I walk to the swimming pool. It’s cold and the wind blows colour into my cheeks. My blood vessels slowly dilate. As I step into the collective shower room, all I can think of is how Snow White (the Disney version based on an Icelandic woman) never went to the tanning studio.
A lot of fair skinned people around me seem to spend their precious krónur on airbrush tanning booths. News flash: UV rays are… wait for it… BAD for you! They increase the risk of skin cancer, you know. So, is it a conscious decision to forego the sun and smear yourself orange instead? Do the Oompaloompa’s of Charlie’s Chocolate Factory have a cult following that I don’t know about?
Okay, I get it… there’s not much sun here, and you want to look nice. Well, you know what, you do! You really do. Freckles are beautiful. No freckles are beautiful too. And so is pale skin. Much nicer than when you can see the tanning line between your neck and your face. That makes you look like and old worn-out shoe. An ugly shoe, that is. And it adds about 25 years to your age. Speaking of age, around two years ago, Alþingi banned under 18-year-olds from frequenting tanning booths. That’s nice. Still, word has it they’re not that strict, and for such a small city Reykjavík has its fair share of tanning booths.
Naked communal showering at local swimming pools equals a positive body image, right? Well so I thought, until I realised how much people are spending to get tangoed. At Laugar Spa, for instance, an airbrush tanning with a scrub costs 5,900 ISK! What! Think of how obese you could be with all the lovely chocolate you could buy with that money!