Nonfiction Manuscript: “Introduction,” Skin of Wealth: Class and Complexion Fashions From Pale to Tan.
The seed of this book was planted some years ago as I was visiting a friend staying in a summer group house on Long Island, New York. Its residents were weekend refugees who escaped to “The Island” to loosen their minds and morals after having toed the work-line for five days, sweating in the stress, paranoia, rage and smog trapped like mustard gas in a trench in the concrete canyons of “The City.”
Among the refugees in that haven from urban strife and striving were two 20-something female lawyers, sleek and fashionable. Each morning at seven they would arrive at the breakfast table painted, brushed and polished: ready for their day of elegant relaxation with their eyelids of purple or turquoise, black lines framing their eyes, red lips and rose-colored cheeks and gold chains around their necks, wrists, and ankles. For the next hour as they ate their breakfasts they would discuss the challenge of tanning on “The island,” a discourse in which the first would say, “I can’t get a good tan here because my base tan was in Puerto Rico and the sun just isn’t strong enough here.”
To this the second would respond, “I can’t get a good tan here because my base tan is an SPF-six tan and the sun isn’t strong enough here for this either.
After listening to this colloquy for an hour I was finally emboldened to offer, “You two know so much about suntanning you ought to write a book about it.”
To this they replied in unison, “We can’t write, but we’d buy one if it were written.”
At that golden instant the heavens opened up and I was surrounded by the celestial chiming of cash registers throughout the universe. At last I had found my purpose in life.
A few years later I presented what I had managed to produce toward a book on suntanning to my first agent and he wisely redirected my efforts to focusing on the chapter concerning the shift in complexion fashions from pale to tanned.
This, at last, is the fruit of that breakfast conversation years ago. But before suntans and skin fashions must come life and before life, the first solar union, the universal beginning of beginnings.
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Not included here are my few academic publications of the 1970s. To find them Google Peter Tooker, Fayetteville, Arkansas.