I’ve written posts about the crazy comments redheads get, and one on the things women with long hair hear constantly, but actually, I think being pale is one of the things people find hardest to understand and/or accept: so much so that if you have pale skin, you’re probably sick to death of hearing things like…
“You’re SO pale!”
Just as redheads are constantly informed that their hair is red (You don’t say!), and tall people can’t go anywhere without being told how very tall they are, people with very pale skin are never allowed to forget what colour they are: as if that would even be possible. Strange as it may seem, however, most of us are well aware of the colour of our skin: we’ve had it our entire lives, after all, so, you know, thanks for the newsflash, but you’re not exactly presenting us with brand new information here – sorry!
“Are you ill?”
Or, even worse, “Wow, you look TERRIBLE! You should be at home in bed!” I just have to go easy on the blusher to find myself on the receiving end of comments like this, and if I don’t wear any makeup at all, people will be calling an ambulance before I know it. Because there’s nothing like being told how horrific you look to make you feel good about yourself, huh?
“Can’t you tan AT ALL?”
You know, I probably COULD, if I was willing to risk skin cancer, but I actually think I’ll just keep slathering myself in SPF 110, if it’s all the same to you…
If you’ve ever wanted to truly shock someone to their very core, just try telling them you have no desire whatsoever to get a sun-tan. They’re be talking about it for days…
“Not even if you laid out in the sun all day?”
I’m really struggling to think of an easier way to explain this to you…
“Could you not just use fake tan, then?”
Yes, we could. But as hard as it to wrap your head around the concept, some of us don’t actually WANT to change the colour of our skin. Imagine!
“You’d look better with a tan.”
I’ve actually had people say this to me, and it’s just jaw-droppingly rude: I mean, you’re basically telling me my natural skin colour isn’t acceptable to you, or “good enough” to be seen, and that I should try to change it, just to please you? How on EARTH is that an OK thing to say to someone? Can you even imagine telling someone with naturally dark skin that they should lighten it, because “it would look better”? Nope, didn’t think so…
“Better remember to wear sunscreen!”
I know people mean well with this one, and it would be fine I was, like 6 years old or something. Given that I’m a grown woman, though, it’s just a little patronising to assume I don’t know how to look after my own skin, don’t you think?
“I don’t expect you’d like it there: it’s really sunny!”
Look, we’re just pale: we’re not vampires, OK? We don’t have to avoid the sun completely, and as long as we’re appropriately dressed, and sun-screened-up, we’re perfectly capable of going outdoors when the sun’s out. I promise we won’t disintegrate at the first touch of daylight (and we don’t glitter like Cullens, either, more’s the pity).
“Your holiday can’t have been THAT good: where’s your sun tan?”
Because, yes, the sole purpose of travel is to get a sun tan. I feel like such a failure now.
“Look how much darker I am!“
(Usually said while grabbing your arm to compare colour.) It’s not that we’re jealous of your superior tanning ability, you understand – it’s that we don’t like being treated like some kind of curiosity or freak: skin colour isn’t a competition, after all, and it’s SUPER weird when people start trying to act like they’ve somehow “beaten” us in a contest we didn’t even know we were taking part in. (And wouldn’t want to, either, for that matter…