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Home --> Embarrassments --> In the Buff --> Tanner in the Works

Tanner in the Works

Legend:   A hotel guest unwittingly chooses the skylight over a restaurant as the perfect place to get an all-over tan.

Example:   [Playboy, 1961]

Vacation time was sun-tan time as far as Joan, an admirably proportioned secretary, was concerned, and she spent almost all of her day on the
roof of her hotel sopping up the warm sun's rays. She wore a bathing suit the first day, but on the second, she decided that no one could see her way up there and she slipped out of it for an overall tan. She'd hardly begun when she heard someone running up the stairs; she was lying on her stomach, so pulling a towel over her derriere, she continued to recline as before.

"Excuse me, miss," said the flustered little assistant manager of the hotel, out of breath from running up the stairs. "The Hotel Plaza doesn't mind your sunning on the roof, but we would very much appreciate your wearing your bathing suit as you did yesterday."

"What difference does it make?" Joan asked rather coolly. "No one can see me up here and besides, I'm covered with a towel."

"Not exactly," said the embarrassed little man. "You're lying on the dining room skylight."

Origins:   What Playboy presented as a joke in 1961 was told as a true story on a 1980 Paul Harvey radio broadcast. The woman was said to be vacationing in Florida from Lansing, Michigan.

As if to prove some jokes are timeless, this legend found itself told anew on a widely-circulated Internet mailing list in May 2001:
[Reader's Digest CyberSmiles, 2001]

After an exhausting 12-hour drive to our honeymoon destination in Daytona Beach, Fla., my husband and I decided to refresh ourselves with a dip in the motel pool. I must have dropped a few pounds to pre-wedding jitters, because each time I dived into the pool, I lost either the top or bottom of my skimpy new bikini. We had the pool to ourselves, so we just laughed and retrieved the pieces. Later we dressed for dinner and went down to the motel restaurant. Waiting for a table, we sat in the lounge and ordered drinks. Above the bar was a huge, empty, glistening fish tank.

Curious, my husband asked, "Why is such a beautiful fish tank empty?" The bartender grinned from ear to ear as he replied, "That's not a fish tank. It's the swimming pool."
Barbara "wow, what a dish!" Mikkelson

Sightings:   On an episode of the popular TV sitcom Frasier ("Frasier Gotta Have It," originally aired 21 April 1998), lovable Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves) tells of sunbathing nude on the roof of apartment building, meeting fella doing the same, one thing leading to another, then ends the story with the two of them rolling around making passionate love on the stairwell's skylight.

Last updated:   27 December 2004

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  Sources Sources:
    Cerf, Bennett.   Laugh Day.
    Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Co., 1965   (p. 432).

    Harvey, Paul.   For What It's Worth.
    New York: Bantam, 1991.   ISBN 0-553-07720-1   (p. 145).

    Playboy.   "Party Jokes."
    January 1961.

    Reader's Digest.   "CyberSmiles."
    25 May 2001.