By Taylor Carter
Growing up in Southern California, a favorite pastime of just about every person in the county was to go to the beach. We would all line up our towels, lay out next to each other, set up the boom box and eat In N Out. We were very picturesque. Think of the most “California” Tumblr photo you can, that was Saturday. The boys would throw their bodies into the grey-blue water and laugh as they were continuously knocked down by waves and the girls would lay on the sand watching the boys from a distance. I wish one of my female friends surfed, for feminist reasons, but honestly we were all pretty bad at it. We decided tanning was a better activity and less painful—well for some of us.
I have never been naturally tan in my life.When I lay out in the sun one of two things happens: I either burn (and by burn, I mean blotchy, peeling for days kind of burn), or my freckles darken and multiply. I even recently noticed that my lips have freckles, which is the closest I will come to having a Marilyn Monroe beauty mark, so I fully embrace them.
Growing up, I really didn’t mind my freckles until I realized that the reason I have them is because my body isn’t tanning properly. My body is unable to evenly tan itself like one of the models in the Venus Razor commercials. I felt betrayed by own body. I tried all the tricks in the book to tan, even the ones that are awful for your skin. I was desperate to fit in and look like my sun-kissed friends. My freckles seemed to be a mark of my failure.
The comedian, Paula Poundstone, in one of her acts talks about how her car would always break down and she would find herself scolding it on the side of the road like it was her misbehaving child. This is how I felt about my body’s inability to tan. I was scolding my skin like a child, saying things like, “All the other girls are tanning evenly, why can’t you?” or “Maybe if you tried to tan, I wouldn’t be so hard on you!” and lastly “I buy you tanning oil, and you don’t even care!”
Now as a woman of the world, with so much wisdom, (she said sarcastically, pushing up her, on-sale Prada eyeglasses to show she meant business) I now know that my freckles aren’t all that bad, actually, they are kind of rad.
I’ve always been into being unique, I was just a pasty white girl with brown hair so I was always looking for ways to be different and stand out. I was always listening to music no one knew about, reading classic books no one really understood, and trying to dress like I came out of a fashion magazine or at least an Urban Outfitters ad. What I never realized was that I was already pretty unique, because aside from watching The Nanny reruns instead of Disney Channel, I had freckles amongst a sea of golden California teenagers.
I also realized, having freckles makes you instantly adorable. If you have freckles, remove yourself from the situation and think of other people with freckles; they are usually naturally beautiful and don’t really need makeup at all. Even if they have facial redness, it looks like it’s just natural rosiness.
Freckles make you look younger than your age, no matter how old you are, and your freckles can give you a youthful glow. I know that if you’re under 21 this sounds like a bad thing, but after 21 you are going to love that you look younger. You probably won’t ever have to lie about your age. People will just guess you’re younger than you are. When I get carded, I pull out my ID and blush with my natural rosy cheeks and smile sheepishly like I’m Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks just fell in love with me.
Another cool part about freckles is sometimes guys write songs about how great they are. The Cab has a great song called “Your Love is My Religion” and it compares freckles to the freaking stars!
So, to girls with freckles who are sad about not being able to tan properly and are tired of being the palest one at the pool party, do not worry because being different is something to embrace, not to be mad at it. I wouldn’t preach it if I didn’t believe it. Throw away that concealer! (Actually don’t throw it away because you might have a gnarly zit that you want to cover up and that’s acceptable, we all do it.) To the girls without freckles who tan like the dancing goddesses in those Venus commercials, good for you! Being tan is cool, but be nicer to your pale, freckled friends. Try not to use them as an example of how pale you are. You know what I mean? Avoid saying things like “Oh my gosh you guys, I must be so white because I’m almost the same shade as Sally.” Don’t do that to Sally. Instead tell Sally that her freckles make her look like a “Freaky Friday” era Lindsay Lohan or Reba McEntire in the early ’90s.
Freckles are a part of us and they make us unique. They may seem like a curse, but they aren’t; because honestly curses probably aren’t real. However, if they are real, then some sorceress babe gave you freckles and she probably did it to make you look like a beautiful bohemian princess.
Being kind to your freckled skin is so important. Wearing sunscreen can be a lifesaver—literally. If you want to be a little darker for summer, fake is the way to go. Fake tans have gotten much better than they were in the early 2000s, I promise. There’s even do it yourself sets and they work! But don’t get so tan that your freckles won’t shine!
Taylor Carter is a twenty-something ginger, broadcast journalist, writer and comedy nerd. She is graduating this May from the University of Nevada Las Vegas with a BA in Journalism and Media Studies. She is knowledgeable in the subjects of relationships, pop culture, and nachos. In her free time she enjoys reading celebrity memoirs, taking photographs, and trying to convince people she looks like Drew Barrymore. She hopes to one day move to Los Angeles and be a full-time writer.