The Pain of Being a Woman

The title of this blog probably makes it seem like I’m going to write about the pains encountered during pregnancy or childbirth, but no, I’m just writing to talk about the pain I am experiencing right now due to my eyebrow wax.

But, I’m going to dive in a little deeper than just my eyebrows, so please stop reading here if you are (1) male, (2) very conservative, or (3) very private when it comes to personal grooming.

Okay.  For those of you still here…

You see, I had my brows waxed starting in high school.  From middle school until then I’d try and tweeze, because otherwise my mom and sister would tease me about my “blond sparklies” that gave me a unibrow.  But then in high school I discovered the wonderful tool that is hair wax and that made my life a lot easier, right up through college and into my early career days in Houston.

Well that is all I ever had waxed until I started working with a bunch of girls my own age.  I was about 23 and I couldn’t help but notice on my coworkers’ Outlook calendars that they’d sometimes have an appointment that just simply said, “Wax.”  This was a company where one rarely took a 30 minute break for lunch, so I was intrigued and after getting to know my colleagues more I discovered I was pretty much the only one working there who had never experienced a bikini wax.  Not only that, but the girls for the most part went to the same salon and even to the same lady at that salon, and they swore she was the best.  Eventually I started to resent my razor and I, too, decided to try it.  Hey, if it lasted 6 weeks, it had to be great!  And eyebrow waxing had been a time saver as well.  I was a little nervous about the pain, but again, the girl coworkers assured me that while it was uncomfortable, it was totally tolerable.  So I put those three little letters “Wax” onto my own Outlook calendar on a random week day and they all wished me well as I went off to get my very first Brazilian wax.

It wasn’t a long drive and I soon found myself in the salon.  I don’t remember what the lady’s name was but let’s just say it was Gigi because it probably was.  She had me drop my bottoms and lie on a table with my feet together.  I felt completely ridiculous but I kept telling myself that she does this for a living and could not possibly care.  She started putting the wax on me in strips and with each RIIIIIIIIPPPPPP my eyes would fill with water and I’d take deep yoga breaths.  (I’ve never been good at yoga breathing.)

Gigi asked me if it was painful, but she asked me in a tone of voice that seemed to have an underlying sentence of “Of course it is not painful, or you are not a true woman.”  So, I sort of shrugged my shoulders and said that it wasn’t fun but I could handle it.  By this time she had been busy in my things for about 5 minutes.  I was starting to notice a stinging in the area she had already completed.  I ignored this, thinking, “Oh surely this is normal.”  She asked if I wanted a Brazillion.  Why the hell not?  I’m here, aren’t I?

Over the next 5 minutes the stinging started to completely consume my lower body.  I could no longer keep my knees from jolting with each RRRIIIPPP and I sensed that Gigi was getting annoyed.  I opened my eyes to see that she didn’t look annoyed, but she did look a little worried.  She mentioned that I was getting red.  I decided not to look, as for some reason the thought of both of us looking at my underthings at the same time would be weird.  She then mentioned that she had missed hair in some places and started going back over the already red, waxed areas again just to catch the loose hairs.  I was by no means able to sit through this.  I sat straight up on the table, snapped my knees shut, and told her I was really sorry but I could not handle much more.  She began poking my red skin again and said she would give me some lotion for sensitive skin.  Yes thank you I’ll take it.

I forked over my 120 bucks and waddled out of there, cursing myself for wearing fitted jeans to work that day.  I got in the car and immediately allowed myself to admit something was horribly wrong.  I unbuttoned my pants and pulled my jeans off of my skin right there in the parking lot and sure enough, all of the areas that had been touched by wax were swollen and welping.  I drove back to work (also cursing myself for not making my appointment at 5pm so that I could go home and get in a freezing cold bathtub) and when I walked into the office I immediately summoned my coworker.  She also used Gigi and had no problems with her in the past.  I could be remembering this falsely (the mind plays tricks when under immense physical pain) but I may have dragged her into the bathroom with me and dropped my pants to show her the damage.  In my memory her hands flew to her mouth and her eyes widened, and my fears were confirmed.

The stinging I felt was not normal.

The stinging I felt was not the “hot wax” kind of stinging.  It was the “chemical burn” kind of stinging.

I think they actually let me go home early that day, and I called my father for some oral cortisone because I knew it would help with allergic reactions.  (Imagine calling your father and saying, “Hey dad, I got a bikini wax and turns out I’m allergic to it… can you call in a prescription for some cortisone for me?”  Well you better believe I have said those exact words to my father. And if I found myself in that same situation again, you’d better believe I’d call him and mutter those words again.)

That cortisone saved my life, I was able to sleep that night but the next few days were BAAAAADDDD.  Walking was tough and loose flowy clothes were a must.  My skin changed to every color under the rainbow.  Oatmeal drove in from his out-of-town job over the weekend to visit me (we were just dating back then) and I remember closing my eyes and blurting out “I GOT A BIKINI WAX AND I’M ALLERGIC THAT’S WHY I’M WALKING LIKE THIS AND CAN’T CROSS MY LEGS AND CAN WE PLEASE ORDER IN AND NOT GO ANYWHERE IT STILL HURTS!!”

Yeah, the only thing worse than admitting you had an allergic reaction to a bikini wax to your dad is to admit those same words to your brand new, western, very conservative, highly private new boyfriend.  I still have no idea what he must have thought.

But, he’s still here, so there’s that.

So you probably thought, “So you would never get a wax again, right?  Not even your eyebrows?”

Wrong.  I still get my eyebrows waxed.  And strangely enough, about 1 in every 5 waxes will result in some type of reaction.  My skin will get red and for a day or so it will stay like that.  But it doesn’t welp, it doesn’t hurt, it just stays red.

Until now.  I got my eyebrows waxed on Monday, and when Oatmeal got home he said, “WOW honey you got your eyebrows waxed!”  Sure enough, my eyebrows are doing now what my underthings did 4 years ago.  48 hours later and 1 scared call to my aesthetician friend later, my eyebrows are swollen, red, welped and blistered. I’m on a strict regimine of 100% clear aloe, neosporin and cortisone cream.  Sigh.

I keep telling Poppyseed to PLEASE stay tucked away a little longer, because if s/he comes now then all of our first pictures together are going to be really horrid.

Wish me luck, and pray that an eyebrow hair threader opens up a salon in Cat Spring real soon.

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