I lived in some of the coldest, most desolate, coal-mining regions of Eastern Europe, where people weren’t so much pale and blonde as they were washed out from the lack of nutrients. And there friends and I saw a curious phenomenon: the one of Transpanic Tanorexics.
If I had a zloty for every woman with glossy black hair, rich…orange…skin, big gold hoop earrings, pushing a baby carriage with a blond, blue-eyed tot, well, I’d be a Polish millionaire. Which is the equivalent of an American hundredaire.
The look became popular as Poland (and the rest of the formerly-repressed Slavic world) emerged from decades of relative isolation and poverty, and ventured south, as their Western neighbors had for decades, to sunnier pastures on the Mediterranean. The look of a sun-kissed Latin beauty quickly became a beauty standard.
My friend D. and I were waiting once at a travel agent, and saw two transpanic tanorexics looking at a brochure for Greece. D: “They’re making a pilgrimage.”