“Alright, Rachel,” I heard a muffled voice say from the other side of the door, “you ready?”
I gazed down at my completely naked body (not counting the tiny piece of disposable fabric they called a thong that was wedged between my asscheeks) and felt my heart pound. If we’re being honest, I’ve never been a big naked person. And I’ve definitely never been a “standing in the middle of a harshly lit room waiting for a stranger to stare at my body” naked person.
But, after spending an afternoon doing my favorite hobby (alternating between stalking people on Instagram and scouring Groupon) I came across something that made me hesitate: a $75 spray tan for $20, all done by a professional. And it just so happens that growing up in a beach town, I was always obsessed with being tan. I’d skip classes to lay on the sand and I spent a few too many years laying in a tanning bed, baking like a fucking chicken in order to get that perfectly crisp, oven-gold glow.
That said, as time went on and I got smarter and lamer, I got to the point where I just couldn’t bring myself to tan like I used too. Sure, I’m not opposed to spending a day on the beach or at the lake, and when I wake up with brown skin, I’m not upset about it. But I tend to reach for SPF 30 over my old SPF -50 tanning oil now, and I get out of the sun when I’ve had too much, as opposed to, you know, just fucking accepting it in order to look like a bronze goddess.
Still, as much as I’d like to say I’ve completely reformed my ways, I have to admit — everyone looks better tan. It’s just a fact of life. Your face looks better, clothes look better, and, of course, you look at least 10 pounds skinnier.
So, over the years, I’ve tried all of the sunless tanning lotions around. I’ve caked on the bronzer. I’ve stood in one of those coffin-like booths as a machine awkwardly spray-tanned my inner-thighs. But none of it was quite right. Nothing fooled me or the world or the cameras that I was a causally bronze, somewhat attractive person.
And then, it happened. After finding the Groupon and hesitating just long enough to stalk the skinny girl on Instagram I hate, I clicked “buy,” and scheduled an appointment for the very next week. And considering I was in back-to-back weddings, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
Still, as a random stranger came into the room and gazed at my naked body, planning how to transform my marshmallow physique into something a little more ~sensual,~ I wondered if I was making a mistake. I mean, how could this random woman who was venting to me about her divorce as she painted me orange, make the $20 and the humiliation of harsh lighting worth it?
And then, I saw myself in the mirror. She had just put down her aggressive-looking spray gun and muttered a casual (or creepy, however you want to look at it) “gorgeous” before telling me to stand in front of the full-length mirror.
I fuck you not, I had abs. The woman made it look like I had abs.
But not only that. My skin glowed, and she subtly made it look like I had muscle definition. I didn’t even recognize myself as I twisted and turned, not avoiding eye contact with my mirror-self for the first time in forever. Is this what hot people feel like? I wondered, as I shimmied back into my clothes and got ready to face the world.
For the next five days, my life has been different. Friends from college I saw at weddings gushed about how good I looked. People asked me what my secret was. I got 20+ responses from people with fire emojis when I put a picture of me on my Instagram story where I looked nothing like myself. I was finally living the life I was meant to live.
I realize of course, that as time goes, things will return to normal. People will realize that I actually am a bridge troll and not a tanned female who might be reasonably attractive. And that’s okay. I’m fine with that. Because now? I’ve discovered the secret. The key to happiness. All it takes it putting your ego on a shelf, standing naked in front of a stranger, and getting an expensive-ass spray tan for a discounted cost. And to all of you miserable people who don’t want to lose weight but want to understand what life is like as a hottie, the secret is finally here. Get on Groupon, get ready to strip down to nothing, and learn what life is like on the other, hotter, tanner side.
Trust me, it’s worth it. Until it washes off, of course. .
Image via Shutterstock