50 shades of pale

Tuesday, 3rd February.


Sunburn. Photo by Phil Kates (flickr)

Man I’m cooking! Lobsters of the world, I feel your pain. The lobster, as a crustacean, wears its bones on the outside: this is why when cooked the flesh inside is steamed to perfection. As a human my flesh is on the outside and after a week in the tropical sun my flesh is certainly cooked and I sure do bear a resemblance to my pincered friend.

In Bali, only my Irish companion shares my plight as all other travellers appear to glow effortlessly, their skin simply absorbing the heat of the sun and transforming them to radiant golden caramel gods and goddesses. Oh Helios, where is the love for the pasty Irish?

As the days go by, the glare of my practically translucent whitish blue legs ebbs and is replaced with a new shade of pink, which in turn converts to bright red and eventually reaches lobster status. While this transformation is taking place I begin to obsess over the mysterious golden creatures all around me and try to mimic their tanning behaviours in the hope they might reveal their toffee-coloured secrets. My efforts are in vain, the caramel Gods retain their enigma.

I begin to question the Irish palate and wonder why it is the Irish have such an issue with tanning. Of course we don’t see a lot of sunshine at home, but that could be said of many nationalities and yet these have managed to bypass any tanning torment.  The Swedish, Germans and Canadians all manage it beautifully despite having extreme low temperatures during winter, in the sun they instantly transform into hot tanned bodies. It baffles me. Share your secrets with us, I implore you!

I believe a niche report on the subject is drastically required, a cry for any Irish person who has mastered the art of metamorphosing from milk bottle white to golden caramel, to please share your secrets. Please. We’re listening. With our SPF-60 sun cream in hand.

Aoife Lawless

Leave a Reply