Skirting the Issue - Unleashing the beast that is fake fan

I write this with my hands in a weird claw like position and with the desire to put a peg over my nose. Yes, dear reader, I have been fake tanned and at that stage where I am waiting for the colour to develop and am feeling a bit sticky, claggy and generally manky.

I decided, in my infinite wisdom, to try a kind of self manicure type of thing too and while I know my nail varnish should be dry by now I fear really battering the keyboards may cause chipping and smudging.

Earlier I spent a good few hours trailing the shops trying to find something to wear which would not require me to buy a complete new set of accessories (bag/shoes/jewellery/ matching tone of nail polish) and now I sit here, slighty smelly (Eau De Fake Tan) and definitely uncomfortable and I’m definitely wonder why we women do it to ourselves?

I have an event you see – one which will be done by the time this column actually hits the shelves and which I will report on next week – and while, technically, I could just arrive in my usual slightly worn jeans/black top/hair up in a clip state, it is most definitely one of those events which you kind of sort of have to look as if you have at least made an effort.

This effort is pretty damn mammoth – and started several days in advance with a hefty dose of exfoliation. Scrubbing my skin almost raw is always a delightful way to start any day. Then began the ritual of slathering myself in moisturiser.

Now, this would normally be relatively easy but given the fact that I am now permanently attached to a two year-old with a “mammy’s make up” obsession, this was more complicated than normal. My (mildly expensive) tub of moisturiser was soon found with giant gouges in it from tiny hands and my arms and legs were not the only thing moisturised.

The plucking and tweezing and general defuzzing followed and then it was time to unleash the beast that is fake tan. Now I know nothing about fake tan. I’ve had it done professionally a few times with varying results. Thankfully the tan I had done for my wedding was lovely. The tan I had done for a friend’s wedding was not so much. It rained just as I left the (expensive) salon and I was left looking life a reverse Dalmatian with an assortment of white spots dotted over my face.

Therefore I was suitably nervous when I decided to cut out the middle man and try it myself. Who would have thought there was no much to choose from? Mousses, gels, sprays, instant tans, developing tans, tanning mitts, exfoliating scrubs. Some of the products cost more money than I would expect to spend on an entire outfit and while I’m 34 and should be au fait with such matters I found myself standing like a big (pale) eejit texting my sister (who does know about such matters) to ask her advice.

A lot less richer and still very dubious I left with a tiny pink package in my bag and an impending sense of doom. Locking the bedroom door later (with the children in bed) I started the process and all the while thought of Oompa Loompas and cans of Tango and big old streaks filled my head.

Then, while the colour developed, came the task of outfit choosing, hair planning and bag packing. Every detail had to be planned with military precision. The height of the heels were directly proportional to how far I would have to walk in them. The trousers I selected were on the basis of how comfortable they would remain after I had my dinner and the top I chose was based on how well it would hide any stains which may drop on it. (I’m clumsy when nervous).

I thought of my husband, who in similar circumstances irons a shirt, shaves, brushes his teeth and saunters out the door and I suddenly wished I was a man. He wears the same suit he wears to work with the same shoes. His biggest dilemma is whether his tie matches his shirt. He may dither over which aftershave to slap on but generally speaking he has it easy.

There is no sitting, slightly sticky and smelling of a chemical coconut-y compound which is making my eyes water. There is no tearing of hair from his body. No plucking, tweezing. There are no Spanx suck-me-in knickers in his world. No body slimming tights or wonder underwear garments. There is no trussing up like a Christmas turkey.

There is no wrestling with straighteners or curling irons. No dyeing hair “because he’s worth it”. No lip plumping, tingling lip gloss to apply which doesn’t even plump your lips and actually makes you feel as if you are having a mild allergic reaction. There is no eyeliner. I absolutely hate eyeliner.

And yet, at least I have the option to go all out to improve my appearance. We all know that pampering and preening, which is generally quite a pain in the rear end, does give us a confidence boost. It’s a shame we can’t walk into a room confident as we really are – but since we can’t, thak God for fake tan and all her who sail in her. I just hope it gives me the confidence boost I really need. (And that the Spanx don’t cut off my circulation).

I’ll report back next week!