Two things that boggle my mind when I think of my son’s generation (think: college-aged kids): smoking and tanning. So many of my son’s friends smoke. Sure, they’re smoking organic cigarettes–whatever those are. But they are still sucking smoke directly into their lungs. This, after decades of anti-smoking campaigns and a glut of data about what this habit does to your health.
In addition, many girls–very few boys–my son’s age still tan, including my niece. Again, this in light of unshakeable evidence that it hastens aging and promotes skin cancer. And they still do it.
While I can’t explain the spike in smoking in his generation, the tannning fad, I suspect has gained some steam with the rise in popularity of the cheesy reality show, “Jersey Shore,” where over-the-top tanning and copious amounts of hair gel are the hallmarks of good looks.
Then I read that California recently passed a law banning tanning beds for anyone under 18. And I found the website, Pale is the new Tan, and I took heart. It’s a humorous yet honest look at a people, some of them campily called “tanorexics,” who still fry their skin in the belief it enhances their beauty.
In addition to a plethora of photos of truly freakish people with crazy two-tone tans and unrealistic skin colors, there is also some blunt, testimonial-style blogging about the firsthand, aftereffects of tanning.
And there’s this. “In a thousand years, archaeologists will dig up tanning beds and think we fried people as punishment.”