We’d been planning our rendezvous for weeks. Searching for a moment we could be alone together. Finally, we got our chance. Her husband was taking the kids to tennis on Saturday morning. I quickly drove to her place. She was waiting on her verandah. I ran up the stairs, she ushered me inside. She asked if I wanted to do it in the family room or the living room. The family room didn’t seem quite right. So we went to the living room. She told me to take off my clothes. I was terrified. But it was now or never, so I took a deep breath and stripped. I felt ashamed of my naked 44-year-old body. The sags, the scars, the cellulite. She kept reassuring me, telling me to relax. She admired my “porcelain skin” … Then she switched on her home spray-tan machine and got to work. And there I was, standing buck-naked in a school mum’s living room getting bronzed. My legs were spread, I was turning my thighs this way and that, as she sprayed every square centimetre of me with brown goo. If I really thought about it, the humiliation would have killed me. So I pretended I was at the gynecologist having an internal examination. How I get through those is by not thinking about what’s actually happening – the horror, the horror – I just talk about the weather and keep reminding myself it will be over soon. But spray tanning takes much, much longer than an internal examination, with lots of intimate dusting with a brush between sprays to keep everything even. My friend gave me a robe to wear afterwards and we had a cup of tea together. It felt pretty surreal. She laid some clothes out on her bed for me to wear home. It was raining and the tan would run if it got wet. So I shuffled out of her house in long pants, ugg boots and a long, black top, with my head under an umbrella. I felt a bit like a burns victim being shielded from the sun. When I got home I changed into my own clothes. But I wasn’t allowed to wear undies, because they might damage the tan. So I hosted my daughter’s 6th birthday party knickerless. Saucy. The tan got darker and darker and darker as the day went on. Yesterday, I christened myself Mahogany Tits. Last night I went out with some school mums for a drink, including my spray-tanner. And suddenly, the colour of my muff was being discussed over sauvignon blanc. Luckily I’d had a few by then. There are no secrets in suburbia.