Wearing sunblock in Hawaii is the equivalent of using an umbrella in Portland, Oregon—though sensical, something only an unconditioned non-native would do. Or a complete pussy.
In high school, I’d oil myself up a thick coconut tanning spray, praying it would turn my pale haole skin into that of a golden Polynesian goddess, or at least like the exotic temptress on the tanning bottle. Instead, my nose would turn bright pink and I’d break out in pimples from the cheap greasy residue seeping into my pores.
While I’m no match for the rays of Hawaii, the rest of the world doesn’t need to know that. Put me on any other beach in any other region of the world, and I turn into The Girl From Hawaii, better than anyone else born and bred in less sunny climates, immune to rays shining down on far way lands nowhere near the equator, warrior against whatever the sun doles out because my body is used to absorbing its heat.
This persona is also known as Woman Completely in Denial, forgetter of her white ancestry and the fact that she is even whiter now that she has just lived through six months of mainland winter.
I blame vanity for this cocky, double-headed beast I turn into. When summer hits, all I can think is yay, sun! Wash over my pale skin! Make me beautiful and camouflage my cellulite because now it’s shorts season!
Well, my new summer look has arrived, and by the looks of it, The Girl From Hawaii is no match for New Jersey. Courtesy of the Garden State’s infamous shores, I am sporting a bright red neck that fans its fluorescence over my chest, and is accessorized by pasties made out of band-aids, inspired by my inability to wear anything tight across my back, my penchant for see-thru shirts, and the slippery slope of going braless as you get older.
So yes, I will eventually look cool when the red fades and my olivish shoulders will peek out from my new Forever 21 top. You’ll just have to overlook the stark white “V” against the middle of my chest, sinking into my cleavage, the mark that outs me as a dumbass for not remembering to undo my bathing suit straps before lying out in the sun for three hours with no sunscreen on my entire body.
But I did remember to put some on my face. (No Rudolph nose!) One lesson at a time, I suppose.