"Uh, dude? The sunscreen goes on the part that sticks out, not under your clothes."
BikeMonkey Guest PostLet me tell you about a recent observation from a member of a very large and productive GlamourPub research group. "Gee, BigPIDude sure is looking pale these days, isn't he?". And he was. Translucent. Let's be honest here. When you have a big group headed by one domineering PI with lots of people who are there essentially for their careers (as techs or doctoral level resident scientists) they get a little nervous about the PI's health. As well they should. This business doesn't always come with a succession plan for taking over an established research group.
But this guy is hale and hearty, comparatively speaking. Gets out and exercises fairly frequently. Still likes to compete in the physical games at the company picnic. And dude's parents lived to a ripe old age. So what gives? Someone else pointed out that he's obsessed with sunscreen- lathers up copiously before venturing out into the sun. They thought it was because he has some sort of anti-skin-cancer obsession.
I think otherwise.
This comment at the top of this post was directed at two members of my cycling team, lo many a year ago, in some bemusement. They were applying the sunscreen carefully on the lily-white parts (which makes sense) of their upper limbs but avoiding applying any to their lower limbs.
It did not help that, thanks to a certain regional accent in one case and an upbringing in a stereotypically salt-of-earth region of flyover country in another, these two guys were occasionally the butt of jokes in the nature of FWDAIRL, if you knowwhatimean.
sourceThere was a point of this perplexing use of sunscreen, as it emerged. That point being to emphasize the ol' biker tan (which amazingly has a Wikipedia reference). Competitive cycling takes a fair bit of time to acquire and maintain the requisite fitness levels. Even at the strictly amateur and scholastic levels of competition. Time spent out on the roads (or trails), putting in the miles. Unsurprisingly, there is some correlation between fitness/seriousness and the suntan delta from normal skin tone. So it becomes a point of pride. And, people being what they are, a point of subtle intimidation and bragging. Like certain other appearance traits that tend to indicate "I'm a serious athlete dude!".
Apparently my boyz were not above a little artificial enhancement of their appearance.
I think the BigPIDude mentioned at the start of this post is doing the same thing. Enhancing his "stuck in the office/lab, geeky facetime" cred by making sure he looks like he never sees the sun. I am sensitized to this assumption by this guy's annual letters to the lab in which he demands a certain amount of working hours, including the weekend, of his lab members. He's in the lab constantly as well. He really thinks you have to be in the lab most of your waking hours if you are a serious scientist. So I think he likes to use his translucent skin tone to both identify himself with serious scientist-ness and to intimidate others.
Kinda like a biker tan for lab geeks.
What? Whatever did you think this post was going to be about?