I have dyed my hair for so long I'm no longer confident what my natural color is. Every once in a while I get those teeth-whitening strips in a futile attempt to combat the effects of excessive coffee, tea and soda drinking. And generally, I paint my face and toes.

I know some people might find it shallow to worry about appearances too much, but given the expectations of the society we live in, I figure people who press that line too hard are either 1) naturally gorgeous, 2) so far from gorgeous that they don't have the time or money to do anything about it, or 3) oblivious. So, like everything else, keeping up appearances and taking care of myself is part of the great balancing act of life.

Some days are better than others.

I'm going to a wedding this afternoon, so I thought I'd try a spray tan to avoid being pasty-white in a dress. My past skin-coloration efforts have included tanning beds (which despite what some say, make me worry about skin damage) and self-tanning lotions (OH HOLY STREAKS).

If I went less extreme, I didn't really seem to get results. I tried to use self-tanner to fix some tan lines that had been branded in as faded sun burns just before my wedding. Those tan lines are clearly visible in my wedding pictures. (Yet another upside to divorce: no one really needs to see those anymore...)

So far, tho, I'm pleasantly surprised with the salon spray tan. It's a nerve-wracking process for a person who refreshes news Web sites every 5 minutes with the expectation that new news will have been reported and who fights annoyance when sources aren't immediately available (I have deadlines, people. Deadlines.)

The tanning spray has a leisurely deadline - perhaps because it's essentially sugar water (as the attendant told me when I asked if I really needed to hold my breath while being sprayed). The only possible oops-es I've found thus far is a faint blotch on the underside of one arm, which I'm not sure is really that visible, and little white spots in the webbing between my fingers. And, really, who is going to look that closely at the webbing of my fingers?

It develops within 3 to 6 hours - which puts me becoming "medium" tan within an hour of this wedding. So if horror upon streaky, splotchy horror strikes, I will be fervently exfoliating just before Danielle walks down the aisle.

Yes, yes, I often am THAT person. I'm not actually GOOD at being superficial.

(For those who have never had a spray tan and are curious: Multiple jets mist you up and down inside a square chamber the size of a bathroom. They had me watch a little video first that suggested holding my arms away from the body and flexing my wrists and spreading my fingers to avoid white lines. I was sprayed for 14 seconds from the front, turned around, and was misted from the back. They have you put a blocking lotion on your fingernails and toe nails beforehand, and afterward, you just blot off the excess.)
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