Community: Real Life

Tan lines


Dani is an almost 19-year-old gap year student who spent most of her gap year going out, getting drunk, sleeping, buying handbags and doing absolutely nothing creative. She claims to be an avid rock fan and spends lots of money building up her CD collection but actually spends most of her time listening to Britney Spears and singing into a hairbrush.

White bum syndrome and two-tone tits. Not the highlight of Dani's summer this year.

Imagine you're lying on a beach. You're in your bikini or trunks, the sun is shining and you're getting brown. Later on you get changed and jump in the shower and see yourself in the mirror. You appear to be wearing a swimsuit, but you're stark naked.

Tan lines. One of the main enemies of summer. Along with mosquitoes, dodgy Spanish waiters and sand in your crack. How can you show off this gorgeous suntan when you've got these (gasp) white bits?

People spend hundreds of pounds a year trying to achieve that sun-kissed look with tanning beds, spray-on tan and St Tropez. We buy tan accelerators, tanning lotion and even tanning pills and still we get these strap marks and WBS (white bum syndrome). How can a tan be sexy with an arse that looks like it could glow in the dark?

I mean, when was the last time you saw Britney Spears with a halter neck strap behind her neck? Or David Beckham with his legs all white at the top? Can you imagine seeing Jordan with white triangles on her boobs? I don't think so, but they keep their secrets so well that us "lesser mortals" have to suffer with these abominations of virgin skin.

My friends and I have been victims to such marks all this summer. After we get back from a hard day at the beach, we all "Oooh" and "Ahhh" about how brown we've got and arrange to meet for a drink later. On many occasions we've all turned up to the pub wearing strap tops and halter necks, each one of us sporting the latest strap marks we got that day. Sometimes, on a good day, there's even the possibility of a slight triangular outline of where a bikini top has been. Two-tone tits. Lovely.

"Tan lines. One of the main enemies of summer."

Many companies have tried to exploit these niches in the market by introducing products such as tan wipes and bikinis you can tan through, but despite these wondrous inventions, tan lines stay put.

There are more fundamental worries when it comes to tanning than just ending up looking like a zebra. First, there is the fact that some people will consider taking all their clothes off in an attempt to get an even tan. If you've ever been to Bognor Regis and witnessed some of the beauties down there, you will understand immediately why taking all your clothes off in public can be illegal.

Secondly and more worryingly, skin cancer is at an all-time high. With sun beds becoming the norm, no strict guidelines as to how much they may be used and no age restrictions, people are literally cooking themselves and developing cancer - all for the sake of a tan!

Recently, there have also been numerous reports on a new illness that is affecting people, specifically young people in the UK and all over the world. "Tanorexia", as it has been dubbed, shows the terrifying results of just how many people are damaging their bodies in order to look as tanned as possible, purely from a mixture of peer pressure, imagery within media and insecurities.

So, although tan lines suck, there are bigger issues at hand. Looking after yourself in the sun is slightly more important than getting an even tan in my opinion (despite the sexiness of an even tan). I say, as we don't get much sun over here anyway, we should all stay white and pasty. The way God intended the British to be. Haven't you heard? White is the new brown!

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Updated: 11/06/2007

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