Why are there tanning parlors in our world?

Reading about the new federal tax on artificial tanning, both in national and local media, and I find myself wondering: How come things like tanning beds and tanning parlors exist, anyway? In the 21st century and all.

I’m not saying we outlaw them or anything — taxing them heavily seems like a great way to produce needed revenue, as long as they exist — but how is it that anyone would ever pay money to do something so pointless — something that no one in the world needs, ever, and so likely to lead directly to cancer?

Aside from the fact that I just don’t think deep tans are becoming on white people. If you doubt me, look at Larry Marchant on the Jon Stewart video. Looks weird, doesn’t it? Unnatural? Like, what’s wrong with Larry?

Anyway, that’s how it strikes me — as something that exists with no rational underlying explanation. Another of life’s mysteries.

5 thoughts on “Why are there tanning parlors in our world?

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    Well, it’s too hot to sun yourself outside here a good part of the year…

    It is believed that people look thinner when they are tan (probably true–lower reflectivity) and that all those freckles and veins and blotches meld into one color when you tan (of course, they happened largely due to sun or tanning bed exposure in the first place).

    It was believed back in the dark ages (ha ha) that tanning beds were less harmful than the sun because they only emit UVA radiation–which, it turns out is way way worse for you–except you don’t burn from it (or not as much?)

    Additionally, tanning triggers a release of histamines, which are an addictive rush. You can literally get addicted to tanning.

    …and self-tanners are tricky to use, smell bad, and wear off funny.

    That said, I wear SPF 50+ every day and never tan–never have. I’ve been told by many that I look considerably younger than my 50 years old, at least wrinkle-wise.

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    People start smoking because they think it’s cool, because they are pressured by others who think it’s cool, and (and I know plenty of these) because they think it will help them stay/become slim.

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