Wise answers to perplexing questions
Dear Answer Lady
My friends and I were hanging out on the beach a couple of weeks ago, and we got our picture taken for Exit Zero – we were so excited! But they’re now making fun of me because I am the palest person in the picture – they are all so tan. They have been hanging out at the beach all summer before we have to go back to school, but I have a summer job so I can’t hang out as much. Should I start going to a tanning salon? What can I say when they make fun of me? – Paleface
Once upon a time, long, long ago, having pale skin was prized. It was a sign of gentility, an indicator of wealth and refinement. The only tanned people were the laborers in the fields. Today, despite dire skin cancer and ozone-depletion warnings, it seems like there is some kind of race to see who can look the most like a leather handbag by middle age. Don’t misunderstand the Answer Lady – the sun is good for us in small doses, and certainly there is no point in living in a place like Cape May without spending time at the beach. But the Answer Lady cannot recommend that a young person spend her hard-earned money on tanning. If being the only paleface in the group really bothers you, invest in some sunless tanning lotion. At your age, fitting in is very important, but that will change, hopefully, over the coming years, and you will learn to embrace that which makes you stand out from the crowd. It sounds as if you are already well on your way, since you are the only one of your friends working this summer. Wear your pale face proudly, and when your friends poke fun, just ignore them. Or feel free to use that leather handbag reference – the Answer Lady is exceedingly pale, and that’s one of her favorites. You’re welcome.
Dear Answer Lady
I’ve just lost a bunch of weight – good for me! But one of the downsides is that none of my clothes fit. I can’t dash out and buy a whole new wardrobe – so what can I do? – Swimming in My Clothes
Congratulations – as far as problems go, this is a good one to have. The Answer Lady advises you to get over to The Ladies’ Room immediately. Gently-used clothing and accessories at great prices: this one’s a no-brainer.