BLACK: A very risky business



Brigid Black

It is a weekday afternoon at Villanova, and you’ve just walked into Kennedy Hall. As you head downstairs into the Main Campus mailroom, you cross your fingers, hoping for that care package from your parents – a box filled with candy? Mmm.

You fiddle with your combination lock and crack open your tiny mailbox. Something shiny, thin and colorful sits inside. A postcard from a friend, maybe?

As you pull out the small square slip, your eyes and the letters on the card finally meet. “Get ready for Spring Break! 2 tans for 2 dollars! Only at Metrotans!”

What a lovely surprise! You are so happy that you decide to spread the joy by donating your gift to the huge blue recycling bin. Funny enough, it is filled with many other identical flashy identical coupons from Metrotans. What a coincidence!

Such a scene is all too common in the mailroom.

While I wish that receiving mail from Metrotans really did fill my heart with excitement, instead it has exactly the opposite effect.

Tanning salons have been, without a doubt, the single most irritating sources of junk mail flooding my mailbox during my two-and-a-half years at Villanova.

I cannot possibly be the only person on campus who has groaned and rolled their eyes upon finding one of Metrotans’ signature bright orange-red-and-yellow slips inside my box. Tanning salons manage to frequently and consistently impose their annoying advertisements onto our student body through the use of our campus mailboxes. Frankly, I’m quite sick of it.

For some silly reason, I thought that perhaps the big move to the West Campus apartments for my junior year would mean an end to the nonsense I experienced with my mailbox in Kennedy Hall.

Alas, how wrong I was. Junior year has brought no end in sight to the problem, as my mailbox in St. Mary’s Hall is still an all-too-frequent recipient of junk mail from tanning salons. Metrotans sure knows how to attack us from all angles.

One may try to counter me by saying that I am completely overreacting to this situation and that the solution to the problem would be for me to simply throw these useless cards away into the trash, like I described before.

However, that would be totally evading the point. The problem is that we as students are being harassed by a business that is trying (successfully) to make money by encouraging us to engage in extremely unhealthy behavior.

The truth of the matter is that too much direct, unprotected exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the use of tanning beds and sun lamps (more commonly known as “fake tanning”) is a major risk factor for skin cancer, and this is no laughing matter.

The fast facts are frightening. According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, accounting for nearly half of all cancers in the United States It was estimated that around 10,850 people died from skin cancer in 2007.

Knowing this, are the “2 tans for 2 dollars!” specials at Metrotans really worth the risk?

And yet, our campus culture appears obsessed with the desire to be tan, particularly our female Villanovans. It seems that these individuals believe that the more unnaturally orange you are, the more desirable you will be to other people.

This attitude desperately needs to change. For starters, our University must put an end to this senseless mailing overload caused by our local tanning salons.

Would Villanova support stuffing Marlboro cigarette ads into our boxes? Definitely not. Then why is Metrotans allowed to do the same?

Secondly, we need to embrace our bodies as they are instead of putting our health in danger to turn our skin as dark as possible. I’d much rather be the pale, freckly Irish girl that I am than suffer from melanoma years down the line.

And I’m not alone – Conan O’Brien makes pale look cool, and Nicole Kidman makes pale look beautiful.

So sorry, Metrotans, I won’t be doing business with you anytime soon.

Now excuse me while I go re-apply my sunblock – SPF 45, please.


Brigid Black is a junior English and French major from Brooklyn, N.Y. She can be reached