Return of the farmer’s tan


Almost there…al…most….there…

Oh.  Hi.  Just checking the temperature one more time.  Sorry, give me  a second.

Okay.  Now that we’re all settled in, let’s go blogging!

“Winter” in Florida is a relative term.  For the thousands of “snowbirds” who travel down here from up north during their (real) winter months, winter is nothing of the kind here.  But, for us few remaining native Floridians, you can feel the difference between summer and…uh…late summer.

The winter does more than just slow my writing progress, it also brings back my perennial fashion disaster known as the “farmer’s tan”.  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it refers to an unfortunate effect that comes from considerable time outdoors in a short sleeve shirt.  You get tanned in the face, neck and arms, but your torso and back remain pristine.  In the most extreme cases, a person can look like they are wearing a t-shirt while bare-chested (for simplicity sake, we’ll reserve the visuals to the males of the species).

In many people, this isn’t a major issue.  People who tan and hold a tan will see some fading but mostly remain dark.  People who are naturally pale usually never tan (burn, sure, but tan, not so much).  If my being a Gemini didn’t tip you off, I get the best/worst of both.

My Dad spent many years of his working life outdoors or at work sites.  Over those years, he absorbed a lot of rays and currently retains a robust brown tanned complexion.  My Mom was pale, incapable of tanning, but she did show a strong resistance to burning, so there’s that.

As their genetic product, I respect both of them by behaving like each in the sun.  Within a few short days of exposure, I can reach a nice golden tan (though never reaching Dad’s brown).  Within a few short days of the sun’s absence, the tan fades and I return to a light flesh (though not so pale as Mom).

During the so-called winter months, I maintain my thrice-weekly tennis regimen and generally parade around in shorts and a polo shirt.  Thus, I get substantial sun on my face and arms.  The end product is a traditional farmer’s tan.

We have breached the “cold” season here in Florida (about 11 days), but I am still not quite ready to hit the beach.  I prefer to get out in the mornings.  For one thing, it’s prettier; for another, it’s less crowded, allowing me to choose a primo spot to set up.  By the time I’m ready to leave, the crowds have arrived and the timing is perfect.  It also tends to get pretty darn hot around 10-11 am.

However…right now, the mornings are running in the low to mid 60’s.  Superb for tennis; not so much fun for shirtless facing of the ocean breeze, which tends to run 5-10 mph more than inland.  There’s not much point to sitting on the beach in the sun fully clothed!

So, we’re just about there.  Maybe another week,  maybe two,  and I can finally get some balance back on the body.  Maybe get the book done, too.  Then everything will be golden.

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