I was telling Chris about my unsuccessful quest to find decent and inexpensive blueberries in Riyadh. Eventually, I settled on just buying cranberries, still imported from Canada, but they were a lot less pricey than the blueberries from the US which cost an arm and a leg in Safeway.
Me: At least cranberries are higher in… I don’t remember the word.
Which led to a discussion about glutathione and metathione, anti-oxidants that also lighten skin, which explains their popularity in some Asian countries. I had to explain to him why a lot of brown-skinned people try hard to to be lighter and use all kinds of products – papaya soap, whitening lotions, bleaching creams, metathione tablets, glutathione injections – because lighter skin is a standard for beauty for some (not all!) Asians, especially in the Philippines where most of us are naturally tanned. While I no longer think that way as I’ve grown to like myself as I am, I used to use some of the milder whitening stuff in my early twenties. The most extreme was buying glutathione tablets from GNC. When I stopped trying at 24, my natural skin color reemerged in a year.
Chris laughed and thought it was all crazy. He didn’t think “pale” as a skin color was a compliment and he counts himself lucky if he gets a slight tan over the summer. He also thinks that my natural tan is an asset because I would never have to work hard for it. He admitted that in his 20’s (who do we do stupid stuff in our 20s?) he tried using tanning beds with a friend and went through 10 sessions. He eventually decided that the effort wasn’t worth it but a lot of people from his place still do that regularly and even get fake spray-tans, which I found hilarious.
We laugh but it’s a fact that humans tend to want what they don’t have. It seems hard to be content… light-skinned people try to get a tan, and brown-skinned people try to be whiter. But it’s just so much easier and less expensive to like what you already have.