In case you haven’t heard, I don’t have seductive olive skin. I am not 10% Greek, Italian, Brazilian, Native American, or any other ethnicity that would allow me to subtly develop an even summer tan after a few casual barbeques. My ancestors LITERALLY took the Mayflower over to this here ‘Merica. We’re talking straight up milky-English heritage. Maybe a little Irish on my dad’s side. Basically, my skin was made for hiding under prairie dresses and parasols, not for high-definition exposure in a bra and underwear bikini.parasol

I’m not saying that my reflective hue is less attractive than Jessica Alba’s honey complexion. This is the skin I was given and I have learned to accept love it. I can go for the white skin, dark hair, blue-eyed vampire look in the winter months, and we know that’s all the rage right now. Not complaining.

But winter is coming over [new GOT addict here] and now I’ve got to face the three stages of every average white girl in summertime. Shall we begin?

Stage 1: Omigod I have to put on shorts

michael phelps

Look at those bitty legs.

The transition from safe, stretchy skinny jeans to the worst creation in fashion history- shorts- is sudden, painful, and almost unethical. There really is no preparing oneself. Every single year, I think to myself, How was I ever okay wearing these hot pants last summer? I’m strictly wearing flowy sundresses this year, thankyouverymuch. Shorts are never flattering. Either they expose skin that should only be seen under dim lights on your wedding night, or they cut off your legs in a way that makes your proportions look like a bad version of Michael Phelps (see photo). Not to mention, the suckers ride up and inevitably draw attention to, um, crevices. It’s just bad. At some point each year, we somehow get used to seeing everyone else’s cellulite flapping about and become much more comfortable letting our own pasty limbs fly free, but the initial closet changeover during the month of May never becomes less shocking.

Stage 2: Does this shirt match my shade of red?

Sometime in June, we experience the season’s first sunburn. The average white girl has two options: stay ghostly pale and constantly smell like Banana Boat, or face two weeks of people pointing out that you have a sunburn (Really?? I hadn’t noticed that rolling over at night feels like bathing in a tub of hot coals) so that you can come out on the other side with a little bit of summer dignity color. I do not condone purposeful sunburns. I repeat, I do not condone purposeful sunburns. At least put on SPF 30. Lobster red won’t do anything for your future tan except peel you back to square one. However, the reddish tint confirming your first date with Mr. Sun is pretty much unavoidable on the quest to look good in white before Labor Day.

Stage 3: I know, I know, I look super exotic

No matter how tan we get by August (finally!), we will never hide the fact that we are about as exotic as a whitetail deer. But reaching a shade that is more brown than peach is enough for us! Just call me Sophia Vergara. Mila Kunis. Eva Longoria. Take your pick. Should a tan really make me any more confident? Nope. Does it? Yep. I’m socializing as much as humanly possible during this short-lived bronze goddess stage because the opportunity to look good in pictures sans-filter only comes around once a year. The journey was long, the sacrifices unpleasant, but we did not give up. Time to celebrate!

<disclaimer below>

Listen, if you want to rock the translucent look, I am not here to tell you that you aren’t gorgeous just the way that you are. I also totally understand that sunshine+skin=wrinkles. Notice that I told you to wear at least SPF 30. I don’t want anyone thinking that I’m suggesting that skin cancer is worth a month’s worth of impersonating Baywatch lifeguards. I’m simply spelling out the three stages of summer for the average white girl. They’re real. And the 2014 cycle has begun.