My family and I went to our family haircut this past Saturday morning. Yes, despite having all different hair styles, we tend to get our locks cut during the same hour-long appointment every six weeks. It works out, it’s convenient, and it’s a money saver. But I had a little issue with my recent appointment. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with our hair cuts. The lady that cuts all our hair does an incredible job and we’re very happy with how we look when we leave. Even my mother-in-law goes to this gal. No, my current personal dilemma is related to the fact that the business is a hair styling…and tanning salon.
For the most part, I’ve somewhat ignored the coffin-like beds in the back rooms. They’re there, but they seem rarely used. We’ve been going to this establishment for a number of years and I never recall anyone using the beds, until this past Saturday.
An older lady that looked like she was in her sixties was the patron of the tanning service. She was dressed in a sleeveless blouse and shorts…appropriate for the mid-90 degree heat of central North Carolina. I could see that her skin was deeply freckled and she was quite tan. Very tan in fact. I wondered why she even wanted to use the bed…she was THAT tan. Her appointment was short…less than 15 minutes. As she left, she asked if she could come back on Monday. It turns out that they were going to be closed this Monday, so she immediately made an appointment for Tuesday.
After she left, one of the hair stylists asked the other why the lady was so anxious to return for another tanning session. It was stated that she was going to the beach for the Independence Day weekend and wanted to get a base tan. She’d been visiting the tanning bed every day for the past week.
I kept my mouth shut. While I don’t agree with the use of tanning beds, they ARE legal and it’s the responsibility of each person to decide whether they should use them or not. (I’ll not get into the tanning for minors debate right now). This lady obviously decided she “needed” that tan…it’s her choice. It’s a stupid choice.
I wasn’t mad at the business. They have every right to have such a business, and I can only assume they run it well within the law. They seem like really good people, and I won’t judge them based on my personal disgust at the tanning industry.
I was mad at the woman. Not at the personal choice to make her freckled (and I saw a couple moles) skin look more leathery…but at the example she’s making of herself. I’m sure she has a child and possibly a grandchild (or maybe she wasn’t as old as she looked)…someone that looks up to her. She’s setting an example that tanning is okay. I would bet she’s had a couple pre-cancerous or basal cell carcinoma spots removed in her lifetime…and thus has solidified her opinion that skin cancer can simply be cut out. It infuriated me to witness her disregard for what she was doing to herself, but more so to the image she was possibly portraying as acceptable to others.
I’m not a picket sign-welding activist type by any means. My written speech is more effective and clearer than my spoken word. I almost wish I would have said something to this lady, but I didn’t. I have to wonder if I can keep my mouth shut during a future appointment should someone else seem to make poor decisions. I don’t want to jeopardize my family’s acceptance into this hair salon, and I respect our stylist too much as a friend to want to do anything to affect her business, especially in this economy. This is my dilemma.
Most likely I’ll continue to be quiet, but I’ve realized lately that the word NEEDS to get out more than I share here. I love sharing my thoughts, and sharing information via my Facebook page. I don’t plan on stopping for a long time. At the same time, I wonder if I’m preaching to the choir.
I have some thoughts of how to change that…of how I can get the word out and help to educate those who need to be educated. I won’t share just yet, but I’ll announce it soon. (I learned after announcing I would have t-shirts available soon that there are unforeseen issues lurking about. On which, by the way, I’m still working). In the meantime, I’d be interested in hearing your stories on getting out the word…of increasing the community’s awareness of skin cancer and melanoma.
Keep spreading the word while you keep spreading the sunscreen!