Bottle full of promises

Go ahead, take a sniff. You’ll feel better. I promise – I do.

I screw open the top, take a whiff and no matter what time of year, it’s summer and  I am at a hot spring resort somewhere in northwestern British Columbia, Canada swimming in a pool that becomes a Coppertone oil slick. Why we need suntan lotion in the wettest climate north of the Amazon rainforest, I don’t know.

It’s the promise inside the bottle, the colour of desire, the colour I want to be but can never attain – a sizzling brown, gleaming like a piece of jewelry in the sun, so dazzling people have to turn away. It’s the promise of tan lines and naughty white flesh beneath my bikini, innocence fenced by the hussy of my tanned hide, flaunting itself in the rays of the brazen sun. Welcome, shameless gaze!

Instead I get sunburned flaky skin, freckled and hot, forever pallid. No matter how often I peek beneath the straps, the colour differences are the colours of the Canadian flag – red and white. The bottle slumps in despair at the impossible task being asked of it. It is whispering to the molecules inside: “Why she bothers is beyond me. Oh well, here comes the squeeze. Brace yourself. We’re gonna do our best to make this kid look like a California dime. With any luck she’ll blend in with all the other bodies draped over their towels, twisting their necks backwards to see what colour their legs are turning.”

It’s beach play with shovels and pails, sandcastles and leaky moats, pebbled garrisons, driftwood damsels with seaweed hair. Sand dimpled skin, crusted with salt, bathing at the end of the day and watching my castle swirl down the drain. Tomorrow, I will build another castle even bigger and better and tell a new stick-people story.

Better than white wine spritzers, it’s a spirit lifter with no calories, at least not if used as directed. Maybe it does have calories if you drink it, but I’m not suggesting you drizzle Coppertone on your Mai Tai, just replace your body lotion with it. Slather it all over your summer starved limbs and cod-belly-white torso, lovingly rub sunshine into your day. Transport yourself to the beach with a good book that doesn’t get read, that sits on your chest as you watch the waves tumble up the sand, bubbling possibilities reaching for your toes …. whoa, is that Bradley Cooper walking towards you?

It’s Innocence. It’s Carefree. It’s “I’m too young to get cancer. What’s cancer? The sun gives you cancer? But I’m too young.” Before wrinkles, before caring, before knowledge, before the first time you glance in the mirror and see freckles that aren’t. Before the scolding dermatologist. Before SPF 3000.

11 thoughts on “Bottle full of promises

  1. Cynthia Jobin April 19, 2015 / 1:40 pm

    Ever try that instant tan in a bottle? But it sounds as if you have a sensuous relationship with coppertone….and I bet their company advertising department might smile upon you with a bit of their filthy lucre….


    • redosue April 19, 2015 / 2:33 pm

      I love filthy lucre! Yes, I tried that stuff – what was it called? It turned my pale skin a kool-aid orange.


      • Cynthia Jobin April 19, 2015 / 4:24 pm

        I tried it too, when I was a teenager and they first came out with it….looked like I had a terminal case of jaundice….


  2. Julie Ethan April 19, 2015 / 4:11 pm

    Bradley Cooper. Mmm. I’m just gonna let that image linger in my mind.


    • redosue April 20, 2015 / 5:11 pm

      Originally I had Ryan Gosling as my chest of choice but as I was Googling (or ogling), I saw dear Mr. Cooper and my mind was changed. (Mr. Coopertone!)


  3. Bruce Goodman April 19, 2015 / 7:29 pm

    I find that by the time I get to dab the white patch on my bottom under the speedos, the contents of the bottle have been depleted on the paunch.


  4. Rosanna April 23, 2015 / 12:53 pm

    People are strange. Caucasians want to get tanned because they’re white. In the Philippines, where most of us are brown, people want to have fair skin. So, whitening soaps. lotions and drugs are best sellers! There are many shops offering Glutathione injections – they promise fair skin in a matter of days!

    Liked by 1 person

    • redosue April 23, 2015 / 1:44 pm

      Sigh. We humans are puzzling creatures. In my advanced years I am now suffering the consequences of too much sun bathing as a teenager. I wonder what these whitening agents you talk about will do in the long-run?


      • Rosanna April 23, 2015 / 2:08 pm

        Who knows? They’re chemicals. But what else is new? Once upon a time a lady who worked in a salon told me that it’s crazy working there – women with straight hair have them curled; those with curly hair have them straightened. I was guilty of that once – had my straight hair curled repeatedly. Now my hair is frizzy and I have to use a conditioner that smooths it. Ooops, that means I belong to the crazy majority!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. D. Wallace Peach May 18, 2015 / 1:28 pm

    Stay out of the sun. I know. I know. The allure of the tan. I had it too. The first tan of the season, slathering on the baby oil and baking in the picnic table in May. I was never going to get old and have age spots. Oops. Guess what? The skin that never saw the sun is still gorgeous, but the rest…is history.


Render your thoughts into (virtual) reality.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s