New Jersey, the state I lived in from the second month of my life to the 183rd, banned minors from using tanning beds yesterday. I'm totally cool with that. Tanning beds have been deemed just as carcinogenic as cigarettes, and you can't buy cigarettes if you're under 18, so it seems pretty logical to me.
And from an emotional, politically irrelevant standpoint, I'm doing brain cartwheels--I think tanning beds are sucky and stupid and should all be destroyed in a volcano. In my opinion, people look their best when they aren't baking themselves, and I hate that some people feel inadequate when they're pale. Also: cancer.
I have a feeling, however, that my old friend Aloysius* (not even close to his real name) isn't too psyched. A few months ago, I got a Facebook notification asking me to like his page: a tanning salon.
I was genuinely grossed out. There, in my little hometown, Aloysius had opened a freakin' tanning salon, complete with Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum tanning packages, so you can get unlimited access to machines that have the potential to make you look like leather and then die. What a deal!
I probably shouldn't be as angry as I am--it's not like anyone's forcing me into one of the booths. But it just seems so damn irresponsible, especially when they decide to make this their slogan:
Actually, yes, I have had my vitamin D today. I take cute little vitamin D soft-gels every day, which, in addition to foods with vitamin D, is a great, easy way to get what you need without stripping down and smelling like burnt coconut husk. And c'mon--trying to pass off tanning beds as a health treatment is just plain unscrupulous.
As if I could get more annoyed, I also realized that Aloysius's tanning salon is offering teeth-whitening services. No, there are no dentists employed there, so that's one reason that's a bad idea. Another? It uses UV light! Doesn't melanoma of the gums sound fun?!
At this point, the crush I had on Aloysius during the summer between eighth and ninth grade has been retroactively canceled.
I was considering getting a quote from him about his opinion on yesterday's under-18 tanning ban, but he said he hadn't heard about it. At first, I thought he was joking, but then I saw this new post on the Facebook page (which I still haven't liked):
Ironically, Aloysius isn't just the owner of the tanning salon; he's also a police officer in the very same town. So he has to enforce a law that could conceivably put a dent in his business.
Listen, I never wish for well-meaning people to fail (I'm a recovering schadenfreude addict). I just wish Aloysius had decided to start a different kind of business--something that hasn't been proven to kill people. You know, like a liquor store or something.
I haven't told Aloysius how I feel about his decision to open a tanning salon. It feels unnecessarily confrontational, and we're not so close that I feel I need to speak up to save our friendship. But I'm curious what the rest of you would do. Are you as anti-tanning as I am? If someone you knew opened a tanning salon, would you rip them a new one?