We are all too familiar with the abusive nature of the sun. It’s like that snake cane Jafar carries around with him that makes you do whatever he wants. It’s alluring and inviting one minute, and just when you think you’re safe and call it quits, you can’t bend your knees without cringing in pain for a week. The first step is admitting you have a problem. Think of this, along with a healthy does of sunscreen, as your support group.
1. The Honeymoon Stage: It’s just you and the sun, and you’re having a hard time keeping your hands off each other. You’re finally able to spend those precious hours together after a long, lonely separation. When you feel his love-waves of heat on your skin, you give him an internal wink because you know he’s doing it just for you.
2. The Naivety Stage: After finishing your summer playlist you check yourself out. Are you even getting color?
3. The Mirror Stage: You think you see some pink on the top of your cheeks, but nothing to cause alarm.
4. The Fingerprint Stage: You press your fingers to your chest, thigh, cheek, and hand to see just how white that imprint glows. Everyone knows this is the most scientific barometer of sunburnosity.
5. The Shower Stage: The moment of truth. You step into the shower, see the contrast, and understand the gravitas of the situation. The water is like pocketknives mutilating the surface of your body. Loofahs are for masochists today.
6. The Shamed Lobster Stage: Your friends and family squint their eyes and purse their lips because apparently your pain is contagious. You avoid ordering anything with lobsters or tomatoes in it. You’re done looking in the mirror.
7. The Pain Stage: Mundane activities become challenges from “The Hunger Games.” It hurts to put on your bra. It hurts even more to slip on your underwear. Everything takes three times as long as it used to. You now know that inflicting prisoners with sunburn at Guantanamo Bay has probably prevented (or incited) multiple terror attacks.
8. The Survival Stage: Just how soon are you going to get skin cancer?
9. The Aloe Stage: You’re not sure this shit even works, but you buy it anyway because what’s left of your muddled mind is usurped by thoughts of pain.
10. The Acceptance Stage: You won’t even go to the beach unless someone promises on her unborn child that there will be shade. And even when you’re there, you can’t look at it in the same way. You harbor deep-seated feelings of pain and resentment at someone you formerly called your “friend.”
11. The Tan Stage: Why all 10 stages of Dante’s Inferno were well worth it.