Friday, April 29, 2011


Now days, we put all this gobbledy gook on our bodies before going outside. We use stuff with a 100 zillion SPF. Cover ourselves from head to toe. Wear a hat that is bigger than a sombrero. And heaven forbid if you even think about getting into one of those tanning beds.

When I was a kid, about all we wore in the summer was a pair of shorts. And if you went out with your parents you would put on a T-shirt and some flip flops, and you were good to go. We used to lay out in the yard for hours. We wanted to get a tan! The darker the better.

I remember summer days of riding my bike and just about every house I went by I could hear a radio blasting tunes and there was somebody, with some friends, laying out on towels. Catching some rays, as we called it.

For getting a tan you needed a towel, some type of tanning lotion, a radio, and some one to slather the lotion on you. And a garden sprinkler to cool off with every so often.

To help us get a tan faster, we used to take a bottle of baby oil and add some iodine to it. First coat or two, we were kind of orange. Then, as we got a bit of sun, it turned a darker orange. We'd you do this every day for several weeks, then POW! We had a dark tan!

Then they came up with a suntan lotion called QT. It was a ready-made tan in a squirt bottle. Man we used that stuff by the gallon in the summer time. We didn't even need the sun. Only bad thing about it, was it left the palms of our hands tan also. We would try to wash it off our hands, with about half a bar of soap and a thousand gallons of water. We got the stuff off our hands, but then we had white hands. If we sweated when we had this stuff on our faces, boy howdy, did it burn! The best way was to have someone else put this stuff on you and let them walk around with the tan palms.

Then there were those people who never used suntan lotion and they had great tans. It may have taken them a bit longer. Their tans seemed to last longer than those of us who got it out of a bottle. Some of them would have a tan until October or so.

Back in the 1800's it was not cool to have a tan. If you were gentile, or upper class, you wanted to be lily-white year round. Only the lower class of people had tans. Some people had what is called a "farmer's tan." That would be your face, hands, neck, and arms. And maybe your upper body if you were a man. Women were looked down on if they had tan arms or hands. That showed that they worked outside alot, and were farmers and such.

It used to be that if you had a tan, like when I was a kid, you were healthy. And tans on people in the summer meant that they were healthy. And now, it seems that we are going back to us all being lily-white. They say we should stay out of the sun if we can, and if you can't, then be sure to slather yourself with this goop that will keep you from getting any sun rays on you. Or maybe one that says you can have a natural tan if you use this cream that gives you a instant tan. It colors your skin, and it looks like you have a tan until you take a bath. Then it all comes off and goes down the drain. You then have to put more on. It never ends.

Maybe we should start using baby oil and iodine again. Sure, we can all be orange for awhile, then get darker as the days go by. One drawback to this is that if you miss a spot on your body, it really shows. Plus, you wouldn't have to worry about tan lines. And think how healthy we would all look.

So, get some orange hands this summer. And go tan!


  1. Wow -- that whooshes me back in time.

    My sister Karen and I would lay out with the radio on all summer. We usually put towels on the trampoline to lay on, then when it got too hot we'd hose it off.

    I miss QT

  2. You had a trampoline? Wow, all we had, was a back yard full of grass hoppers and dog poo. If we wanted to cool off, we would pick up all the dog poo. And then have a water fight for about ten minutes. Then we would all lay back down on our towels, and fry some more. I mean work on our tans.


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