As some of you may know, I have red hair and pale skin, which means I go from zero to lobster every time I step into direct sunlight. I used to joke that I was a vampire because growing up I hated garlic, never slept, and every time I went outside I would burst into flames. I was also stalked by Sarah Michelle Gellar.
One summer a friend of mine asked me to sunbathe with her. I didn’t want to seem lame so I agreed, but secretly put on SPF 40. I laid down on a bench and read a book for about 20 minutes while my friend napped. As she woke up, I turned toward her. “Oh my god your face!” she exclaimed, before bursting into laughter. That’s not a phrase you ever want to hear. No one ever says “Oh my god your face! … is covered in puppies! Yay!” I pulled out a mirror and saw why: half my face was deep red and the other was still my signature shade of translucent. Apparently I should have rotated myself to cook evenly so that I didn’t look like a Batman villain. The only way to hide it was to apply make up that turned my entire face a uniform orange.
But my biggest sunburn fuck-up was when I didn’t wear sunscreen skiing. My logic was that it was “too cold” out to get a sunburn, as if temperature affected UV Rays. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Snow bounces the sunlight back up at you so even places that wouldn’t normally burn get exposed. And so, in my first day of skiing in Colorado I got so badly sunburned that I had to go to a hospital. My entire face swelled and bubbled and cracked; I couldn’t open my eyes and I could only eat through a straw. But the thing I most regret about the experience is that I let my dad take my photo. To this day, it my biggest potential blackmail weakness, and the closest I think any human being has ever come to looking like Sloth from The Goonies.