When I was writing a few weeks ago about Phoenix and how hot it is there, one of my blriends (that’s blog friend for those who are still living in 2008) said she lives in the Middle East (and I don’t mean Maryland - I mean the real Middle East, as in burkhas and hijabs, sitars and pig gonads for breakfast). The heat there makes Phoenix’s 112 degrees look like spring in Calgary. But anyway, she was saying that someone bought her a spa package and it included a sauna.

Being a sensible white woman, she of course had a remark to make about that. And then we all got a good laugh.

That got me to thinking about why there are tanning salons in Florida.

The first time I saw one I almost drove my car into the front door of the place. Are you kidding me? I find it hard to believe there are people who would go into a tanning salon in the first place, without running into my dermatologist, Dr. Whitey McPalington, who could be picketing the place, he’s so bent on keeping his patients out of the sun. (He pitched a fit when he saw freckles on my calves. “These have been exposed to the sun,” he said, and then he zapped them with a little portable freeze gun. That freeze gun serves no purpose whatsoever. He just uses it as negative reinforcement.)

But beyond that, who in their right mind would pay money to lay in a deprivation chambery tanning bed when outside God is running the cheapest spa on earth? Because Florida is so skinny and sticky-outy, you can live anywhere in this entire state and be within a short drive to the beach. And the beach has all the amenities of a spa: salt water baths, exfoliating sand, and a tanning booth I like to call The Sun. We’ve also got the sound of the ocean waves, which is almost as calming as those relaxation sound machines when they’re turned on the Ocean Waves setting.

Even when I lived in New Jersey, I marveled at the people who went to tanning salons. (That is until I learned that a year-round tan is part of the Jersey Girl look and then it all came home to me.)

And, no, I’m not just jealous because I’m so white that my skin looks blue in mid-winter in Ohio. The first time out to the pool, old people had to shield their eyes to keep from being blinded by my thighs.

I was going to get a haircut one beautiful summer New Jersey day and the parking lot at the plaza was packed. I decided to park at the very tip end, near the road, and walk the length of the plaza, just because it was such a nice day for a walk. So I was walking past the doughnut place, the nail salon, the UPS store, and when I got to the tanning salon, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The waiting room was packed, SRO, with people waiting to pay to lay in the skin zappers.

I was so tempted to open the door and yell into the waiting room. “Hey, Jersey Girls! It’s a beautiful sunny day out here. You can get a tan for free, ya stupid bimbos!” But I knew deep down they could kick my ass from here to my next haircut. So I resisted the temptation.

But now I’m in Florida and those situations are too many and too often to stress out over them. I can’t be opening the doors to small businesses and yelling disparaging remarks about Florida women.

So imagine my surprise when I found an ad for pet tanning booths that are being made not in Florida! With the tan thing and the way Florida women tend to carry small fluffy dogs around in their purses in the mall, I would have thought that was a match made in heaven.

But the pet tanning booths are made in Muncie, Indiana. They’re called SunSpas and they can help your dog or cat avoid debilitating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, of course) just by laying in this little cushion with an arch over it. Inside the arch is an Easy Bake Oven lightbulb, which emits rays of happiness, positive outlook and warmth. And it folds up for easy storage and is machine washable to boot.

Since I’ll read anything - I’ve been known to read cover-to-cover The Watchtower left by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and I may be the only person under 115 who still reads Parade magazine - I read the SunSpa Web site in its entirety. Gripped by the “About Us,” I was almost in tears when I read how the SunSpa family was devastated when the auto industry left Muncie. They thought about canceling their Hawaiian vacation, but instead decided to use it to brainstorm about new business ideas. “It was a dark time for us, but we remained positive and began planning for the future.” I guess they saw lots of happy pets out there in Hawaii, because they came home and started building pet tanning booths right away. Who needs the stinkin’ American car companies?

And who needs Florida for dog tanning?

Labels: , , ,