A strange question to pose four days into a two week Caribbean holiday, I grant you.
One I asked though during a lull yesterday morning when I briefly pondered wandering out on to the balcony, grabbing a cushion as I passed the pile, and plonking myself down for half an hour in the early morning sun.
I then thought better of it and put the kettle on.
As I drank my zillionth cup of tea at the dining room table, under the ever circulating fan I clicked on this headline in the Guardian Am I too old to sunbathe and cheered. Thank God for that. It isn’t just me. I am not some weirdo who thinks she is too old to sunbathe, or wander around on the beach in a swimming costume .
Not that I have any issue with anybody else doing that. Or indeed think it is a “young person’s game” I just think I am too old for it.
Like Michele Hanson I grew up having foreign beach holidays and thinking that lying on the beach was the be all and end all. That if you didn’t come home the colour of a Brazil nut with a white mark where your watch had been (removing it at baggage reclaim to prove just how brown you really were) your holiday had been a failure.
When I worked in Saudi I lived next door to a family who had grown up using olive oil instead of an SPF. They swore by it. When I used it I swore because of it, mainly due to the fact that having then laid down face down after an hour in the sun I could no longer bend my knees. People remarked when I came home once a year that I was paler than they were despite the almost constant 40 degree heat. “It’s too hot to sunbathe”.
Lying in the sun just makes me sweat. I don’t really want to paint a picture but under-boob sweat is a real thing. An unpleasant thing. And one that I like to avoid wherever possible. Lying in the sun makes that become a reality in about eight minutes.
Which is also the length of time it takes for my legs to go blotchy and start to itch. Another unpleasant thing. Bright red, in patches, and then they peel. Equally unpleasant.
Just like the mosquito bites that are multiplying hourly, despite my wearing an “anti mossie band”. Against white legs that never see the light of day in the UK it really is a most unattractive look.
It is not that I haven’t tried sunbathing. I really really have. I did it for a whole afternoon once on a lilo in the sea in France. It was glorious, feet dangling in the sea, the breeze keeping me cool. I thought it was the perfect way to get an all over tan. Until I woke up screaming at midnight with what amounted to third degree burns and rendered me unable to move for three days.
I tried it this afternoon. I put on a swimming costume, got a magazine, covered myself in suntan lotion and lay in the sun
For eight minutes
I can’t do it. I was exhausted and had to come and lie on the bed in the line of the A/C for half an hour to recover.
Maybe I am not too old, maybe I am just not cut out for sunbathing. Maybe that’s it. Maybe in the same way I don’t feel the cold I compensate for that by really feeling the hot. Maybe sunbathing is for ectomorphs, and I am more of an endomorph.
Or just for Morphs and I am more of a Chaz