In the name of fashion, many of us have made some…mistakes.  Perhaps you’ve bought a lipstick that looked nice in the store, but  made you look like Ronald McDonald when you tried it on at home.  Perhaps a dressing room mirror convinced you that you HAD to buy that blouse because “it really made your eyes pop”, only to discover in the more honest light of day that the mirror had perjured itself most profoundly.  And let’s not even get started on the haircuts.

I recently made a grievous error of the worst kind in trying to improve my appearance.  In Japan, it is the fashion to remain as pale as the day you were born.  I believe I’ve mentioned this before.  Part of the reason for this may be that the climate here does not lend itself well to tanning.  In June, it rains or is cloudy almost every day.  And when the sun finally emerges in July, it’s so hot and humid that you don’t want to go outside even to water the flowers.  You are forced to sequester yourself within the air-conditioning until at least mid-September.  So really, there are not many opportunities to get a decent tan.  For this reason, I have been using the Jergens Natural Glow lotion.  It works well.  It gives a very natural color and never streaks or spots.  Very easy to use.  But it’s a bit light.  Perhaps it was that small complaint which led me to try something new.  While I was recently in the States, I asked a friend if she used a certain brand of self-tanner, to which she replied no, but then gave me the name of another brand.  In fact, she gave me what she had at home of the other brand so I could try it.

Well, I got back and of course got busy and fell into my normal routine.  I forgot about the tanner she had given me.  Until she sent me a package with another, brand-new tube.  I decided maybe it was time for a change.  My friend had used it on herself, after all.  I read the directions, and scrubbed and shaved my legs in preparation.  Then I VERY CAREFULLY and VERY THOROUGHLY (this is important) spread the gel VERY EVENLY over my legs and feet.  Feeling confident, I went to read a book while I waited for it to dry.

Perhaps I was used to the fool-proof, overly-light Jergens lotion, which can be applied very liberally.  Perhaps I only imagined I was careful and thorough.  I have gone back to that fateful Monday night many times in my memory, yet I cannot account for the disaster that struck next.  I’m not quite sure how long it was after I applied the lotion (1 hour?  2?), but I looked down at my legs and was horror-struck by what I saw.  There, stretched out on the floor in front of me, were two legs that I would never have identified as mine if they had not been so obviously connected to my body.  They were streaked and spotted with brown.  There were huge holes, for lack of a better word, that looked as if I had purposely avoided them as I was applying the lotion.  While the tops of my toes were dark, the spaces in between were still pinkish-pale.  And the color that actually did show up was not a color that is seen in nature.  It looked like the melanin in the lower half of my body had suddenly revolted.

Needless to say, I have been avoiding skirts, capris and sandals since then.  I think I am on the mend, though.  After about 5 unbearably hot days of wearing jeans and shoes that cover my entire foot, it looks like I may be able to pull off a skirt tomorrow.  I hope one more good scrubbing in the shower in the morning does the trick.

I’ve included pictures below, but believe me that they do not accurately convey the ugliness.  Enjoy!

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