Beauty and the Beast

Hair, is a sensitive matter.  Hair, anywhere, is unsightly and that includes when I feel something web-like against my tongue and pull it out to find I was happily chewing on the longest strand of hair imaginable.  Heaves.  And hair is so, masculine.  Only men should have copious amounts of hair, it is one of their few rights unless man is swimmer or cyclist or D&G model  (ladies, please, no dribbling).  I loathe hair.  Hair is awful.  Ugh!

Removing muzzly threadlike growth on any animate being is dangerous to both mental and physical health.  However, it is assuredly unquestionable prerequisite planning for any feline-feeling woman when considering bikini-clad beach-heated vacations, and is especially emotionally destabilising on account of when low pain thresholds are not her forté.

Yes, I speak of threading and waxing.  It is one of the relatively inexpensive items on a beauty to-do-list which allows a woman to feel slightly model-esque, bar of course an overhaul of her entire physical appearance via cosmetic surgery or purchasing the newest version of Adobe Photoshop.  God forbid that I might resemble the leading male from Beauty and the Beast female form incarnate.

In the unfortunate event that a woman may feel her closest blood relative is semi-monkey, mammoth or non-sumo-man, i.e. Hairy Mary, the financial setback according to a random salon I have just checked, and if hair from all orifices and body plains were to be removed, our beastly lady would be setback £180.  Ouch!  In a few more ways than the singular!

Perhaps the ethnic minority in particular are more prone to bleaching and hair removal treatments because of our gloriously ebony coloured cursed hair.  Whether we are the divine clay creatures of God, or nature’s evolutionary cultivation of the homo sapien, both deities obviously missed a trick.

Undoubtedly, if God was a woman or nature was inclined towards femina sapien, hair colour would have complemented and coordinated, remaining invisible, with our skintones in the same way the ‘modern’ woman is obsessed with matching a thousand cushions and pillows with bed linen and curtains and I would not then be inking these very words.

I am all for evolutionary phases but pray tell me the reason that hair even tries to attempt camouflage on a female face.  It would be acceptable if I was the Beast, the Cheshire Cat or a frumious bandersnatch, but alas I am none of these.  I am but a mere girl sleuthing mysteries of ‘Just Another Pointless Place for Hair to Grow’.  Did my mother feed me seeds of testosterone whilst I was inside her womb as punishment for morning sickness and sleepless nights?

Indeed, I am not a Hairy Mary myself but sometimes a visit to the local beauty salon is in vital order to temporarily eradicate unwanted fluff from precious places in order that I resemble my mind’s illusion of über femininity.

The definition of precious places, and please note I am not confining these to regions unseen, are depicted in the following available treatments: Hollywood (this is everything on both sides I shall not bequeath to you any more information than that); Brazilian (this is everything except for a runway so to speak); g-string (this is everything albeit a two-dimensional pyramid – sounds much more exciting than triangle); extended bikini; bikini; underarm; fore arm; full arm; navel; half leg; upper half leg; full leg; three quarter leg; upper back; full back; shoulders; (Two and a half pounds of chops please I feel as if I am at the local butcher’s) abdomen and …nipples (!) I know!  Whaaat?!  I feel male eyes glazing over – pausing – to lust in disgust-aghast-agape-awonder, let’s move swiftly on…

My earliest hairy memories involve a boy screaming at the top of his lungs in the classroom Eeeeh!  You have more hair on your arms than me!  I thanked him with an eleven-year-old-steely-eyed-stare which was not all that dangerous in reality, seething contempt as I became the Show & Tell project at school until the end of term (some years later adult-me exacted an accidental revenge, karma is my bosom buddy at times contrary to previous experiences related).  My brother relentlessly persecuted my poor moustachio in my teens to the point where tweezers became my new best friend.

I was not au fait with this hair removal lark until my mid-twenties which is quite late to start thinking about slicking down into babyskin.  My first experience of hair removal was threading, an epilation method which stems from Persian lands before time and was thought to be a sign that a girl had reached adulthood.  Yes, believe it, this is apparently most true, why pain thresholds and women go hand in hand at every stage of our biological growth patterns is disturbing.

