ThIs is no tan

So, finally, after much global tribulation, many of us are being allowed out into the summer. The golden era when you’d  planned  to holiday abroad or at least  lie on the beach, to get a tan, that badge of pride of summer. the question is, why? ‘naturally darker skin people don’t want to tan. quite the reverse, witness the plethora of ‘fairness creams’ in Asia.

In some countries, the statements are even bolder “Skin Whitening Deodorant” anyone? For those delectably pale armpits, you just HAVE to have. When I first visited Asia, it puzzled me no end. NO, I love my honey cappuccino skin, always have, despite the name-calling:  I mean this is ME. Call me an n-word (naughty, nefarious, no-mates)if you wish, or try to banish me ‘back to Africa’ all you want. (to be fair, I lived in a backwards town.), but I’ll never apologise. it all fermented confusion in my 6-year-old mind. “Mummy, did I come from Africa? NO? But where is it then?’ No, this is no tan.

I’ll admit, it feels kinda scary to express these opinions here, but what is a platform for? Even if it’s just a battered shoe box!

Every country has its bullying and racism culture and boy, do they start ’em young. 

Some of it is ‘enlightened’ Liberalism. “That’s a great tan you have there.” -in a broad Northern accent. I’ve even been told, “you’ll pass.” by a highly intelligent scientist from New York. That was kind.



( no I don’t approve of  gratuitous swearing, especially from myself). No excuses..  (when people talk about Canadians being overly polite, they’re reckoning without the British Girls School system).

On the other hand, I’ve been primly informed that “it’s been scientifically proven that blacks are not as intelligent as white people,” by someone with less than a quarter of my education. Apparently this poor dolt had no idea about my heritage.. like, THIS is an excuse?! Should I just get a better tan?

But recently, things have taken quite  a turn, haven’t they? Heinous acts on the streets of that doughty land across the water, that of late, seems hellbent on running to the back of the zeitgeist . No names... We all know the score here. I guess I’m  yet another truism-toting, ‘it’s not enough to not be racist, you must be anti-racist, yaysayer.

But can we be a lot more inclusive, how about extending that to all the -ists and- ics: anti- sexist, anti-ageist, anti-homophobic, transphobic, et al?

Why do we need to have an opinion on someone else’s reality? Or even their fantasy, for that matter? (I  fitted drag queens into pretty frocks while at school, on my Saturday job in a  small boutique,  A pursuit I’d highly recommend:non-harmful, (unless you count broadening the mind), and a right giggle, I was thrilled to have a front row seat to human nature,and into the bargain I saved enough to take my mother on a surprise girls’ shopping trip to London, to alleviate the drudgery, as I saw it. An all-round WIN.

But, no, this isn’t a tan, it’s a gift from my ancestors. I’m just waiting to do the genetic testing to  see if  I can split things down to any other exotic fractions: percentages of Swedish/Fijian/ Native American? Go on,  I’m here for it.

We were flying so  high just a few short years ago, and now we’re, to use that lovely visual image “going to hell in a hand basket” 


I’m grieving for our lost Brave New World. whatever happened to the Age of Aquarius, 5th Dimension  dudes? I’m pretty sure the moon must’ve been in the 7th house at least a  few times over the last few years, no?!

I know, I know,this isn’t the place to talk about politics (but where is?) I did promise more pretty dresses, after all. I’ll make good on that one, really. I just got caught up in thinking about the shape of things, that’s all.

But in a time of pandemics, rioting and imminent  ecological meltdown, do cool clothes  and the latest trends really matter? (listen to me, biting the hand that could feed me!)

In times like these, do the latest trends really matter?



You can argue they give a cohesiveness to society, and a glimmer of hope. But I’m not content splashing in the shallow end. How about dealing with our issues right now? Are we just “too busy?”

I’m not the  brown person  the excellent Hasan Minhaj discusses: Desi- although, to  my amusement,  I was widely proclaimed as such, throughout my travels in the subcontinent.

But this is everyone’s struggle, with no tan or otherwise, or simply those like me with my

                                                                  gift from my ancestors.