I Got a Spray Tan. With My Mother.

Did you know that spray tans are now done one-on-one? Like, the days of you being alone in a shower-esque room with nozzles squirting you are gone. In their place is a perky, 20-something blonde who strips you down to your glory and asks you to rearrange your thigh fat for optimal spraying.

Oh, I’m sorry. Did I say one-on-one? I totally meant two-on-one. Because my mother came with me to rearrange thigh fat…




“Let’s get a spray tan for vacation!”

She was so excited. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I had ZERO interest in looking like one of Willy Wonka’s Oompa Loompas on the beach.


But then she said the magic words:

“I’ll pay!”


My mom has always been something of a sun worshiper. Despite the undisputed evidence that overexposure to UV rays is harmful, the woman insists time spent in the sun is healthy. Let me rephrase that: the woman insists hours spent in the noonday sun sans sunblock is healthy.

The idea to get a spray tan seemed a better option than frying her skin to a nice crispy, cancerous brown. So sprayed we were…

We arrive early and wait. And wait some more. We wait so long that I inevitably have to pee, and of course that’s exactly when we’re called back. A lovely young lady instructs us to strip and then promises she’ll be back in “just a sec.”

“Why would you come back?” I ask, crossing my legs to avoid accidental piddle.

“To spray ya!” she answers a little too enthusiastically.

She closes the door behind her and I just stare at my mom.

“What. The. Eff. MOOOOOMMMMMMM?! I thought we were, like, in a shower by ourselves?!”

Along with my mother’s affinity for sunbathing, she takes great pleasure in watching me muddle through uncomfortable situations. She says it’s when I’m at my best. Which is code for, “you broke my vagina in 1980 and this is payback.”

When the perky spray tanner returns, I’m still fully clothed. I start rambling: “I was under the impression this was a booth, like on the episode of Friends where Ross forgets to spin, ohmygod that was hilarious!, do you REMEMBER that?!, and…”

The poor girl’s eyes beg me to stop talking. Her only response: “We don’t do the booth anymore.”

She tosses me a pair of mesh thong underwear like they’re going to make a difference and I fight the urge to attack her. And then I give myself a pep talk.

Calm Stephanie says: You have given birth to two human beings, and many a stranger has seen your lady bits. Why do you care what this bouncy blonde with her flawless complexion and stretch mark-free body thinks of you?!

Nutjob Stephanie counters: Well, for one, she ain’t catching any of my babies and I see her wrist tattoo that says “Laugh.” That’s exactly what she’s going to do once I disrobe.

Spray tanner: “Ready when you are!”

Whatever. I get nekkid. And then, as I tend to do when I’m nervous, say a lot of inappropriate stuff:

“You don’t mind spending so much face-time with strange women’s cha-chas?”

“Have you ever sprayed a dude?! Was his junk just, like, OUT THERE?!”

“I wish I would have known booths are a thing of the past. I would have ladyscaped a bit better, knowwhatI’msayin?!”

She smiled politely, once again silently willing me to shut up.

Between the spray, the fans, and the roaring air conditioning, my “girls” were standing at attention, and at one point (no pun intended), the lovely sprayer lady accidentally brushed up against them. If I were a more mature person, I would have ignored the mishap. But I think we’ve established that I have the sense of humor of a sixth grade boy. So I said something like, “If you break’em, you buy’em!”

The entire time I’m making an absolute ass out of myself, my mother is standing stark naked in the corner laughing so hard that everything on her is shaking. Everything. I will carry that image with me always.

Finally, we’re both sprayed and standing, still in a state of undress, in “drying position:” with our hands on our heads like the next order of business is a good frisking. I may have done a little dance in front of the fans, but you can’t prove anything.

We’re informed that we can’t wear our bras home because they will smear the tan, so we free-fall out to the car. I admit my skin looks good, healthier, because I have a penchant for pleasing my parents. But when I get home, I really inspect myself: the tan has seeped into every crease, crevice, and stretch mark on my body. Like a highlighter, the tan calls attention to every imperfection as though it’s yelling, “Look at this a-hole! She thought she was going to look like a Victoria’s Secret model, but she’s lookin’ more like a cross between  There’s Something About Mary’s Magda and Bob Barker! WHAT A FOOL!”



Shut up, spray tan. Never again.

Unless my mom pays.

This story was originally published on August 13, 2013 over at Jenn’s place, Something Clever 2.0

Facebook is trying to keep us apart. That ain’t cool. Subscribe by email below, and I promise to never send you pictures of feet (gross) or boast about how my kids are perfect and I’m SuperMom because Bwahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Author Signature


  1. That is a fantastic and hilarious story. Also, after reading it, I will never get a spray tan!

  2. I tried to read this post fifty (or so) times from my phone and something wonky kept happening whenever I would visit her site…but I’m trying again. This time from the computer!

  3. Cringing just thinking about this!

  4. OMG!! Thank you for such a great laugh!!!

  5. OOmpa, loompa doopity doo, if we are wise, we will listen to you!
    Um, wow. Thank you so much. Let this serve as a PSA to all of us who may have been feeling down about our stark-whiteness. I’ll wear it–and my left-arm driver’s side window tan–proudly this year!

  6. My Favorite part is – ““I wish I would have known booths are a thing of the past. I would have ladyscaped a bit better, knowwhatI’msayin?!” . I seriously cant stop laughing!!

  7. Ha, I’m sure I totaly would have done the same thing. Luckily I won’t have to because I’ve been forewarned and will never spray tan. Unless my mom pays.

Leave a Reply