“Men are always such babies about this part,” the estethician said, pulling a small metal tool from her drawer. We had come to the extraction portion of my facial, which meant the pleasantries were over and it was now down to business. If you’ve never had a facial, extractions are when the estethician first turns herself into a witch, then uses Satan’s fiery dick to unclog your pores. Each one feels like a flu shot and they could go on forever but most will stop when they see they have brought tears.
“Women are so much tougher.” She said. I gave her a ‘true dat’ closed mouth smile, my lips pursed tightly so as to cover my gritting teeth. “You know what’s the worst, though, is that laser hair removal.”
She spoke the truth. About a month ago I began laser treatments on my underarms and bikini line. The laser they used is marketed as painless, and it totally was. If painless feels like someone is grabbing handfuls of your labia after setting their hand on fire. The burning smell alone coming from my groin was the stuff of nightmares.
Until now, I’ve never questioned enduring pain for beauty. My cuticles could grow completely out of control if I don’t have them cut down every few weeks. And these Invisalign? Well who wouldn’t want to subject themselves to a pain party in their mouth every two weeks?
I am not a vain person, I swear. Speaking of which, I’ve heard it is less painful to grab a rusty saw and Civil War your leg off than to minimize those suckers. I have several friends who after one treatment refused to ever go back, swearing it was “worse than Clydesdale childbirth”. Anyway, I’m not vain.
But this morning something happened and a line was crossed. I cut short my physical therapy session by fifteen minutes (I had back surgery about a month ago) because my laser hair removal people had a cancellation and could get me in sooner. Let me spell out what just happened, in case you missed it. I prioritized zapping a few stray pubes over LEARNING HOW TO WALK AGAIN.
What kind of monster have I become?
Most of my friends – probably all of my friends – don’t need me to prove anything. They have seen me at my most disgusting and continue to invite me to dinner. And my husband doesn’t care. Three times now I have laid before him, splayed out on a table as three gelatinous babies were squeezed from my insides while I barfed on his shoes. If he didn’t flee then, he’s here to stay.
Wanting the male point of view, however, I asked him what he thought my motivation for the sudden influx of need to myself in the name of beauty. And he put it as eloquently as ever. ” Who knows? You’ve already landed me. You should have been doing all this crap in your twenties when you were out on the hot prowl for a husband.”
He actually had a valid point. So why now? I turn forty next year – am I panicking about officially being mid-life, doing whatever it takes to turn back the clock? Is this all a desperate hail mary to salvage something, anything, that is going downhill fast with my body? My triceps look like shit so I’ll get some Botox?
I have a better idea. How about we not do any of this anymore. Why don’t we rise up and establish a new identity for beautiful, that doesn’t involve pain of any kind? We could initiate a movement. I used to be in marketing and could come up with a snazzy tag line. Slippers are Sexy? Unplucked Eyebrows are Awesome? Maternal Mustaches are Must-Haves?
We have to do it together, all at once, or else someone is going to look ridiculous. Sort of like that fake college-wide streaking fundraiser I thought sounded too good to be true. It’s a big undertaking so how about for now we just agree to start with something simple, like Big Ole Bushes at the Beach?
I’ll make the first move at our city pool over Memorial Day – don’t leave me hanging.