The phrase “the greatest story ever told” has often been used, overused I might add. This is not by any means the greatest story ever told, but it may just be the strangest story ever told. Or the strangest story that you’ll read this year. Or today. Or … I don’t know; we live in a world where Donald Trump could rule America so I suppose nothing is implausible these days.
So, here it goes: I like orange juice. Odd start I know, but oh ye of little faith, it’s going somewhere. I have been drinking orange juice virtually all of my life; I enjoy the taste mostly, and while I drink other things, it’s hard to find a new permanent beverage of choice now.
What isn’t so awesome about orange juice, however, is that it can EVER-SO-SLIGHTLY leave a little after-effect of colour should you drink a lot of it for a long period of time. So considering that I’ve been drinking it for like 20 years or so, my skin began to show very minor signs of yellowish/orangeish colouring a few years back. (To concerned readers, don’t worry; you won’t turn into Bananaman if you drink loads of the stuff, and even the colouring I had was only noticeable if you paid close attention.)
Nevertheless, it was noticeable enough that around the summer of 2014, with a summer holiday approaching, I thought “I know! I’ll experiment with sunbeds!” I knew the dangers and all that stuff, but under (questionable) advice from others, I felt that a very brief stint in a tanning booth would do little harm. Bear in mind that I had never used one, so I was a little nervous beforehand, but I thought I’d give it a go.
So, I go, and guess what? The sunbed was broken. The sunshower was working, though, so I undressed and stood under the sunshower with stickers over my eyes (I thought I was getting goggles but that’s another story), and after three minutes, I felt fine. I have to admit that it made virtually no difference, but I was told that by doing this once or twice a week, eventually it would make me look like Hulk Hogan – okay, maybe not, but something respectable nonetheless.
I went back the next week and the sunbed was apparently working this time, so I popped my clothes off and got on. Just one problem: it didn’t actually seem to be working. After a few minutes of feeling like nothing was happening, I got up and checked the sunbed (remember I had stickers on my eyes), and suddenly the rays switched on. Now, I had already had some difficulty trying to shut the thing, so now I’m thinking “What do I do?” Is it on or not? How much do I close it? And it’s scorching hot; I could burn myself badly if I flub this up. Add to that a slightly paranoid concern of mine that removing the stickers to properly survey things would harm my sight forever, and the embarrassment I thought I’d have if I approached the sunbed guy to fix it, and I thought “forget this, I’m getting out!” And so ended my second and final trip to a sunbed establishment.
Fast-forward to 2015. With another summer holiday on the horizon, I realised I still looked like the pasty love child of Sheamus and Paige (another WWE reference – yes, I like wrestling). By this point, I had been regularly taking massages (I’ll discuss the benefits of those in a future article) and heard that the place in question provided spray tans. Through enquiries, I learned that this was a lot easier, a lot safer and would have a potentially better impact than using sunbeds. Once again, I asked myself “Why not?” I should point out that I had taken “before and after” pictures relating to this experiment, which is relevant later on.
So, I went in for my spray tan. Unlike the sunbed where I was left to my own devices, here the spray tan lady was in the room, so I stripped down to my boxer shorts and let her do what she needed to do. It felt fine, if a little chilly (that spray water is cold!), and so I went about my business afterwards with the understanding that I had to give it 12 hours and then the tan will have settled in. It definitely wasn’t going to stain anything after that time … or so I thought.
I woke up the next morning and you may not be that surprised to learn that only my mid-section did not leave some form of orange staining on my bed linen. The pillows, the bedsheets, the blanket which I sleep on during the summer because I get hotter than Rihanna in a field (okay, now I am exaggerating) – they were all covered in this spray tan colouring, in what appeared to be a failed Tango commercial. The pores of my skin were definitely more colourful, but unfortunately so were my bed items. So, for that matter, were the clothes I had worn after my tan which, whilst black (meaning that they wouldn’t be affected that badly), still showed the after-effects of this tan. A big wash was required, and not just for me.
Did I mention that I told like two people that I was having the tan, meaning that the clean-up operation had to be done in secret?
I somehow managed to wash the clothes and items in relative secrecy, although an unexpected lingering smell left by the tan meant that some asked if I had used a sunbed. So, I truthfully answered, “No!” Which is true – I had used a spray tan. But never mind. As for whether the tan worked? My friend couldn’t quite decide. Perhaps someone else can, but if you want to see whether it worked, you’ll have to ask me to show you the pictures as I don’t want me to scare the student audience online here.
Where is all this going? Yes, there is a point to this rambling, so here we go …
A few months after the spray tan, I noticed that a modelling firm was looking for some new male models, for both fashion modelling and underwear modelling. Don’t ask me why I applied because I had previously never had any ideas of modelling on any level, but for some reason on this day I decided to apply. Along with a couple of pics, I threw in the “before” pic from the spray tan, since it was the most usable photo I had of me in a minor state of dress. Now, I had applied almost for a laugh; it wasn’t like they were going to reply to tell me that I had been successful.
Okay, scratch that last bit …
The firm in question came back to me, told me they loved my pics and invited me to a free photo shoot in London! I’m not sure why they liked the pics. Perhaps I wasn’t as ugly as I think I am. Maybe they were impressed by my soft physique (soft should be emphasised here). It’s possible that the spray tan pic was the one which got me the opportunity, and it probably helped that I was wearing Calvin Klein boxers, as that probably enhanced my sense of style in their minds for some reason. In any event, I was unexpectedly about to become a model!
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Through some research, I realised that travelling London (and I needed to bring summer wear, winter wear, smart wear, casual wear and underwear for the professional shoot) would have meant spending hundreds of pounds, a hell of a struggle to bring all those clothes along with me, a probable hotel stay given the time of the shoot, and at least one day off from my regular freelance work. Therefore, sadly, it wasn’t feasible and I had to reluctantly decline the chance of someone else’s lifetime.
Nevertheless, I was buoyed by the offer and so I thought I’d apply the exact same way to a Liverpool firm. And surprisingly, they were also up for taking me on! But again a London trip was needed. I have been to London before, so getting there is not the problem. Put it this way, if it were for like a quarter of the price, I’d have been there.
Since then, I have tried to pursue modelling on a local level, but it requires some official photos to be taken which is not as easy as you may think; I am still searching for a fashion photographer to take these pics, at which point I can take this forward. If you know anyone, by the way, or even if you do such photography yourself, feel free to contact me and we’ll see what can be done.
It would only be a sideline, but if it were successful, it could prove to be very fruitful. It also provided a confidence boost for someone who often thinks that mirrors are designed for my face to break them.
So, to recap: drinking lots of orange juice led me to experiment with a sunbed, the spectacular failure of which led me to get a spray tan, a random photo of which played a key role in me nearly becoming the next David Beckham (not for football reasons, of course).
I told you this was a strange story.
(Featured image credit: Half orange background vector taken from Freepik.com. Used under the Creative Commons Licence.)