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Tanorexia: Mom Talk

The New Jersey Tanning Mom raises questions about how to parent.

So let's assume that Patricia Krentcil did not bring her 6-year-old daughter into the tanning bed. Her daughter's school nurse reportedly believes otherwise. Her attorney is asking the world not to judge a book by its cover. That's tough to do when this book is leather bound.

Setting aside the fact that she looks like a baseball glove with lipstick and a wig, her situation calls to light a number of questions.

If we, ourselves, are so misguided about something — regardless of what it may be — that calls into question our own parenting skills. For example, if Krentcil needs to tan for 12 minutes 20 times a month, as the salon owner claims she does, what kinds of messages is she sending to her daughter about appearance and self esteem?

Not only could her face be the stunt double for a truck tire, she also uses tricks to enhance her tan, such as wearing fuschia and white lipstick.

I think it's safe to say that this is an extreme case. However, where do we draw the line? If 20 tanning visits a month are too many, what is OK? I've been in tanning beds — granted it was 20-some years ago, when I was getting ready to wear a formal gown. Having gone only a handful of visits for maybe five or six different occasions, was that acceptable?

I love being a girlie girl, getting all dolled up with hair and makeup. I think high heels are evil, and yet I still wear them. If looking like a suede coat makes Krentcil feel better about herself, how different is that from women like me who get our nails done on a regular basis? At what point does being a high-maintenance gal turn into a fetish?

Maybe I am not qualified to answer that for anyone but myself.

Still, I think it's safe to say that when someone makes an action figure of your extreme behavior, you've gone too far.

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