Tanning-stocracy

George Hamilton (or HamilTAN) on the far right, vintage Acapulco photo

*This is the third in a series exploring what the connotations of so-called aristocracy are, Southern or otherwise. Enjoy!*

It’s finally getting warm enough in lovely Las Vegas to lay out; that is, when the wind isn’t whipping around at 30+ miles per hour. As anyone who knows me well knows, I’m a tanning fiend. When I was a chronic visitor to Las Vegas, I used to tell people back home that laying out in Vegas for 45 minutes was the equivalent of laying out in Georgia for 4.5 hours–the sun is that direct and the heat is so dry out here. While the wind might make it feel as though one is laying in an air-conditioned tanning bed, it also blows sand and construction dust–both of which are ever-present in the neighbourhood I live in–into one’s eyes. So I’ve thus far only laid out when it was slightly breezy, which was heavenly.

As I was laying out on one of my afternoons off, I began thinking about all the so-called aristocrats who maintain(ed) a tan. Once frowned upon if you were in the upper class, tanning took off in the 60s and 70s. Many people from all walks of life took it to the extreme and ended up paying for it down the road when skin cancer reared its ugly head. But taken in moderation, the sun and the Vitamin D it provides can give a healthy, natural glow that cannot be procured from a tanning bed or self tanners. There’s something about 30 minutes or so in the sun that puts me at one with nature and the glorious world that God has blessed us with. (I know that might sound hokey, but it’s true.)

Without further rambling, here’s a few aristocrats–most of them admittedly from the Hollywood set–who’ve personified a good tan. The King of the Perma-Tan, of course, is George Hamilton, as seen in the title photo at the top of this entry.

The Kennedys, especially JFK and RFK, always kept tan thanks to their love of the family compound at Hyannis Port.

Jackie Kennedy's sister, Lee Radziwill, was also known in the 60s/70s for her golden tan. She's picture here to the left of her good friend Truman Capote.

Cary Grant seemed to get tanner and tanner as his career matured.

Liz & Dick got very tan once they purchased property in Mexico. Not only did their tans show their love of Puerto Vallarta, but the golden hues also masked their raging alcoholism which would've reddened their faces otherwise.

Farrah Fawcett single-handedly personified "fit & tan" in the late 70s.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law take in some Italian sun in 1999's 'The Talented Mr. Ripley'.

The girls of 'The Hills' show off their tans at the finale wrap party in summer 2010.

No montage of tan aristocrats would be complete without Dean Martin, of "I want a Dean Martin tan" fame! Here's Dino with sidekick Jerry Lewis and Marilyn Monroe.

And here's my favourite pic of yours truly sporting a healthy tan. This is Granny and me in the summer of 2002 on her front porch.

Happy tanning!

brt

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