20 Annoying Things You'll Only Understand If You're Pale

Being pale is a blessing and a curse, but in the summer, it’s mostly the latter. Here are the 20 most annoying things about being pale.

I am a very pale person. So pale, in fact, that when I was at my palest in the twelfth grade, I actually used that ridiculous pure white face makeup from Hot Topic as my “translucent powder” because no other shade worked. While I have embraced the paleness as something I like about myself, there really is no other worse time for being of the ultra-fair folk than in the hot, bright summer. Therefore, I present to you all the annoying pale people problems I have been whining about nonstop lately.

(Related: 22 Annoying Things You’ll Only Understand If You Have Piercings)

  1. Forgetting your sunscreen ruins your day. Going to an outdoor concert? Good luck.
  2. Your friends putting their arms next to yours to see how much darker they are. And the ones who typically consider themselves pale get all triumphant when they realize you’re lighter than they are.
  3. When you don’t wear blush and everyone’s like, “Are you okay?” I’m fine. I’m just not wearing makeup, but thanks for pointing out how sick I naturally look!
  4. Nobody believing your background’s anything but Scandinavian. As I’ve mentioned numerous times, in part because I am a little defensive of it, my dad is from Peru. He’s a lot darker than I am, so people who assume all Latina or mixed-race folks look the same regularly think I’m lying when I mention that I am anything besides “Mayflower white” on my mom’s side. Wah-wahhh.
  5. And therefore people think you must be adopted. Due to #4, I have gotten the question, “What’s it like to be adopted?” more times than I can count.
  6. “You’re from Florida?” (or any other typically sunny place) Yes, because pale people are incapable of being born there. It’s just like Children Of Men, except only with kids whose MAC concealer shade is NC15.
  7. Being in the sun for five minutes before your nose gets red. Look how much fun I’m having on the beach! Oh wait, now I’m Rudolph.
  8. Oh, and did I mention the peeling? Silly gosling, you can’t have your sunburn without some added leprosy-like symptoms!
  9. Watching freckles appear before your very eyes. You thought you applied enough sunscreen? Haha, that’s so funny because BAM–750 freckles are on your chest now. I actually love freckles so I think this is cool, but I know lots of pale gingers who avoid them.
  10. Experimenting (badly) with sunless tanner as a kid. Staining stuff, getting blotchy because you didn’t know how to exfoliate, forgetting to put it past your ankles then wearing flip flops…it’s all been done, and it’s all been embarrassing.
  11. “Can you even be in the sun?” Yes. I’m pale, not Edward Cullen.
  12. Wearing a wide-brim hat for its practicality, not its stylishness. When it’s not a trend, most people don’t even care to know what constitutes a wide-brim hat. But you–you know. Because you know if you don’t wear one, you will be tickle-me-pink within an hour.
  13. The shock people show when they see your actual skin tone. If you are a longtime tanning salon fan, people can get fairly (pun intended) startled when you reveal how pale you really are.
  14. “Wait, but if you’re Middle Eastern, shouldn’t you be used to the sun?” Proof that anthropological studies in our school systems blow.
  15. The backhanded compliment, “Well, at least you’ll look younger eventually, right?” This is a little backhanded to both pale people and tan people, as though us pale folks look pitiful right now whereas the tanner ones will look terrible later. Silly.
  16. Never being able to use bronzer. I enjoy light shades of bronzer sometimes, but for the most part, there are very few bronzers I can wear without looking like Mitt Romney when he tried to get the Latino vote.
  17. Feeling like your legs are practically reflective when you expose them. The light–THE LIGHT.
  18. Wearing long-sleeves everywhere, because sometimes you’re too lazy for SPF. Yes, even in the ocean and at the pool.
  19. The word “pasty.” Seriously, stahhhhp.
  20. People being concerned about what SPF you’re using. Yes, it’s high. Yes, I know humans need Vitamin D. I also know that if I don’t wear this, I will turn into a tomato version of Violent Beauregarde.
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