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Society’s Priorities

September 15, 2006

Today I joined the ranks of millions of Americans that I never thought I would join. I went to a tanning salon (I got the spray on fake tanner of course). (I figured that I might be on national television tomorrow that I wouldn’t want to look pale and pasty.) I must say that tanning salons are a much bigger business than I thought. Checking out my options online I found out that people are willing to pay thousands of dollars a year to look tan (and give themselves skin cancer). One would think that with all of the warnings about skin cancer people wouldn’t intentionally bake themselves in little ovens with stereo surround sound, but they do anyway. There were over a dozen large signs warning about the harmful affects of UV rays, but it doesn’t seem to deter people. As some of you may know, I am a devoted reader of Cosmopolitan magazine. It has some very interesting and witty articles and great fashion. One thing it has added in the last year is a strong stance against tanning (in the sun or in a salon). You would think that one of the highest selling magazines in the country might persuade its target demographic not to risk skin cancer. There was an entire issue this summer about the damage the sun (or sun lamps) can do to your skin. Even if cancer doesn’t develop, premature aging and wrinkling occurs. Human skin begins to look like leather. I personally do not tan at all anymore because I am already at an increased risk of skin cancer. I have had to have several abnormal moles biopsied in the last 2 years. Why society makes a year round tan desirable I understand. You look younger (until the wrinkles set in), you look healthier (until you have cancer), and you look slimmer (it’s just a trick of the eye). However, with all of the UV-free tanning options, why would you still choose to risk your health? Is a nice tan really worth that?

On another note, I think it speaks volumes about American society that Houston has 33 franchises of Darque Tan (one of the country’s largest tanning chains) and each location has over 20 tanning beds and is open 7 days a week from 8 am until 8 pm (11 pm M-F). Why would anyone need a tan at 10 o’clock at night?

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