Literally, not metaphorically.
Taking a shower this morning, I noticed that my pinko-yellow-grey-purple-green skin is noticably pale these days, pale as in hasn't seen the sun in months, pale as in I nearly blend with the snow cover.
A while back, one of my writing class students decided to ask about the effects of tanning booths on users. She found a list of deleterious effects, but then decided that she'd still be going to the tanning salon. I asked her what she was missing, because if she still wanted to go, she must be finding something in the experience that felt good, beneficial, or positive. She had trouble articulating that aspect, as you might guess. It's easier to channel the authorities than to articulate the way warmth and light feel on bare skin.
I know logically that sunlight exposure shows a postive correlation with skin damage and cancer. But my body craves sunlight. I can think of little more pleasureable right now than feeling the warmth from within that I get when I've got the barest hint of a sunburn.
I learned last summer that several of my Peace Corps cohort have had skin cancer, possibly related to our service and to outdoorsy lifestyles. I certainly have had my share of serious sunburns all along my life. And I know it's dangerous. And it's been painful more than once.
Maybe it's partly that I feel better about my pinko-yellow-grey-purple-green skin when it's more tan. I do. But I don't think it's purely ego about my glamorous good looks. I think the embodied feeling of pleasure in the warmth of sunlight makes me feel good from skin through inside.
I've learned since moving north from the central midwest, that from February through May, the whole of the Northwoods goes a little nuts. We do okay through the beginning of winter, but after four months, we're ready for sunlight again and it shows.