The children! Think of the CHILDREN!!!” I heard my brain screech.
As I observed the literal fallout after pulling on my bathers for the first time since the previous summer, I knew I had to do something. Something dramatic. Something I’d avoided my entire adult life.
I’d always been a shaver kind of girl. I had my eyebrows waxed for the very first time when I was 27 years old.
This did NOT encourage me to have the hair ripped mercilessly out of any other parts of my body. Special parts. Private parts.
When I used to go to one of my kinder Mum’s places to get my eyebrows and upper lip waxed, back in my 30s, my reaction caused my middle child to stop what he was doing, march into the room, and take my hand in support.
His little four-year-old faced looked up at me with concern. He then turned his gaze toward the sadist with the wax pot. She jumped back with a startled whimper. “Why are you hurting my Mum?” he glowered.
The advent of COVID and winter were a blessing to me, in many ways.
The layering of clothing meant that my body hair was free to grow in, the way nature intended, without alarming anybody within close proximity.
As for the mask-wearing… I’ve not known such facial freedom since before I had my babies.
Wiry black chin hairs, my ‘stache (the envy of pubescent boys throughout the lands), and any newly developing smatterings of facial hair were let loose, free from the judgement and ridicule that we Aussie mongrel half-breed types constantly dread.
I was beginning to suspect that there may be some truth to the raging conspiracy theories about there not being any actual virus.
Perhaps the truth was that a hairy-faced middle-aged woman had simply had enough of plucking, waxing and Nairing, and come up with an ingenious plan to stop the hair removal, once and for all?
Looking down upon what resembled a cacophony of no longer needed farming wire, I knew the time had come.
I could no longer, in good conscience, get by with my trusty weed whacker.
My back, long the victim of my optimistic attempts to move furniture and yank stubborn weeds from the driveway, would no longer allow me to fold myself into a pretzel in order to rid myself of peekaboo pubes. I called out to my friend Siri, “Hey Siri, call Marnie. For the love of GOD, please call Marnie!!” I swear I heard Siri quietly applaud as she patched me through to my friend and professional hair ripperouterra. The booking was made.
Though I thought to text and cancel my appointment several times, the image of the horrified and confused expressions of belly button height children on beaches kept my resolve intact.
I would not let the fear break me. Not this time.
And this is how I found myself laying, legs akimbo, on a faux leather table stifling screams of pain.
I asked Marnie if she happened to have one of those leather thingos you see in films when folk are being treated with electroconvulsive therapy. She chuckled, as if I was making a joke or something. My eyes implored her to hear my truth, however she was no longer up my end of the table.
Instructing me to pull up my knickers, almost front wedgie style, and lay my leg down, Marnie had now begun to smear what felt like thick molten tar onto the side of my lady parts. Surely she noticed my body tense up in reaction to the third degree burns? Perhaps not, as on she went, spreading onto all available hairy bits.
Almost joyfully, I surmised. Well, this would likely be the worst of it then, I comforted myself, as the wax began to cool a tad.
Staring up at the ceiling so that she wouldn’t see the single tear welling in mine eye, I did not notice that Marnie had now reached out for a long strip of what I now know was an organic, unbleached torture device known as a Strip of Material.
The strip was patted onto the top of the wax, as gently as a Nana pats the wee pink cheek of her first grandchild while bidding them a good night.
As Marnie chatted about her mixed emotions pertaining to her youngest child’s final year of primary school, she nimbly and without warning picked the end of the strip and tore the very soul out my body, along with every hair within cooee of the region.
Everything went white. I lost my ability to hear for a few moments. After some time, I realised I’d stopped breathing.
When the whole process started again on the other side of my person, I took my first gulp of air, now panicky with the knowledge of what was to come.
This time, without the safety of shock, I yelled, I bellowed and I balled my useless fists.
I knew, and she knew, that I was in no position to defend myself in my current state. The writhing agony would need to wear off before I could take my balled fists and avenge this depraved torture.
Likely sensing my pain induced powerlessness, Marnie took her opportunity to further her joy at my agony, and launched upon what must by now be my bleeding side bits with a set of tweezers. “Hmm, with tough hairs like yours, I’m not surprised that you’ve got a few ingrowns,” she muttered, gouging into what was left of my flesh like a fisherman gutting the day’s catch.
“Right, now how about we get those eyebrows sorted, eh?” trilled my tormentor, now slathering her hell wax onto my face.
When it was over, I stumbled, nay, rolled from the pleather slab. I searched for my wallet for a card, waved it blindly at a square white thing I hoped was the designated accepter of payment, and pulled up my trackie dacks.
Flash forward six weeks. The memories of my nightmare had faded to a general feeling of discomfort, perhaps a protective mechanism our brain provides in cases like mine. And wouldn’t you know, I was once again off to the beach. It really couldn’t have been that bad, could it? I mean really, think of the children Mel, the children…