I bought lunch today and grabbed my book, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. I headed out behind our building to a huge field, took off my shirt, and sat with my back to the sharp sun.
I lasted about five minutes before I wanted to get back inside.
Back in the days when I lifeguarded, I was much more capable of sitting in the sun for long hours, soaking up the rays, and turning a deep redbrown. But I think direct sunlight is like a hot spice: if you don't have a lot of it a lot of the time, you feel bad when you do have it. (Though you may love it.)
I think part of the problem is the sitting part. I've never understood sunbathers. Cancer lurks behind every great tan, and people who just sit in the sun all day with a spritz bottle are just asking for it.
When I lifeguarded and taught swimming lessons, I *had* to be in the sun. I had no choice. I wore SPF 60 lotion and a hat, and I did what I could to keep my body safe.
So if I get sun these days, it's only when there's a good reason for being outside. A pick-up game of soccer. A run with Amy. A long ride on my bike. A walk on the beach.
I went for a walk on the beach a couple of weekends ago and my neck got burned. It faded into a dark tan almost immediately, and now there's a distinct line between my neck and my pale back. I don't expect that will change.