Chuck (charlesofcamden) wrote,

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A Brief Meditation on Tanning Salons

I stood this morning half-awake on an L platform, a platform I’ve stood upon hundreds of times. The usual sights on the street below presented themselves: a drugstore, a diner, a tanning salon…

But unlike all those other times, it was the tanning salon that seized my thoughts this morning. I quickly flipped through mental scenes of various streets I frequent and found that I could name several tanning salon locations off the top of my head. A casual Google search made it immediately clear that there are dozens – dozens, I say – of such establishments in and around Chicago.

Well so what, you may well ask. What does this have to do with the price of congressmen? Well, perhaps nothing, but this was the thought that bowled me over this morning: WHY?

It’s no secret that bricks-and-mortar businesses are tough to keep going these days, so if there are dozens of these places around town, then there must be hundreds – no wait – thousands of people frequenting them. How can this be? Hasn’t this practice been reviled into obscurity, consigned to the Pop Culture trash bin alongside Pauly Shore and William Hung?

I guess not.

Still, I’ve seen a bit of evidence that some tanning salon devotees are at least a little embarrassed about it. I recently met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. She sported a tan several shades darker than when I’d last seen her. I commented that she must have been spending time in the sun. She smiled and said, “Yeah!” Then after a pause, she quietly said, “Well actually, I have L.A. Tan to thank for this.” I’m encouraged by the fact that she saw a least some reason to feel a bit sheepish about it.

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