Groupon #70: when spray tans go wrong

tan tasticMy flatmates told me that it would make me look gorgeous. They told me that it was a great way to prepare for a date with my beloved ex-girlfriend. And so, for want of better judgement, that afternoon I went off to The Tanning Salon in Clapham to have a spray tan. An hour later I was stood in the lobby. On the way in I walked past a middle-aged woman the colour of an orangutan’s ball bag. She was a deep Lucozade orange, like a sub-Saharan reptile, or a Geordie. I approached the reception desk. Waiting there was Kayleigh in her skimpy black uniform, like a chorizo wrapped in a napkin. ‘Hello sir, I’m Kayleigh. What colour would you like? “Dark” or “Dark-dark”?’ she said. ‘I don’t know what you mean by that, Kayleigh. What’s the difference?’ ‘Well, do you want to look like Enrique Iglesias or Denzel Washington?’ she said. I thought about it for a second and then decided to play it safe. I went for ‘Dark’.

Next I was shown to an electronic spray tanning booth. Kayleigh was very cheerful, giggling away as we walked down the stairs and asking me lots of questions, including: ‘So are you having this for a special occasion or is it just a treat for your boyfriend?’ In the cubicle an electronic woman’s voice talked me through the whole process. All I had to do was strip totally naked and put a blue fishnet cap on my head. So by the time I stepped into the booth I looked like a Greggs’s employee who’d had a breakdown. Then the spraying began: the nozzles ejecting microscopic beads of brown paint in a cold mist. It’s a very weird smell, spray tan. It’s like a cross between chocolate and low self-esteem.

I got out of the booth and looked at myself in the full-length mirror. I didn’t look that brown. So I went upstairs to protest. Kayleigh tried to put me at ease. ‘Actually sir, you’re going to get really dark in, like, eight hours’ time.’ And in eight hours’ time I was at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London, watching a show. There were three intervals in this show, and each time I came back from the interval I was a different race of human. To the point where I came back from the third interval, and the bloke sitting next to me just went, ‘Errr, sorry, someone’s sitting there, mate,’ and I was like, ‘No, no, no, it’s just me. I’m blacked up.’

I did hundreds more Groupons. Including: colonic irrigation, wrestling alligators and baby scans. Buy the book here.

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