The Over Night Tan Man

July 27, 2022 –

You’d have to be of a certain age to remember the vintage Coppertone ad featuring the little girl (three-year-old actress Jodie Foster) who gets her pants pulled down by the Cocker Spaniel.  The point was the Coppertone tan product helped you go from pale to tan.

When I think about the Coppertone ad, I am reminded of my overnight attempt to become a tan man. The event took place in my sophomore year of college. I was and am a fair-skinned person. All my attempts at becoming a bronze god were to no avail. I bought a product, Man Tan, applied the lotion one night, and expected a gorgeous and authentic bronze man when I woke the following day. I was so excited about my transformation from pale man to bronze man that I got up several times during the night to check my progress. I saw none.

The morning came, and I rushed to the mirror to only see a streaked orange face and arms. I looked horrible. There was no stunning man in the mirror looking at me. Touted as an overnight-developing sunless tanner lotion became an overnight, orange-streaked disaster.

I quickly attempted to wash the orange look off. Then I scrubbed, to no avail. Looking back, I should have followed the directions and first tested a small area of my body to see how it worked.

I am old enough, 82, to remember the ads for Man Tan and Coppertone and their claims, “Tan Don’t Burn Use Coppertone” and “Sleep While You Tan.” I used both products but never got a long-term tan or an overnight bronze. I’m still pale, but hopefully, with age, I’ve gained some wisdom — Read the instructions before using any product.