As part of a promotional campaign for Aer Lingus' Summer Sun 2016, a PR agency were offering a free spray-tan and a chance to win two flights to one of their short-haul destinations. The caveat, as such, was that it had to be done in their office as the spray-tan technician had a mobile tent thing with her.
When the e-mail came in, pretty much everyone wasn't interested. However, I've got a wedding in Italy in a few months and, quite honestly, free flights were on the table. "Yeah, I'll do it," Past Brian said foolishly.
Little did I know what horrors lay in store.
— Fiona Flynn (@Fiona_Flynn) October 8, 2015
I had a vague understanding of how spray-tanning works. It involves some sort of spray, obviously, and a firing gas thing that turns you into a shade of mahogany that's usually reserved for ornate tables. Free flights. Free flights. Free flights. It's for free flights.
I'd talked to some people who got them done semi-regularly and the advice was pretty straightforward.
"Make sure you cover your hair."
"Have baggy clothes that you can throw away and change your bedsheets 'cos it'll run."
Come the day and I was greeted by a very friendly beautician / technician who had a hoover-like apparatus with her. "OK, you're going to need this...", as she hands me a shower-cap thing, "...and this." It can only be described as a G-String with which it would cover my balls and the crack in my ass. A small crowd had begun to gather in the office when news spread that somebody was getting semi-naked.
"N-n-no, I'm not wearing that," I replied. "I'm doing this here in front of people. I can't wear that." FREE FLIGHTS, FREE FLIGHTS, FREE FLIGHTS.
"But you won't get an even tan on your legs?"
"I'm sorry, no. I've got swimming trunks."
Like I said, I was prepared. I had a pair of trunks, baggy clothes and a gas mask. "I'm not doing my face, either." A cry went up in the office. "It'll look weird without your face done!" I'm going to look weird one way or the other. "But how will it blend?" I'm going to shower for the next two days to get this crap off me when I'm done.
— Sharon Gray (@sharcgray) October 8, 2015
I change into my trunks and peer out into the main office. Now, a sizeable crowd has gathered, including one of the board members of EMN. Great. Super.
The shame tent is prepared and I step in. I'm actually terrified now. Grace lifts the spray-tan gun thing and the hoover begins to whir. Phones were raised. The shaming began. The first thing that hit me was the smell. I've smelled spray-tan before, but never up close. It's like smelling the inside of a handbag that's broken a cheap bottle of perfume inside it and left to sit for a few days in the sun.
I'm forced to lunge to get my legs done in both sides as Grace works her way through the process. The smell's unbearable. "Now turn around and hold your arms up."
The gun keeps getting my armpit and I recoil immediately. Turn around. Again. Spppppttttttt.
Five minutes later, it's all over and I desperately want a shower. I can feel every pore on my chest caked in this crap.
— Dave O'Shaughnessy (@ogoknessy) October 8, 2015
"It's all very natural-looking," says one.
"Yeah, you look like you had a decent holiday. It's not noticeable at all," says another.
I'm caked in fake tan, standing half-naked in my office in front of coworkers. FREE FLIGHTS, FREE FLIGHTS, FREE FLIGHTS.
— entertainment.ie (@entertainmentIE) October 8, 2015
It's been a few hours now. I can't smell anything except this fake tan. I'm pretty sure I'm getting some sort of a sty in my eye from when Grace spritzed my face. You'll be hearing from my solicitors when I lose my eye, Grace. Why do people do this? Sure, it's safer than sun-beds and there's no risk of skin cancer, but is it worth it?
Can't we all be happy in our paleness?
— Brian Lloyd (@BrianMLloyd) October 8, 2015
So now, the floor is open. Tell us all your tanning horror stories. Do it.