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As soon as the first steady rays of the sun break through the days of continuous grey and temperatures approach 20 degrees, you'll start seeing them everywhere.

Nested next to the blooming daisies, occasionally enveloped by a cloud of dandelion seeds, looking for a place to put down roots. Not here, and they're waved away.

You recognize them from afar as blotches in the fields, giving off the feel they're blotches where the painter accidentally dipped his paintbrush in the wrong color - but couldn't be asked to paint over them.

Like plants, they crave sunlight and ensure that as much of their surface as possible is exposed to the burning ball in the sky.

It's their one calling, their one mission to fill up their Vitam D storage and get the much-idealized shade of color: somewhere between dark nude lipstick kissing a gold surface.

They lay still. Only once in a while will they change positions. Other times, they'll sit up, grab a bottle next to them, and lather on either an accelerant of the burning process or, maybe, in a whiff of realization, a lotion, temporarily leaving a white cast on their skin.

The people sunbathing are everywhere.

If some Victorian aristocrat were to stumble across the scenery, they'd be in shock. Why would anyone want to look like they have to work for their money? But there's no need to even go to an ancient time.

Just look to Asia. In Japan, women would prefer to be white, and "beautiful white" isn't just a term used on Toothpaste, but also a selling point for all sorts of whitening lotions.

In me, we have the extremes of the tanning spectrum (Japanese & White Westerners).

Rotisserie chicken on one side, Dracula on the other.

Neither seems healthy if pursued to an extreme. It's funny how we humans never seem to be happy with what we have. Straight hair? You want curly. Does your skin have even just the faintest hint of darkness? Let's whiten it...

At least on the tanning front, I've simply given up pursuing some ideal. I'm a big 50+ SPF sunscreen user all year round, and I love to sit in the shade more than direct sunlight.

Yet. I, too, can't deny that, after all those dark grey days, it feels hella fine to be sitting outside, a breeze turning around the pages in my blue notebook while the sun is showing itself from its finest side.

My favorite sunscreens are all Asian as they tend to have much nicer consistency, and leave no cast:

  • Missha All Around Safe Block Aqua Sun Gel SPF50+PA++++

  • Etude House - Sunprise Mild Airy Finish SPF50 PA+++

  • Nivea Sun Super Water Gel

  • UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF50

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