The struggles of being the pale friend

SPF 75+ is your best friend

It seems like everyone looks forward to the summertime, and I do too—who doesn’t love longer days to do whatever you want with? But there is a part of me that definitely dreads these three months, mostly because the sun stalks me like an annoying ex-boyfriend.

When you’re the “pale” one in your friend group, there are certain struggles that come along with it that people with even the slightest ability to tan will never understand. For example:

Hearing the world’s worst question: “Want to lay out?”

Um. Not really. Some people are able to lay out in the sun, slathering on the tanning oil, and end up with a beautiful, warm glow. Then, there are other people, who have to put so much sunscreen to avoid turning into a tomato, in which case laying out in the sun is kind of pointless.

What are tan lines?

Something you’ve never experienced, or if you have actually managed to turn even the slightest shade darker, this is a total moment of pride. More than likely though, your “tan lines” are more of a burn that has finally faded and your skin is so damaged that it’s actually discolored. Healthy.

Summer wardrobe

When you are pale and pasty, your summer wardrobe consists mostly of hats, cover-ups, and sunglasses—and you don’t even mind spending the money on everyone you see because for you, it’s worth it to not deal with the pain of being burnt.

You always have sunscreen

There are about a million different brands and strengths of sunscreen and by this point, you know exactly which brands are the best. Nothing is worse than slathering on a thick-mayonnaise-like coat of greasy sunscreen. And you always remember to leave the house with it at the ready.

Day drinking

If you are sober, it’s easy to remember sunscreen because you can literally feel the sun frying you like a piece of greasy bacon, but if you’re drunk it’s a completely different obstacle. You’re skin is already tingling with alcohol flowing through your veins, and as everyone knows, you begin to not really be able to feel anything. When you finally start to sober up, not only do you realize you need another beer, but also that you have a second degree burn on every patch of exposed skin.

Going to the beach

At the beach, everyone plays volleyball, gets in and out of the water, and chills in the sand soaking up the sun. Everyone, that is, except you because you are always making a b-line to the beach umbrella, either to begin the daunting task of putting sunscreen on your wet skin or to just give your skin a break from the constant heat. Not to mention, your skin is probably the same color as the sand and if you sit under the umbrella your friends can actually find you.

Constant, never-ending, dry skin

You’ll always have that one friend who at the exact same time you’re turning beet-red, finds herself with a brilliant, dark, tan. It’s not even that you want to be tan, it’s more of the fact that you’d just appreciate if your skin would stay intact and not separate into it’s many layers, because you will actually begin to shed a few days later. Even if you don’t get burned, your skin is still dry and peeling from just being exposed to the sun. This is of course amplified when you get sunburnt and absolutely painful.

No time is safe

Unless the sky is black and the moon is out, you put on sunscreen. Most people can get away with not putting it on from the early evening on, but you can’t risk it.

But hey, at least we’ll never have to pay for a tanning package.