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Tan Lines occur when the human body gets tanned in areas of exposed skin but the places previously covered during the tan look noticeably lighter. They are usually seen as a way to make a character look funny after a bad or flawed tan job. Other forms include the farmer's tan (face, neck, and both arms, from being out in the field while wearing a T-shirt or overalls) and the trucker's tan (face and one arm, from the sun shining through the windshield on the face, but with the pale arm inside the cab and the tan arm out the window).
There are some who find tan lines, especially if the contrast is strong, to have an erotic edge, though tan lines rarely seem to be used much for Fanservice.
See also Embarrassingly Painful Sunburn
and Suntan Stencil
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- The girl on the Coppertone suntan lotion bottle has a white butt but tan everywhere else.
- A man on the "Bud Light Cruise" commercial has tan lines that indicate he'd been wearing a woman's bikini.
Anime & Manga
- In the obligatory Beach Episode of Tenchi Universe, Kiyone develops a classic farmers tan while working as a life-guard. When she shows off her swimsuit at the swimsuit contest later in the episode, she's initially embarrassed by the farmers tan — until the crowd goes wild, all of them finding it sexy.
- Kagura of Azumanga Daioh, during the summer arcs (she's on the swim team and wears a one-piece for the rest of the year, so it shows up when she wears a bikini; she also shows Osaka, but not us).
- Chika from Ai Yori Aoshi normally lives at the beach, so she has them following the bathing suit area.
- K-On!: This happens to Azusa everytime there's a Beach Episode. It's lampshaded by every one.
- Momo from Peach Girl got tan lines along with her bleached out hair from swimming for school.
- After returning for the beach during an episode of Beelzebub, Oga admires the nice tan he got... only for him to discover the Beel-shaped tanline on his back.
- Rio -Rainbow Gate!- : Linda has tan lines around her chest that are displayed by her skimpy top. Given that she's a Ridiculously Human Robot Girl, one can only presume that they were deliberately designed to be there.
- Ryoko Tachi in Nana to Kaoru
- In part of the recent X-Men "Curse of the Mutants" storyline, the technology protecting the vampires from sunlight apparently also protects them from Dazzler's powers. We see a flashback of Emma Frost talking to her, Frost admonishing Dazzler for having given her tan lines.
Films — Animation
- That fat man who constantly loses his ice cream cone every single time in Lilo & Stitch.
Films — Live-Action
- In Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach, Harris is tanning on the beach. Nick writes "DORK" in sunblock on his chest. When he wakes up and walks on the crowded beach, Hilarity Ensues.
- In Spencer's Mountain, Clayboy goes up the mountain with his girl-friend for a picnic, and comes back with a sunburn on his back. His father helps him put lotion on the burn, which goes much further down past his waist line than it would have if he had kept his pants on.
- In John Waters' Cry-Baby, a character "tans" the initials CB into her thigh. The letters are the white part she covers with tape and then tears off to show him.
- In Final Destination 3, when Ashley and Ashlyn are getting into the tanning beds, Ashlyn questions why Ashley is still wearing underwear. Ashley replies that her boyfriend "gets off on tan lines."
- Bloody Jack in Rapture of the Deep Pirate Girl/heroine "Bloody" Jacky Faber has these from her rather anachronistic bathing suit (In a series set during the Napoleonic Wars) Her intended cannot help but comment.
Live Action TV
- Detective shows like Sherlock will often use tan lines as clues. For instance, in the Sherlock serial "The Great Game," Sherlock deduces that a rental car agency owner is lying about not having been to Colombia recently because of his tan.
- An episode of CSI: Miami uses Greek letters tanned onto the back of a victim's neck as a clue.
- Mentioned in the chorus of Kenny Chesney's "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy".
- There's a classic MAD cover where two boys are showering and have the usual tan from swimming, i.e., white butt and tanned everywhere else. Alfred E. Neuman's tan, however, is reversed.
- Another MAD article of one and two panel Beach Gags included two young boys rigging a glove on a stick to give an older girl an embarrassing untanned handprint in the middle of her back.
- The Onion had a picture showing a woman with tan lines zigzagging over her body in nonsensical patterns. The online version is linked in the Web Original section below.
- Gym Leader Marlon◊ in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 is very tan above the waist, and very pale below. So much so, in fact, that the average new player will actually believe him to be black until his pale feet are pointed out.
- It is possible for milk teeth to get burnt as My Milk Toof proved in the Beach Episode.
- A strip from The Perry Bible Fellowship shows a guy getting a white silhouette of his secret girlfriend where she's blocked him from getting tanned. I think you know where I'm talking about.
- A strip of Luke Surl has tan lines shaped like mathematic curves.
- The subject of a comic from Buttersafe.
- When Spinnerette got a tanline around her mask, her roommate Sahira initally laughs at the panic the former was undergoing, until it's pointed out that this would undermine her Secret Identity. Sahira then offers to help her with using makeup to cover it.
- In the BDSM-themed Sunstone this appears in the most embarrassing way possible: Lisa visits the beach only to notice everyone is staring at her. She discovers that she has tan lines from her previous rope suspension session with Ally. Including lines left from a gag. Poor girl.
- King of the Hill is notorious for having almost all the white male characters having untanned portions of skin when they take off their shirts. Boomhauer, on the other hand, consistently has a dark tan (he has a tanning bed in his bedroom).
- In Rocket Power, former new guy Sam had one when he moved to Ocean Shores, even though his body should have evened out by now.
- Owen and Harold from Total Drama Island have tanned arms, legs and face, but has pale upper arms and stomach. Ezekiel has much of the same, except his legs are pale.
- Hawkeye from The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, has a farmer's tan while he sits out in the sun in episode 20. That episode marked the first time in the show when he wore something other than his superhero costume.
- Howie, the lead character of Almost Naked Animals, combines this with Fur Is Clothing. Like the entire cast, he wears only underwear and has most of his fur shaved off, but there are tan lines on his bare skin.
- Eddy from Ed, Edd n Eddy has tan lines around his eyes.
- In the early 1950s, a story began to circulate about a boy in Syria who had allegedly been raised by gazelles. The story was debunked partly because photos of the nude boy showed him with a farmer's tan.
- Movie critics and commentators will often point out the common mistake of actors and actresses forgetting to get rid of their tan lines before appearing in a role where these would be improbable, like bikini tan lines on a character from Ancient Greece or Rome.
- Although the Romans did have a bikini-like set of garments that appear in surviving frescos and wall paintings. It took the form of what might be called a bandeau top with a minimal modesty-covering loincloth.
- This can be seen midway through Gangs of New York. When Bill the Butcher is seen lying with a nearly naked prostitute, the character has a thong-underwear tan line in a story set in the 1860s. Thong underwear didn't become available until the 1980s.
- Partial tanning on otherwise clothed people explains the derogatory term for dirt farmers - in pre-Civil War times, poor white farmers who couldn't afford even a single slave and so had to do their own heavy labour. Bending over a plough or to pick/tend crops caused sunburn on the back of the neck - hence redneck. (Rooinecker in South Africa, for those whites who could not afford to pay black labour).