My stay at home schedule and work hours don't allow for me to hang out
at the beach or relax outdoors in my back yard catching rays. But still my
friends harrass me about me being un-tanned. "Come on Flynn you gotta get out
in the sun some more, you ghost!" they'll say. Years ago I was playing in a
media basketball game and during a timeout I heard from the crowd: "Hey Flynn,
you're white!" Those that tan easily can't seem to understand why people like me
exist. I don't worry about it much, but I do admit that a nice, even tan looks far
better than a less than flesh tone complexion. Sun tanners at Ontario Beach agreed.
MALE TANNER: To me it's healthier. It looks better.
FEMALE TANNER: 'Cause it looks good. You feel better about yourself.
You don't feel all white and putrid.
MALE TANNER: Makes you feel healthier and you definitely have a little more
confidence as far as approaching the opposite sex.
FEMALE TANNER: I always feel better when I have a tan. I could have pnemonia
but if I had a tan I'd feel I looked good even though I didn't.
There seems to be a degree of tanning competition going on at the beach.
The whole set up there encourages it.. people laying side by side as if wating
for the judges..or bumping into one another at the ice cream stand comparing
who's the darkest.
FEMALE: I gotta admit I do compete. I leave my watch on when I tan. Then I take
off my watch and compare with friends…"Hey, my tan's better than yours!"
FEMALE TANNER: We were just saying how we don't really like to come to the beach.
He'd rather lay out by the pool.
MALE TANNER: Well, yeah it's all around, the stereotyping and everything.
FEMALE TANNER: Competition for (coughs) excuse me, I would say the young kids
probably but they would compete about anything. And they're more into the physical
where to me, at my age, you're lucky you can walk, do you understand?
Then the question is considered over how dark is too dark?
FEMALE TANNER: I think the people that are really dark look actually foolish.
I think there is a point where you look healthier, yes. But I don't think it's
being completely brown.
FLYNN: Are you.. there.. yet-- or do you have more to go..?
MALE TANNER: Always got more to go.
FLYNN: The darker the better?
MALE TANNER: Yeah.
MALE TANNER: Am I happy? Not that I'm happy, just that I'm satisfied.
FLYNN: You want it darker?
MALE TANNER: Yes, darker!
As the ozone layer around the earth continues to break down, the threat of skin
cancer is a real possibilility- resulting from the dangerous ultraviolet sun rays.
It's estimated that one of every seven persons born in the United States will acquire
skin cancer, a condition that takes years to evolve. Some people are aware of the
risk, load up on extra sunscreen and make sure they keep their beach time to a minimum
to avoid problems. But the majority seem to be unfazed by the threat of cancer.
FEMALE TANNER: Well I care but I don't do anything about it. If I burned one day then
I'll put sunscreen on the next.
MALE TANNER: I worry about it just as I do about infectious diseases. (laughs)
MALE TANNER: I haven't really put any thought into it. I don't really worry.
I don't do that much tanning and I'm not outside all that much to worry about it.
FLYNN: Do you worry about the skin cancer risks attached to sun tanning?
FEMALE TANNER: No, because I'm gonna die from cancer one way or another.
I'm going to do what makes me happy and having a tan makes me feel good about myself.
If ever there was a kind of sick justice prevailing it would be for some of
these over-do-its on the beach to get a cancer scare… and find out that the sun
isn't such a good friend after all. Bill Flynn, WXXI 1370.