Thursday, October 25, 2012

White as a ghost

I've always loved playing dress up, so it's no surprise I adore Halloween. Last weekend, I got to celebrate a bit early by running a super hero-themed 5k with a couple of my friends. I re-purposed last year's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume into something that was more 5k appropriate, while my bestie found a little boy's size XL Batman costume at Walmart about an hour before the race. Believe me when I tell you: running three miles in a Halloween costume as harder than it looks.

Dressed up as a ninja turtle for the 5k last weekend.
Run Like Hell in downtown Portland.
When I dressed up as a ninja turtle for Halloween last year, I wore a teensy green dress--not rain-proof running gear. Now, when I say that being diagnosed with melanoma impacted all aspects of my life, it really has. Even Halloween.

Pre-melanoma, Halloween prep meant hours in a tanning bed. After all, how could I dress up as a sexy cop, nurse, cowboy, schoolgirl, etc. without the requisite tan? Stopping by the tanning salon was just as essential to my Halloween costume as stopping by Party City to pickup a new pair of fishnet tights. The Halloween after my diagnosis, I made a conscientious shift to seek out a costume that would flaunt my pale skin like an accessory. After watching hours of YouTube clips on how to fix my hair just right, I decided to dress up as a sexy, tan-free pin-up girl. Red lipstick and all.

Halloween 2007.
Then last year, I picked the ninja turtle costume because I wanted to try something new. Something slightly less cliche and slightly more badass. I strut out in my teensy little costume, fully aware that almost every inch of my ghostly white legs were showing. Perhaps it's narcissistic of me, but I'm always worrying about what other people are thinking about me. On Halloween I worried less so because, well, everyone was dressed up, too. Consequently, it caught me by surprise when my friend's boyfriend made a comment about my costume/white legs.

"Shouldn't you have gone to a tanning salon a few times before wearing a skirt that short?"

Flaunting my fair skin in 2010.
I was pissed. Really pissed. Not pissed so much that my friend's boyfriend was making fun of me. 30-year-old men act like high school boys all the time. I really could have cared less that he was giving me a hard time about my Halloween costume. What drove me insane was that he chose to mention the one thing he should have known would really piss me off.

So it appears that no matter how old we get, I can't quite escape critique from my peers about choosing to embrace my natural skin color. *SIGH*

Have you ever gone tanning or spent extra hours at the gym so that you'd look better in a Halloween costume?


  1. When I was in college there were many hours tanning for Halloween and just regular parties. We even had a sun deck at my sorority house! I wish I could fast forward 10 years and see how ridiculous and not worth it the whole thing was. Live and learn! Thanks for spreading the word..

  2. The photo of you in the 2010 shot proves that your blog is aptly named Katie - pretty in pale!!
    You know it really, really is a mindset being tanned. My daughters ( in their 30's)are very 'sun conscious' and protect their skin very conscientiously, but: they still believe it is more 'attractive' and "healthy looking" to be tanned - even subtly. The youngest daughter owns a registered home beauty salon and does extremely well out of 'spray tans'. If a special event is looming neither of them would dream of not having their spray tan done.
    So, my point is, will pale, ever be viewed as 'attractive' as tanned? Over the years we've gone from heavy makeup to the completely natural look; why NOT skin too!
    PS: your ninja costume was very creative Katie!

    1. I think slowly but surely we're going to transition back to a culture that appreciates pale skin. I'll have to dig it up, but Vogue wrote an article a few months ago that talked about how fashion is featuring more "pale" girls, etc. My perception is definitely changing. A few years ago, you wouldn't have caught me dead on a special occasion without a tan, either! At least your daughters are spray tanning :)

    2. Oh Rose I think your point is completely true! I do wonder if we ever will go from viewing a tan as beautiful to being pale as beautiful instead. I sure hope we do!

    3. Sorry to comment so many times :) I would have to agree with Katie, my perception is definitely changing. Sadly it has taken three years since my diagnosis for it to finally start happening. In my earlier post, we is referring to society as a whole, not Rose, Katie, or me personally.

  3. I couldn't even wait to reply after the comment he made to you! Seriously dude?! I thought you looked gorgeous as a pinnup girl and am sure you totally pulled off the ninja tutle. :) Your comment about always caring about what other people think of you, well that's me too. How are you coping with that and being pale while everyone else thinks you should have a tan? This is something I REALLY struggle with and am not sure how to get over it/deal with it. Any thoughts/suggestions are welcome :)

  4. I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy reading your blog and admire your strength and perseverance in getting the "love your own skin" message out there. You have a wonderful writing style that is easy to read - not preachy, but just warm and full of great observations. Keep up the good work!
    : )

    1. Thank you, Janice! I try so hard to not be preachy. Just honest. I'm so glad that it's coming across that way :)

  5. i love the ninja turtle costume! how hard was it to run in that costume??