5 Weird Tan Lines You Can Be Proud Of

3 Min. Read
5 Weird Tan Lines You Can Be Proud Of

Nothing tells people around you what you’ve been up to outdoors quite like a good tan.

It has the power to make them curious, jealous or just conversational. Without you uttering a word, a distinct bronzing can sometimes tell people exactly how you spent your day or your week.

Now, maybe no one has told you this yet, but there is a hierarchy and point system to the types of tan lines you might acquire. Simply put, not all tans are created equal. (Sunburn is never cool, of course. Always wear sunscreen.) My point, though, is that a full-body, evenly toned tan, well, that’s just boring. If you’re going to get a tan, get it the right way, in the right places.

The I-fell-asleep-at-the-beach lobster bake? Not a winner.

The mid-calf contrast your dad builds up from wearing tube socks while golfing and grass cutting? Not even close to cool.

If you want high-fives and winks from those in the melatonin know, here are five tan lines you can aspire to, despite their being a bit weird:

1) The Chaco Tan

Or the sandal tan. This is your first tier of tan-dom. This tells observers, “I get sun and I do it in casual environments where open-toe footwear is acceptable.” Of course, the Chaco tan only gets noticed when you’re actually wearing sandals, or barefoot, so odds are you’re in the company of others with similar tans. And, anybody can get this tan. That’s why this one only gets you 5 points.

2) The Raccoon Tan

This one tells more than you might think. If you see a person with a brown face but white around the eyes in the shape of their sunglasses, odds are they’ve not only been outdoors, but they’ve also been on water (a plus, of course). People in broad-brimmed hats and sunglasses don’t usually develop the Raccoon Goggles, but if they’re on the water, soaking up the sun reflecting off its surface, they develop this tell-tale mark. 10 points here.

3) The Fingertip Tan

This one’s for the bikers. See, they wear those fingerless gloves, and if they’re out mountain biking or doing road tours enough, you’ll start to see the tell-tale two-tone on their hands. Sometimes, they even have dark oval spots on the backs of their hands, if their gloves have a hole there. You’ve got to put time in for this, so it’s a 20-pointer.

4) The PFD Tan

This is one your guide will probably have. It comes from wearing that life vest with no shirt (or a bikini top) underneath. It’s not just a tan, it’s the hallmark of a lifestyle. This is also a 20-pointer.

5) The Trucker Tan

Ever been on a road trip headed north in the afternoon and hang your left arm out the window? If yes, then you probably ended up with this beauty. Although unbalanced, this one scores points because it will make your friends laugh and, hey, you’re off on an adventure, and that’s just one of many stories you’ll tell about it. 10 points for you.

Photo: Suki Bristol

Reid Williams

Reid has guided whitewater and taught swiftwater rescue in the U.S. and Central America on 13 different rivers, after brief turns as a chemistry teacher and a newspaper journalist.

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