint green)—I bet you’ll find that pale and pretty go together just fine.

Have fun!

Do you have any tips for our beachbound Sparkler? Leave ‘em in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at

Related post: News Flash: Tanning Beds Are Death Boxes

Topics: Advice
Tags: auntie sparknotes, body image, summer, tanning, swimming, bathing suits, self-tanners

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About the Author

Kat Rosenfield is a writer, illustrator, advice columnist, YA author, and enthusiastic licker of that plastic liner that comes inside a box of Cheez-Its. She loves zombies and cats. She hates zombie cats. Follow her on Twitter or Tumblr @katrosenfield.

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