Monday, May 28, 2012

Ghosts of Sunburns Past

It was Memorial Day weekend here in the states, and the Queen got out in the sun like most others.   Memorial Day marks the official start of the summer season so it was pool, beach and sun time around here.  And this brings us to another annual tradition.... the first sunburn of the year!  Whooohooo!  Okay, the Queen is NOT a fan of sunburns for herself or anyone else.  Please use sunscreen, people!  But I did underestimate the time I spent reading a book in the lounge chair by the pool apparently, and ended up pink anyway.  It wasn't  bad burn... I've been beet red before, but it was enough to make me finish my book inside the next day.  The funny thing was that as I looked at myself in the mirror this morning, I realized that I had a very thin line of white/non-sunburned skin all the way up the middle of my abdomen.  Just how does that happen?!  There was no sunscreen.  I couldn't come up with a position I could have been lying in to make any skin fold there, and yet there it is.  It looks like someone colored me pink then marked on me with a white sharpie.  It's NOT a good look for me, I can assure you.  It's a hardship but I will just HAVE to go without a belly baring outfit tomorrow.  (Okay, I'd have gone without a belly baring outfit anyway.)  It did, however, remind me of a few other interesting sunburns I've had in the past.  As a fair skinned blonde, I've had my share!

When I was younger, I was a wee bit on the stubborn side.  (No, you should NOT make any kind of comment here, MPH!)  In the summer, that stubbornness tended to come out in a refusal to wear sunscreen.  Sunburns were just part of summer.  You knew it was time to take a few days away from the beach when you were too burned to be able to lift your arms over your head to take off your t-shirt. (That only actually happened to me once.  I had to cut the thing off!)  That said, I still managed to get some interesting burns.  I remember the summer that I first got my Elsa Peretti bean necklace from Tiffany's.  I spent a lot of time on the beach that year, and one time I managed to fall asleep lying on my back.  Here's a picture of the necklace.

Needless to say I turned bright red on that occasion but only on the front.  The interesting thing about it was the perfect white "bean" that remained on my neck even after I took the necklace off.  It would seem I lay perfectly still the entire time and that bean never moved.  I got asked a fair number of questions about just what that white spot was, and let me assure you the necklace is much more attractive than the sunburn pattern it leaves behind!

Then there was the year in graduate school when I decided that I had a goal after my last exam in the spring.  I was determined that I could take my final morning exam fast enough to hop into my convertible, drop the top, race the two and a half hours down to the beach and make it there by noon.  I had on a bikini under the sundress I wore to the exam, and out the door I flew the instant after I turned in the exam.  Everything went as planned!  I made it to the beach in record time with only one problem.  You guessed it.  Turns out the sun comes off the black of the highway and really gets intense!  Who'd have thought?  Not me, it seems.  I was absolutely FRIED by the time I got down there!  It was horrific!  You could even tell which side the sun was shining from just by looking at me and how burned I was!  This had been a BAD idea.  I made it to the beach alright, but it was 3 or 4 DAYS before I could stand to be outside in the sun at all, much less actually make it onto the beach!  I think that was the last really bad burn I got.  They've been milder since then.  But then I also learned a really important point about sunscreen, which is:

Preach it!

On the other hand, I think we've all had those burns that you get when you somehow screw up the sunscreen.  You know the ones I mean, where you have one spot that you missed so you have this little bright red patch amidst pale whiteness.  Or you have the opposite, which was more likely to happen to me. Those are the ones where you put sunscreen on someone else and don't realize it when you wipe your hands on yourself.  I've never had a full hand print... and definitely never had someone write anything on me!... But I've had one patch of white in the middle of a good burn where I wiped one finger or something along my leg and inadvertently smeared one bit of sunscreen there.  That's embarrassing enough but worse is definitely the sunglasses pattern in a facial sunburn.  Yes, Kim Kardashian has done it and posted pictures online but you know what?  It looked awful on her too. So there.  


  1. The trick is to wait until the person has fallen asleep lying in the sun and THEN write on them in sunscreen. How else are you supposed to get the whole dirty limerick on there?

    1. And with that in mind I am NEVER going to sleep at the beach again.... and I'm keeping a really close eye on YOU, Missy!!!


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