Monday, February 25

Oh, my!

It's possible this is the final evidence that I am not in Kansas anymore*. Obviously, once I mastered the bicycle as transportation idea, and learned to love coffee, it was clear that the assimilation to life in The Netherlands was nearly complete. But this? This I find a little disturbing and must admit to being more than slightly uncomfortable about.

The confession:
I have the skin color of a northern European.

I stepped into the shower innocently this morning, and took care of all the necessary grooming steps, not particularly aware of anything out of place or odd or strange in any way. It wasn't until I was toweling off and inspecting the shave job on my legs (I am still not very good at that, even after 30 years of practice) when I noticed there was very little difference in color, or lack of color as the case may be, between my winter-white towel and my shockingly pasty-white skin.

This is not to say that I have ever, ever sported a very deep tan. I am after all, a white--very white--girl born and white bread bred in Utah. I admit, when I was young I was enamored of getting a tan and did my fair share of laying out under the sky attempting to darken my skin, which only ever worked to a point. Now, knowing what I know about my skin, and more to the point, knowing what I know about sun damage I am a cautious sun worshiper and spend time under the cover of hats, glasses and sunblock. Though I have never been dark, I can say freely that I nurtured a healthy glow of sun kissed skin. Or at least I did under the Arizona sun.

And then I moved to Holland.

I don't know why it's bothering me so much this morning, but seriously if you could catch the glare off my epidermis, it would likely bother you too.

It is a matter of simple observation here that many, many, many of the Dutch attempt to stave off the white skin glare by lotioning up with the over the counter chemicals which promise to give you a summer skin. In reality, what those do (with over application?) is make the skin glow with an orangey-tone not unlike the color of newborn baby poo. Not to put too fine a point on it.

And really, that's not what I am after.

Poo-skin, white skin, or summer in Italy--

Which way do you lean?
*Dorothy to Toto in The Wizard of Oz


  1. White, sunless skin. I only burn in the sun so even as a little kid it was pointless to even try.

    I think I am personally bringing back the pasty-pale look of the Victorian era!!

  2. Yes, and if I could look so glamourous as you with pasty skin, I probably wouldn't hate it so much!

  3. Haha! I wish I could say I have a healthy glow... But, well... :D

    If you want to try the Dove version of body lotion, choose the one with silk glow, doesn't give a tan, but does give you a glow. Very nice. I love it!

    But if I should have to choose, I'd go for Italy. Well, I would prefer Portugal, but anyway, some Mediterranean country... Hmmm...

  4. Great! It's possible though that I am more frightened of orange stripey skin than I am of my very blinding white skin tone at this time.
    But, hear that? I feel Italy calling me...

  5. I'm a pretty pale chick even though my father is Greek. Fortunately, I have just enough of his blood in me to keep me from burning in the sun.

  6. You don't really expect me, Texas native living in NL for 20 years now, to have any sympathy now do you?

    The bad news is that when you do go out in the sun, the tolerance that you had built up in the past allowing you to be outside for longer than 10 minutes without burning is completly gone. Face it Darlin' SPF30+ is now your best friend!

  7. You don't really expect me, Texas native living in NL for 20 years now, to have any sympathy now do you?

  8. Yeah, I've noticed how blindingly white my skin is becoming over the past two months. I naturally have a bit of an olive complexion (enough that people in the States think I'm Italian) but now there's a definite glare off my post-shaved legs. And to make matters worse, we're spending our vacation this summer in Edinburgh.
    Next year I'm voting for a trip to Turkey.

  9. Oh and Jenn, I just read your posts about biking and thank you so much for it. I feel like such a complete and total incompetent butt head when I get off and on my bike. My boyfriend (and most of the people in Gent) has been riding his bike for twenty years while I, like you, only used it to play as a kid. It was so, so nice to read that someone else had a hard time getting used to biking as a means of transportation too.

  10. well glad you are not looking bottle-orange like :p.

    I'm really pale right now as well...but only 9 more days before my vacation to the sun! (where I'll use a lot of sun protecting lotions as well, and although I'll think I'm tanned, I suspect my colleagues will say as last year "oh really were you on vacation. Hmm not that visible though").

  11. Well, I've got Mediterranean skin so if I'm in the sun for a split second I go brown, so even when I was living in Ireland I managed to still have an olive tone.

    However, I usually do my best to stay out of the sun. I'm not a sun worshiper. I live in Miami and hate the heat and the beach. If I could be so blindingly white that people should need sunglasses to look at me I'd be a happy woman.

  12. I have skin that would probably tan under the lights in my office if I didn't wear long sleeves and pants. I can recall being sunburned exactly once in my life, and I spent a good portion of my youth as a blond with a gorgeous tan - until I hit puberty and the blond hair turned brownish-blond. The tan continued, especially when we lived in Florida, but then about 20 years ago my sister-in-law, my father and my younger brother all had brushes with skin cancer within a year of each other, and that's when I started covering up and/or wearing at least SPF 30 all the time. When I'm out skating in the warm months (skin hanging out), that goes up to SPF50. I'm still not white (olive-complected is the term, I believe) but I'm fine with whatever color I am.

    Darlin', fish-belly white is beautiful because that's who you are!

  13. If you are desperate for just a little glow that isn't orange try Jergen's - it gave my legs a slight tint that helped toned down the brightness. No one looks good in a year-round tan. That's just freakish. (check out George Hamilton, John Boehner, and John Thune for disgusting examples).

  14. Do you mean to tell me that you've never seen the nuclear glow of tanning beds emanating from behind Dutch windows?

  15. Hey white girl. I've tagged you and given you a gift. Come by when you can.

  16. And just think, you could have gotten that same complexion just by moving to Michigan! ;-)

  17. I'm pretty pale and white, too. I like to call it an "ivory" complexion, like they do in romance novels. You know, milky, white skin and all.

    Once, in high school, I used some sunless tanning lotion. I took a shower, towled off, then applied the stuff. I walked around the bathroom naked for the suggested amount of time, taking great care not to touch much or bend too much. Finally, I approached the mirror for the great reveal. I looked like someone had poured the lotion over me - drip marks running down my arms and legs, two giant hand prints on each shoulder, and the palms of my hands were a good 15 shades darker than the rest of me. And my mom still made me go to school the next day.

    Since then, I've learned to embrace my lack of color.

  18. I'm part of that white bread group you speak of too. But in my family, I was always the dark one. I was constantly outside and I tanned without trying.

    Somehow, I grew out of that, and I now look like a vampire. Seriously. Imagine the whitest possible skin that you've ever seen in your whole life, and then pair it with black hair, black eyebrows, and black eyelashes. Yup. Vampire. I'd probably make those Niederlanders look downright tan.

    I'm aiding SMID in her attempt to bring Victorian-sexy back. :-D

  19. Well, you can imagine how I look since I'm a Dutch-Indo and live in AZ. I have that perpetual "baked in the sun" look, year round.

    Then again, I looked like that even growing up in Indiana. That was part of the problem in the 1960s - I didn't look like everyone else in my neighborhood!