A local support group has been set up to assist those who have an addiction to sunbeds. Drogheda Sunbeds Anonymous began holding meetings three weeks ago. The initiative is part funded by the HSE and aims to destigmatize Drogheda’s orange community as well as provide structured support to sufferers and their families. As with most addictions, the first step to recovery is to realise you have a problem.
HSE consultant Dr. Jambo Higgins told The Faa Side that “Drogheda people have a naturally haunted and pasty complexion. Granted you get the odd offspring of a holiday dalliance but on the whole we are a town full of milk bottles. We aim to help sufferers become their natural milk bottle white colour again.”
After the meeting The Faa Side spoke to some survivors. Their names have been changed to protect their anonymity.
“I stopped the beds when I realised that foreign women were laughing at me for trying to be tanned. I mean, we’re supposed to be laughing at them for being foreign and stupid and having to come over here to take our jobs. Well I’m not stupid so I’m not.” – Bernie.
“It’s easy to fall into, real easy. Me I was doing the protein shakes and generally being deadly and me muscles were really big and great, like me. But then all these big Polish fuckers started pumping in the gym. They were so massive and white and quietly confident. So I thought, I’ll get the jump on them and tried the sunbeds. Looking back on the photos now, it looks like I was photoshopped.” – Nedser
“Me niece Candice aksked me why I was dressing up for Halloweein in May. That’s when I knew I’d a problem.” – Kaylie.
“It was a walk in one, like a wardrobe from Cribs. I literally walked in off the street to one of the salons on the faa side. Paid them a tenner, stripped off. Now, I took evertin off. They say to leave on your cacks but I was having none of that. Nothing like waking up in some birds gaff on a Sunday morning after Eaath and seeing a fake tan zebra beside you with the pillow all gunky and you’re lying there perfectly tanned, no mess. That’s all and grand for a while but then they started complaining that they couldn’t sleep because I was glowing. Had to bring out face masks with me in case I scored. Madness.” – Ronan.
“I gradually noticed over the summer. I won a Holland jersey in a work draw before the world cup and when I put it on people thought I was invisible. It was upsetting. Then I had to change football team cos’ we wore orange and some of the lads thought there was a ghost on the team. At the end I couldn’t even eat an orange or have a nice Fanta in public. My self-esteem collapsed.” – Aido.
“I remember my granny saying she’d sunbathe out the back gaaden with sunflower oil on her face but thems was different times before cancer was invented. She’d such lovely tanned skin. I just wanted to be like her.” – Janine.
“I started on the makeup when I was foeteen I was. I was gorgeous so I was and sure I had a 17 year old fella! Ah heor! I moved on the spray tan for a couple of yeors but I hated the smell. I think I was allergickt to it so I upscaled to the beds. The girls down the salon were lovely so there were. So I started working there so I did to get the discount so I did. But then I got a melanoma and the doctor said I’ve to give them up or I’ll lose me tits so I will.” – Shirley.
“I only realised I had a disease when my family held an intervention on me. I’d be on West St. with my identical twin sister and people would be coming up and asking her if I’d emigrated cos’ they hadn’t seen me recently. And sure I’d have to tell them it was me, Jen! Thee didn’t know it was me.“ – Jennifer.
“It dawned on me when someone at work drew an extra box on the Census form I was filling in beside ethnicity and wrote Orange. I thought it was gas but then I realised it was my Census form.” – Rebecca.
Meetings are held daily in the Tommy Leddy Theatre at 11am and again at 8pm.
Update: Sinn Féin have apologised for picketing last week’s meetings which they mistook for a gathering of The Orange Lodge. The Orange Lodge has confirmed that they are not affiliated with the support group in any way but indicated they might not be averse to contributing to the fight against sunbed addiction in the future.