I have a pair of strappy sandals that to put on requires a contortionist's skill. It involves sitting down, bending over, hinging a knee sideways and pulling an extreme foot-flex move, all the while straining my optic nerves to see beyond their peripheral range to buckle the teensiest metal pin through the teensiest hole that inevitably, somehow, seals itself shut between wearings. God help anyone who tries to do this in skinny jeans and/or after a spaghetti dinner. Forget it. Reach for a slip-on.
This delightful routine came to mind recently when I thought it'd be a great idea to give myself a bikini wax. I've always felt that the self-administered pedicure sounds like a revelation until you're down there dealing with your own dirty feet. Well. Compared to the self-wax? The self-pedicure is a freaking CAKEWALK.
Before I get into the hairy details (boo), let me give you a small history of my own hair-removal life. For a long while I patronized a salon here in Los Angeles with a happy, sunny name and I swear, it was a cruel joke that all the aestheticians were giant, mean, brusque, overbearing Russian women. It's not fun holding your legs open in a froggy position while a giant, mean, brusque, overbearing Russian woman threatens you with hot wax, periodically yelling at you to "HOLD!" or to "SPREAD!". You just alternate between states of flinching fear and searing pain until they pronounce "DONE!" or "GET OUT, BITCH!" at which point you stumble out to the lobby in a shell-shocked daze, hand over your credit card with your last nerve, and then get amnesia exactly 6 weeks later when it's time to book your next appointment.
One day the amnesia wore off and realizing the torture I was enduring, I decided to fork out serious cash for laser hair removal. Now there's a real treat. Pointed at your junk is a hot laser gun and with each blast, it feels like a million rubber bands are snapping you in the tiny square area of a Chiclet. They keep moving it, Chiclet by Chiclet, until all 1,346,912 "zones" have been "treated". (And hey! Shouldn't I be wearing protective goggles too?) All this seems like a reasonable trade-off for the promise that the hair will never come back again. But then, after the recommended 8 to 10 punishing treatments, IT DOES. And when you inquire about it, they hem and haw and tell you it's all about the hair's growth cycles. And that every woman's growth cycles are unique, just like her. So even after hundreds of dollars and a gazillion evil rubber band snaps, you're left with an amorphous bikini line with several stragglers that need regular weeding.
Enter the razor. The razor's okay and it gets definite bonus points for its cost and pain-free attributes. But you have to shave daily. And that leads to bumps and razor burn.
That's when I got this genius idea: I can wax myself! I'm nicer than a mean Russian lady. Plus, they sell provisions in every drugstore, right? Shouldn't that mean any idiot could do it?
I suppose any idiot could do it if they also happened to perform in Cirque du Soleil.
So there I was, leg up, bent over in some Kama Sutra nightmare, using this crazy kit that didn't come with any fabric strips. Yeah, that's right: you're supposed to spread on the simmering wax with the enclosed wooden spatula (that has the nuance and precision of a 2x4), and then (while your head is still between your legs), wait for a minuscule moment in time when it has the perfect softness/hardness, and then rip it off in a strip. The wax. By itself. With no aforementioned fabric strips to help yank it. For the first section, I didn't wait long enough and smeared a gloppy mess of wax that stuck where it shouldn't. And burned like Hades. For the next section, I waited too long and a Magic Shell-type situation occurred (my inner thigh being the ice cream in this analogy). I had hardened glops of plasticky wax stuck to me, ripping off skin if I tried to budge it. Luckily, the kit included some soothing blue food coloring that did a pretty decent job at dislodging the plastic wax clumps. And with periodic breaks to drain all of my body's blood supply from my head back into the lower extremities, I managed to finish. Forty-five minutes and a splitting backache later I was sporting a red, burning, swollen yet stylish bikini line.
The moral of this story? For the love of all that's good, don't try this at home. And since the professional options are no better, I say we ladies band together to bring back the giant, overgrown bush. Who's with me?
This post first appeared on Joeycake.
photo by Jolie Jenkins.