Hello, Mayonnaise Legs
By Cindy Hale
Tuesday April 27, 2010
Spring has come to the horse world in my part of the country, and that means several things. Hay prices will come down. Wally’s waterproof blanket can go to the horse laundry. And I can unveil my pasty white legs for public viewing.
Yes, it’s time to put aside my down jacket and my fleece-lined gloves and fold away the turtlenecks. I’ve rotated my stockpile of apparel so that my drawers are full of horse wear more appropriate for warm weather riding and stable work. My ensemble of t-shirts has transitioned from the cold weather hues of thunderstorm purple and head-for-home black to trail ride lavender and wildflower yellow. I’ve even unearthed the two pair of shorts that I own. After all, when it’s over 80 degrees it’s much more comfortable to muck stalls and longe horses in shorts than to do it in denim jeans.
So good-bye, LL Bean. Hello, mayonnaise legs.
Truly, mismatched legs and arms—I’m talking tan-wise—are the hallmarks of a real horsewoman. It’s a badge of honor I wear proudly except for those rare jaunts I make into the beach towns of Orange County, where it seems everyone is tan on every part of their body. Then I skulk through stores and restaurants apologetically, almost ashamed of the fact that my arms are nut brown while my legs are the color of salad dressing. I’ve considered wearing jeans throughout the entire summer, just to avoid offending the visual senses of the non-horsey public. But then when we’re suffering from sweltering heat I look even more oddball.
I can just hear the whispers. “Why is that woman clothed in dungarees and boots when we’re all sweating like chickens on a rotisserie? Doesn’t she own a pair of shorts and tennis shoes?”
I know. Having white legs until July, when enough sunshine has finally hit my legs to remove the alabaster shimmer, isn’t such a tragedy. It kind of goes along with the entire warm weather look of a horsewoman. We have the so-called “farmer’s tan” on our arms, which traces the outline of our favorite t-shirts. And we sport the lovely smooshed hair-do that comes from wearing some form of headdress (helmet, cowboy hat, ball cap, visor) that shields us from the blazing sun. Plus let’s not forget the raccoon eyes that develop despite slathering SPF 90 sunblock beyond the realm of our sunglasses. Honestly, I can wear industrial strength sunblock, the kind that gives off an iridescent indigo glow, and I still get a tan on my face. But my legs? Not so much. They’re forever playing catch up. My face and body may be sorrel. But my legs are definitely cremello.
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