Change It Up Challenge

Change It Up Challenge: Waxing

I know, I know–I’m about a month and a half late with this post. But you wanna know a secret? I’m about a month and a half behind in almost ALL my posts. So there :-P. Also, I realize that all of the Change It Ups I’ve posted lately have all had to do with beauty and basically my own vanity. And this one will be no different. But, if I’ve calculated correctly, this will probably be the last beauty one for, well, a long time, since there’s nothing like an upcoming wedding for me to all of a sudden try drastic measures to look better than I do. I’m not that sad about it.

But on with my story.

The morning of the waxing dawned crisp and springlike, with the tulips just starting to bloom and the realization that finals were over just starting to sink in. Actually, I have no idea how the morning was—it was over a month ago, remember? But let’s just say that it was a rare spring day in Cache County, Utah, and I was already panicking about my upcoming hair removal appointment. Actually, that’s not quite true either, although I should have been panicking. What really happened was that I was too stressed out about moving everything out of my apartment and cleaning it before I had to leave, so I’d barely thought about the wax appointment except for how much it was going to cost me.

Several hours later, packing and cleaning done as much as could be expected from a harried soon-to-be-wed stress-mess, I found myself in the Crazy Beautiful salon in Bountiful, flipping through one Glamour magazine after another as I waited in the squashy plastic chair closest to the door (I always like to know that I can escape quickly, wherever I’m at). I’d taken 800 mg of Ibuprofen before coming in (yes, you read that right) and thought that getting all the tiny hairs pulled from my legs would surely be no less painful than getting Dengue fever 10 months ago in Central America and having my bones ache so badly that I collapsed when I tried to walk. I was also comforted by a text I’d received from the friend-of-a-friend who’d set me up for the appointment that said, ‘You know, it’s not nearly as bad as everyone says it is.’ Considering that I knew little about such matters, I decided to take her word for it.

That was my first mistake (unless you consider my first mistake being the actual set-up of the appointment, in the which case, you’d probably be right). After waiting about a half hour and scan-reading approximately 2.5 magazines, I was ushered back to a windowless room in the back. Bottles and sprays and lotions and foams filled one side, and there was a white table covered in a white sheet in the center of the room that reminded me uncomfortably of all the pre-wedding physical exams. I felt like throwing up, until I was distracted by a tiny package being handed to me by the waxer. All I heard were the words “disposable underwear” before she left the room, closing the door behind her.

Pinching the package with the first two fingers of both hands, I popped open the plastic and curiously pulled out the object inside. Underwear? Was she sure she didn’t give me some kid’s science project? Or maybe the leftover packaging from the latest Lady Gaga c.d.? I turned it from one side to another, trying to figure out the single-string loop and the narrow paper all scrunched up to one side. My first attempt at putting it on was unsuccessful (I’ll leave it at that). When I finally managed to figure out that the underwear was just a false attempt to make me feel better (since it wouldn’t matter in the end anyway), I wrapped myself up with a towel on the cot and called the waxer back in.

It was at about this time when I realized something about myself: when I get nervous about something, one of two things happen–either I clam up and feel nauseated, or I start talking as if I’m dictating my life story with my last breath. Unfortunately for my waxer, this time it was the second. I couldn’t shut up–it was like the second the tones of our voices died down, I started focusing on the steaming pot of dark sugar-wax and the table of gauze, and then my mouth started talking about everything and anything it could get my brain to spew out: the wedding, school, my childhood, the colors I like in a living room…and that was all before the first coat of brown was scalding my leg. When the first RIIIIIIIIIIIP happened, I knew I’d been lied to like a cow before the slaughter is lied to with grains–this was WAY more painful than I’d bargained for. I was paying $75 for this?!

Although the gauze was ripped off quickly (like a Band-aid), my legs still seemed to give out a mini-seizure every time the hair was torn out. The worst was around my ankles and around my bikini line. In a futile effort to try and console myself, I finally squeaked out, trying to manage a laugh: “Does anyone ever end up crying?”

She looked at me like I was crazy. “Of course not. Why? Does it hurt?”

Surely this stinging and burning sensation all over my legs, this breakout of painful rash-like bumps all over my body couldn’t just be me—surely other women before me also felt this same pain? Also felt like sniffling and curling up into a ball and eating ice cream to take their minds off of their aggravated hair follicles? I decided to just suck it up and tough it out. So I kept talking–I brought up all the books I was reading (as if she cared), what I’d eaten for breakfast, how long it had taken me to clean that morning…all while she ladled hot, melted wax onto my stubble and ripped it out, one patch at a time. I tried to convince myself that she was probably used to this type of panic-induced word urine as I tried not to let the pain get to me.

(Side Note: I will be terrible during childbirth—I will probably be able to dictate an entire book before I’ve even made it to the actual delivery room.)

When the torturous tearing and ripping and sponging seemed to be over, I weakly lifted my head and took a look down. I almost passed out–my flesh was covered with radish-red zit-like bumps from navel to toes. I stroked my hand over the flesh, hoping that the feeling of satin-smooth legs would be enough to bring me back to my senses. But all I felt were spikes worse than any two-days-old unshaved-ness. When I asked my waxer what had gone wrong, she explained that most of it was due to the bumps, but some of it was due to hairs that were just too tiny to catch. Seeing the look on my face and guessing correctly that I was disappointed to know I still had a single hair left on my body after that huge ordeal, she grabbed out her tweezers and started to pull up the hairs one by one. As I lay there, sweating, I started to play one of my oldest comfort-games: the What-Should-I-Eat-Today game. Ultimately, I rarely end up eating any of the things I picture, but it somehow comforts me to think of all the most decadent treats I can to distract me from more unpleasant things at hand.

Tweezing done, waxer gone, I pulled on my sweats over itching legs, thinking of chocolate truffle cheesecake and medium-rare sirloin steak. It was over. I was alive.

A couple days later, the bumps finally went away, but my legs were still not as smooth as I would have wished–in fact, they were hairier than if I had just done a careful close shave myself. But, the good news was that I had LESS hair to be spiky, which meant that I still didn’t have to shave on the honeymoon. And, since that was my goal, I thought I’d best not complain. Plus, I’ve been able to go longer between shave sessions because some of the hair still hasn’t quite grown in. So all in all, I figure it could have been worse (it could have been better too, but that goes without saying). It was kind of funny though to pluck out my remaining leg hairs one by one myself as we headed home from the honeymoon—not funny because of what I was doing, but funny because of how Matt reacted. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to have little leg hairs all over the front seat of their car?

Change It Up Successful? My goal was to not have to shave at all for the honeymoon, so in that instance, it was successful. However, if I’m going to be forking out $85 including tip, then I’d better see baby-soft, hair-free legs for at least the next 3-4 weeks for me to ever want to go through that inferno of hot wax and burning again.

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