Nancy Roman

Even I’M not THAT vain


That special time of year. Time for renewal. Time for change. Time to change to my cotton cardigans.

As I lighten my wardrobe (and this year my hair), it always becomes clear to me how very light I am.

For a person who was originally a brunette, I am extremely pale. Like the white underbelly of a fish that swims at the very bottom of the sea.

So I have to start in Spring if I am going to bare my shins come Summer.

If I had a vote (and I plan to someday), self-tanning moisturizer should be awarded a Nobel Prize. Maybe in more than one category: Science AND Psychology. It scientifically enhances MY self-esteem.

I’m already gradually building a little color on my pallid appendages.  I’ve learned that gradual is the key. Because streaky orange is only marginally better than blue-white. (Although in the primitive days of self-tanners – like six years ago – I was grateful for streaky orange.)

And if there’s anything I like as much as cardigans, it’s sandals. Shoes are prison. Sandals are Toe Freedom.

So I need tan shins. Because pantyhose and sandals will ALWAYS be too old for NotQuiteOld.

Though God knows, they now make pantyhose just for sandals.

Yup, Toeless Pantyhose.

A wonderful idea, I guess. But unless your sandal hits it exactly the right place, it’s going to be pretty obvious that your toes are sticking out the ends of your socks.

Maybe it would work for peep-toe shoes. But I don’t have any peep-toe shoes. The nice thing about sandals is letting your feet spill out as much as they like.  I believe in giving that special freedom to all my toes. Letting only my big toe breathe is not fair to all my other strangled little toes.

And now besides sunless tanner and toeless hose, there is yet another scientific advance in summer leg fashion.

Toeless knee-highs.


Who in the world are these things made for?

If knee-highs are cheaters for wearing under slacks, why would you need them in the summer? If you’re wearing pants and sandals, how vain are you if you need silky smooth ankles?

But then again, if my self-tanner gets too streaky, I can always wear them with my shorts.


  1. Don’t do it!

    My father once picked me up from the airport in black socks, earth shoes and plaid shorts. I loved my dad, I was a true daddy’s girl. But really? Who dressed him that day; I asked. I made him go to the car and wait for me while I got my own luggage, I was an insensitive chit in my twenties.


    • Maybe insensitive, but that outfit was unforgiveable. I would have made him wait in the car too!


  2. Love your sketch, as always! And please tell: your favorite brand of self-tanning moisturizer??? Inquiring minds (and fellow non-vain folks) want to know!


    • I’ve had pretty good results with Olay Touch of Sun. But I’m always on the lookout for something better.


  3. Your drawing is priceless!! I think I saw her at the grocery store last week…


  4. I was just thinking about getting my yearly supply of self-tanner as I was looking at my particularly stark lilly white legs. Wish they would be just a little bit more natural but hey! I don’t care. It’s better than lilly white. Wonderful drawing. Almost made me want to buy those dang knee-highs.


  5. hee-hee-hee


  6. Those toeless knee-highs are a real head-scratcher, no doubt! I agree that gradual self-tanners are an amazing invention, though I’m not wearing them as much as I once did. I do wish there was a way to prevent them from a) feeling so sticky while drying, for hours, and b) streaking and/or flaking off in the foot area. Otherwise, though, you’re right. These products could have saved me a lot of trauma in my childhood years!


  7. i think orange is in for spring? and i know stripes are in. so, it follows that orange-streaks- done-by-accident-from-tanning-lotion might actually be okay?


    • At least my stripes are vertical…. very slimming.


  8. Thanks for the giggles! Neutrogena has a spray tanner that is light but looks good – keeps me from glowing in the dark anyway ! I prefer to call it “porcelain”; hey the chick from Mad Men pulls it off, we can too !


  9. I also am whiter than white. My blue-white legs glow in the dark. I’ll have to try some of the self-tanners mentioned. Thanks y’all! Now, to the pantyhose. I moved from Wisconsin to Florida 10 years ago and haven’t worn any kind of pantyhose (full, kneehigh, or even toeless) since then. The thought of something on my legs makes me cringe. I worked at a Saks department store and we had to fight to get the dress code changed to allow ‘bare legs and feet’ year ’round. They were making the rules in New York and it took them a while (and a visit to Florida in July) to understand why we said “NO!” to pantyhose!

    Thanks for your fun look at those creepy toe-less things!


  10. From another very pale woman: amen. A natural brunette who was a (dyed) red-head most of my adult life, I went blond after I went gray. But too blond–e.g. Excellence’s #9–and I disappear into beige-ness. The problem with the tanning moisturizers: I haven’t found one I can stand the smell of. Jurgens is especially noxious, and Nivea, though better-smelling, works not at all.


  11. I taught with a woman that wore hose and sandals (and not the toeless ones). I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she looked ridiculous. Instead, I just giggled about it with another coworker. I lost the maturity battle on that one, I suppose, but it was just horrid looking. 😉


  12. My grandmother is rolling over in her grave. I don’t own any pantyhose. Well, I did. But my daughter used them to make a mask back at Halloween. I don’t understand stockings for sandals. At all.


  13. I think Self-tanners are the greatest. My Bermudian sister is always talking about how “white” Canadians are. But not any more!


  14. If I put on toe-less knee-highs, nobody would be fooled. Or at least I hope not. When they sag at the ankles, I don’t want anyone thinking it’s me!


  15. pharphelonus

    funny lady


  16. Love your picture. Not many women can carry off the “sausage leg” look that’s so big this spring but on you…fab!


    • I can’t wait to put on my shorts and try it out.


  17. LOL These things can’t possibly work, can they?! I mean, I’ve seen them, but I just don’t get it. How do they stay in place (at the foot OR the thigh/waist)??


  18. I am afraid to say .. your sketch remind me of a very dear and embarrassing friend. I think I am the vain one.


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