// Boys, if you are feeling quite abandoned by the content so far, please note that you can obtain a whole package of threading, shaving and a haircut for a mere £5.00 at your nearest barbershop.  Raw deal for the women, once again.  The barbershop is another vortexical dimension that boys meander into returning three days later.  I used to wonder why ‘dudes’ disappeared upon entering this forbidden haven, they are threading eyebrows – vanity in the 21st century, what would the Ancient Persians think?  End of digression //

Briefly, for those of you wondering about threading, the method involves plucking the hair at follicle level with a twisted cotton thread, removing an entire row of hair rather than plucky ducky one-by-one tweezing method.  It is considered to be faster, neater and less painful than waxing.  Those that find threading less painful must be, insane.  Here is threading in action in the correct way of course.  The actual [personal] experience however, is bold as brass barefaced daylight barbarism.

I was slaving away unhappily on another cheery day at the Oxford office, having booked a lunch-time appointment with a lady that threads.  In her house.  I am beguiled as to the reasoning to what on earth possessed me to think my first attempt at hair removal should be at a stranger’s house and how could it remotely connote an even slightly happy hygienic environment.  It was undoubtedly the worst idea I have ever had, it is beyond my own comprehension and disbelief that I also played through with Everyone else does it, I will be fine mantra.  There is a word for this, stupidity.

By hook or by crook I know not how, perhaps broomstick, I arrived at the house, it may as well have been in the Outer Hebrides since it was a new city in my eyes having been acquainted with it for just over a month moving from the manic hustle bustle of London.

I remember lying back into an old wooden rickety rocking chair in an empty room with faded green flowery carpet.  This was not filling with me with confidence, I tried to tell her this was my first time.  English was not her mother tongue and with my undeniable lack of Urdu and Punjabi skills, this was a boat with a gaping large hole on the deck, I was about to sink and drown imminently.  I should have trusted my somersaulting gut instinct and escape to the dreary grey office before my afternoon turned to hell but alas, I am a sucker for punishment and curiosity and excitement and new experiences.  Cue Dr Pepper advert, what’s the worst that could happen?  And I could hardly walk the plank into a sea of dead flowers.

It started.  I was overcome by a strange tingling feeling as the thread rippled across my eyebrows lulling me into, with hindsight, a false sense of security.  I did not like this at all.  I wanted it to stop but running away with non-identical eyebrows was not an option levied to my disposal.  Next up, were sides, it is not as if I am Elvis Presley, this is not going to hurt one infinitesimal iddy biddy little bit.

AIIIEEE!!!  She continued, ignoring my pathetic yelps.  I could not work out whether my hair was formed of titanium or whether the thread was supposed to die so violently, I did not realise I even had hair from whence the pain and heat were emanating like erupting volcanoes.  The thread recurrently snapped, it was like Face/Off without the replacement face.   She handed me a mirror when she had completed the un-operation, I stared at a stranger’s reflection.  Perhaps not so much stranger, maybe Freddy Krueger.  I kid you not, if there was a face-like-a-pizza competition, I would have won the Grand Prize.

Had I been returning home, I could have lived in the freezer section of my fridge for a short decade until the heat rash and swelling had disappeared but this was not my fate, I had to return to the office.  Keeping my head down whilst walking, so I did not have to observe the stares from onlookers on the return route to the office, was not helping my beetroot skin since feeling the expressions of shock and terror were quite enough to send my skin scarlet.

I am a rapid stepper stepping to the dubstep tracks in my iPod Nano, the hotness from power-walking at a fast pace to the office was spiralling the heat rash into an uncontrollable frenzy on my poor precious place face.  By the time I reached my desk desperately trying to fan some air with a tiny unused crumpled tissue napkin from my handbag, my manager stared at me as if a giant hamster had chomped off my head and spat it back out on to my neck.  It’s hot outside isn’t it, I volunteered, I get such heat rash in the summer, it’s so God aw-ful!  The sun was not shining, it was the dullest greyest and coldest day of the Summer so far, and she knew it!

