Skin care is of prime importance when you reach middle age, because every exposure to those scary UV rays has the ghastly potential to create another line on your face or a melanoma.
Gone are the days when us POMS would whizz off to some Mediterranean hotspot for our annual two weeks of holiday, slap oils with as much skin protection as olive oil all over our bodies, and then fry until we were a Peking Duck shade of brown.
Similar to the dangers of smoking cigarettes, eating red meat and drinking too much alcohol, in those days we were naïve to the inherent dangers of a tan, of course. For us a tan symbolized healthiness and fitness, rather than impending doom.
There’s nothing healthy about a tan.
But there’s also no greater feeling than lying in the sun for a few hours after a hard week spent in air conditioning, creating some vitamin D; an important commodity for the health of our bones at this time of our lives.
The old man and I are partial to our local outdoor pool for our place of sun worship, mainly because there’s no sand to contend with. It also has a wonderful terrace area, which due to its position at a distance from the pool, is child free and generally full of attractive twenty to thirty year olds, many of whom are obviously gay men who have a pleasing knack for looking after their bodies.
CHILD FREE…and the coffee’s not bad, either.
There is absolutely no better way to soothe a Sunday morning hangover than a perv at the local pool, where you can stock up on vitamin D and caffeine, swim twenty lengths and convince yourself that’s the exercise for the week done, all at the same time.
But with no shade on aforementioned CHILD FREE balcony, it’s not a place for the fair skinned, English Rose. Australia is a harsh habitat to live in for those deficient in melanin and it can turn even the most experienced British sunbather into a lobster within minutes, much to the delight of the local community.
The old man and I have been arguing over sun creams of late – and yes, our life really is that interesting. Rather like coffee, wine, knickers and men, it’s just so hard to find the perfect sunscreen. They are either too gloopy, as runny as milk, take ages to rub in (or don’t rub in all), or you need a second mortgage to pay for them.
Which is a first world problem, I know, but it can turn even sunbathing into a chore.
The old man has settled on one of these new-fangled sprays, but never one to give from his wallet lightly, he acquired his can at Aldi. I, on the other hand, although happy to use my Aldi purchases in the privacy of my own home, refuse to let everyone know the true state of our finances at our local pool. And I’ve also become a bit of an expert when it comes to sun screen (compromised as I am by skin as white as alabaster) and have road tested all the cheap brands over forty years of sunbathing.
So the only brand that works for me is Le Tan Coconut Spray, which as the name suggests, conjures up wonderful memories of sun, sand, sex and Pina Coladas in the South of France in the good old days when I used to feign ignorance about sun damage and would douse myself as liberally in oil as Kim’s arse in THOSE recent photos.
Yesterday, I watched the old man spray his Aldi screen all over him like perfume, with what could only be described as a smug grin on his face, (which is his ‘I’m saving money’ face), aimed at me, as I lathered my body more carefully with my coconut spray.
(These petty little competitions keep our marriage alive, I hasten to add).
Later that day, during our well-deserved afternoon nap – a treat for all that hard work at the pool – I watched the angry lines of redness appear on his chest, like Masai tribal markings, where the spray had missed his body, and smiled smugly too.