The 3 Postulates of Paleness in Pleasant Weather

I’m happy to live in a part of the country that has four seasons. None of that “well, there is our two days of spring, bring on summer!” nonsense. Sure, the humidity gets to be terrible, and traveling between the hot subway platform to the freezing air-conditioned office is rough, but I’ll take it.

Like many people, I enjoy those first few days of summer-y weather. There is no better pain than the touching something metal that’s been out in the sun and realizing that you’ve just burned yourself. It hurts, but in a good way: that means it’s nice out!

But then, as a pale person, you realize that it’s once again that time of the year where you can’t go outside. Ever. Without putting on some sunscreen, that is. I work in a basement, so you’re darn right I’m going to sneak outside for a short lunch break every day…but not too long, because then I’ll get sun burnt.

Sure, I put on facial moisturizer each morning that has SPF coverage, so I can usually assume my face is going to escape unscathed. I can’t say the same thing for my arms, or my decolletage, or the back of my neck. And I’m not going to waste precious time shellacking myself in sunscreen before I go outside: I only get 45 minutes, after all. So what’s a pale person to do?

Well, buck up and remember the 3 Postulates of Paleness in Pleasant Weather, that’s what!

  1. Spending more than 15 minutes in direct sunlight will cause one to burn, therefore one must find a space that will become shady in the allotted amount of time, or find a space that is in the shade to begin with.
  2. Cloud cover is not an acceptable alternative to sunscreen. The sun will go through the clouds and give you a just-the-other-side-of-rosy glow anyway.
  3. Saying “hey, screw it, I don’t need sunscreen” may feel like a sound decision in the moment, but goes against the rule “wear sunscreen now, have beautiful skin that doesn’t resemble fruit leather later on”, which trumps every other rule in every other possible situation.

As a pale person, abiding by these three assumptions is important. I’ve found myself a nice reading spot that provides shade while not detracting from the warmth of the sun. As a bonus, it’s wood, not metal, so there won’t be any awkward “ouch!” moments.

My reading spot of choice. Hello, shade!

Someone please tell me what’s it like to not have to worry about these things when one goes outside. Last year I had to go outside during a fire drill and the sun was so strong that I got a little sunburn, because I had no opportunity to find shade, and no time to put on sunblock. So please, make me jealous, I want to live vicariously through you.


2 thoughts on “The 3 Postulates of Paleness in Pleasant Weather

  1. I don’t think about sun screen nearly as much as I should! I’m half white, half… brown (from a myriad of darker skinned countries) and while I look like I shouldn’t have to worry, each time I go out to spend time in the sun I inevitably get a nice sunburn across my cheeks, shoulders, and once in the creases of my elbows! Thankfully these burns are only painful for a day or so and then become a tan…

    I should be more careful though because you are right, no one wants leathery skin! Thanks for the tips though! Shade is everyone’s friend.

    • Elbow crease sunburn sounds awful! I once had pretty bad knee-crease sunburn, it wasn’t pretty.
      I wish my sunburn would tan, but instead it just becomes pinkish, and then goes away, so it has absolutely no upside :(. I just have to keep hoping that my ruddy Irish face ages gracefully thanks to all the globby sunscreen I’ve put on over the years.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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