Thursday, September 15, 2005

Leaving Well Enough Alone

So I read fashion/beauty magazines. Sue me. I’m neither fashionable nor beautiful but I have this thing about makeup. Tips. Tricks. Pictures of all the colors smooshed together. Whatever. Like I’m going to spend $22 on Christian Dior lipstick. Not the point.
Anyone who kills some time and a few brain cells on these magazines knows there’s much talk of waxing and grooming oneself to a fare thee well, and that the coup de grace of fuzz removal is the Brazilian wax. For those who don’t know, it’s a little more than a bikini wax. Let’s just say it’s the difference between mowing your lawn and napalming the block. Now, I never had any intention of trying such a thing, never mind that it costs $65 minimum and requires an appointment; it involves a degree of intimacy that I usually reserve for a yearly visit to someone with lots of education, letters after her name, and a completely different reason.
Ah, but the siren song of advertising made me reconsider. Why fuss with all that when they make magical creams that do the same job in the same neighborhood in the comfort of your own home? I look at the attendant photos of dreamy and arguably non-hirsute women in some Mediterranean setting. Sally Hansen, you’re a genius. And I have no fears; this stuff has been around for years. I hear it even smells nice now. I popped in to my local drugstore and picked some up. You’d think I could resist such a pitch. You’d think that. But you’d be wrong.
By nature I’m a careful reader of directions. I’m not one of those people who tears into a project like a rabid raccoon and squints impatiently at the instructions only after failure to achieve the ‘desired result’. I read them. But if I was honest I’d have to call myself more of a ‘skimmer’. I’ve applied lots of chemicals to this body that bore the warning about ‘testing in a small area’ and waiting 24 hours, and I’ve never done it, and I’ve never had a problem. Some instructions are dogma.
I assembled my tools: the cream, a timer ( in case four minutes went by pretty quickly), and something to read (in case it didn’t), and put it on. I settled in with Rebecca Wells’ Ya-Ya’s In Bloom , just the sort of ‘sisters doin’ it for themselves’ book you should read during an advanced depilation session. Everything seemed to be going well until approximately 3 minutes and 26 seconds into the four minute process. That’s when The Unpleasantness started. Perhaps that is understating what was happening; I fully expected the bathroom to fill with the sort of hazy smoke that immediately follows the setting of a match to tinder. All attempts to neutralize the caustic reaction seemed to make it worse. And suddenly, uh huh you betcha, it was much, much worse. A tap dance in a very cold shower seemed to remove most of the chemical but none of the Pain, which was also not interested in reacting to any number of medications or, ultimately, a large icepack wrapped in a pillowcase.
I’d say, ah, the things we do for beauty. I’d say that, if the stuff really worked. After a result so powerful you could use this cream as some sort of attacker deterrent (provided, of course, your attacker could be held at bay by some other means approximately 3 minutes and 26 seconds) it didn’t actually remove anything it was supposed to remove.
Everyone has that photo of themselves as a kid with bangs that start at the corner of one eye and end somewhere four inches above the opposite eyebrow, the result of an experiment with safety scissors and taking control of one’s own style destiny. You’d think once would be enough to learn the lesson, the important life lesson about leaving well enough alone. You’d think that. But you’d be wrong.


jessesmith1 said...

I cannot believe that no one has commented on this post.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

And yet, you didn't either. Not really! ;o)

bohemiann said...

Once in junior high, I experimented with Nair. After reading the instructions about 10 times (this was my version of Fear Factor...which I viewed several times this past year at the laundromat and was queried EVERY time by Mike the attendant, "Would you do that for money?") I applied the cream, and picked up my novel and started reading. Well, the directions stated a maximum time of 20 minutes or something like that. Hello? Whose leg hair were they talking about? I think I kept the goop on for almost an hour, and I still had hair on my legs. Sigh. My grandmother shaved ONCE in her life, and her hair never returned. Me? I get the DNA hair gene from my DAD, who looked twice his size he was so furry. Venus razor is my friend. Uh-huh! Somewhere there is an engineer who is making a LOT of moolah off his/her idea of a triple edged razor.