It is fair to say I stayed away from this diabolically disastrous epilation process, and it was at this point that I discovered the sensitivity of my skin.  So inevitably, I thought waxing should be the next item on my striving-to-obtain-beauty agenda.

Common-sense and the burning home-threading experience advised me to book a salon appointment for my waxing escapade some few months later after I had obtained some courage.  Bright smiles, uniforms, relaxing music, sofas, chocolates, sweets, Can I get you a drink?, hygiene at a standard most high, Yes, this is more like it I thought, Can I have an orange juice please I asked.  Flicking through celebrity magazines as a reminder to how beautiful you are not and the reason you are here.  Come this way please. I obey, Beauty Therapist knows best.  Make yourself comfortable, lie down here for me. And so it begins.

Waxing, is easy as writing with chalk on a chalkboard, so much so, home-kits can be purchased should one feel the need to self-harm.  It’s as simple as a swoosh (in exactly the same way as Nike’s Just do It branding, even the mantra fits).  The shape of the swoosh is the waxing action itself.  Someone should write to Nike about this, maybe they can capture more of our saved pounds.

Skin is laden with hot pink wax, it is a horrid honey colour if you are unlucky, the strip is squished into the wax and then swooshed in the opposite direction of growth leaving the softest, smoothest skin for the world, or my significant other, Okay just for myself, to see and feel, and life continues henceforth normally.  Except, this is, the furthest farthest fact from the truth and I thus briefly divulge a point in case.

Gently, skin is healthily stripped of the face I put on this morning, with moisturising cleanser.  However, do not be fooled by the nice white innocently angelic cotton strip which in reality, is the hottest pitchfork from the burnishing brandishing flames of hell.  The rather sharp intake of breath is my only anaesthetic as I wait patiently, hesitantly, anticipatingly, trying to telekinetically connect with the Beauty Therapist at the precisely exacting moment of – ripppp!

No screams here, body silently convulses on the makeshift bed-type.  Although Beauty Therapist lovely-ly attempts conversation to avert attention from the continual ripppp!   ripppp!   ripppp!  I would rather close my eyes pretending I am lying on the beach, I self-hypnotise myself so much into this reverie that I forget where I am, and waxing almost becomes relaxing.

The secret to escaping the heat rash and avoiding the I have the sweetest blood mosquitoes love me look, is that waxing should be completed in a cold room.  Try it, and remember, life does not carry on as if it’s a standard everyday day.

Now commences the aftercare, for 24-48 hours after the treatment, you are prohibited from touching the waxed areas with unwashed hands, showers, tight-fitting clothing, friction, massage, bath, sauna, steam room, heat treatments, sunlight, sunbed, gym, swimming, exercise, talcum powder, make-up, fake-tan, exfoliating, body sprays, deodorants, perfumes, lotions, soap and shower gel though you are encouraged to use antiseptic cream, antibacterial wash or Dead Sea Salts which prevents and reduces infection and inflammation speeding up the healing process.

// As an aside, you are highly recommended to stay away from any sexual type stuff if you remove hair from precious places not ordinarily exposed to the public.  Well, I have completed my duty with advice provision. //

To conclude, I wish I was a vampire so I did not have to worry so much about my reflection at the point of completion and I am sure Beauty Therapist’s supply of mirrors will soon deplete with the amount that I have inadvertently shattered just by gazing.  Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all a girl automatically says to herself having been brainwashed by The Brothers Grimm, hoping that once she looks into the glass-piece, somehow she would have the face of Aishwarya Rai or some other such famous beauty quite forgetting there was a moral to the fabulous fable.  Thing is, nothing replaces youth, we need to appreciate how we were born, inner beauty and confidence is of the most ravishing kind.  And it helps if thou art hairless, of course.

[Featured as Guest Post on Medzooma]

2 thoughts on “Beauty and the Beast

  1. So funny and a great way to write about such a delicate subject. Reminds me when I was 13 and shaved off all the hair on my forearms after being teased about long hairs. Then as they grew back I got teased for having stubbly arms. The shame has never left me…. :-)

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