If you know anything about me, you know that I am frugal. It’s sort of a calling, really, in that I am incapable of just spending money without thinking about it. I must get the best deal. The most value for my dollar! It must all be LOGICAL and allow me to say BUT LOOK HOW MUCH I SAVED.
There are certain areas of life where the opportunity to save a few pennies is either very complicated or non-existent. Groceries, for example—I was just chatting with someone this morning about how that whole “hardcore couponing” thing really only works if you’re buying stuff that for the most part isn’t actually food. I’ve yet to see a coupon on organic carrots or local strawberries. And sometimes I create a logic circle that works out in my mind, like, “Well, I cannot possibly cut my own hair. And getting it cut somewhere cheap always turns out badly. So I will pay for a good cut, but then I will train myself to cut everyone ELSE’s hair in the house, and then the money that I’m saving THERE means I’m not spending much on MY hair, at all.” It works for me. Mostly.
But sometimes, I get caught up in the numbers and fail to factor in other stuff. Like, say, stupidity.
Let me just say that it warmed the cockles of my (probably hairy) heart that so many of you are also experiencing extra hair as we sail into middle age. I mean, it’s just nice to know I’m not alone. And also that if I miss one of those huge hairs on my face, one of you will either discreetly let me know or just overlook it entirely.
Now, that post was about the relatively new appearance of chin hairs, which, indeed, I’ve been kind of upset about. But it didn’t really tell the WHOLE hair story, as I am descended from very smart, kind, and morally upright gorillas and have dealt with unwanted hair for most of my life. For example: I had laser hair removal on my bikini line, years ago. And not because I’m into any sort of weirdness or wanted to look like a porn star, but simply because I was unable to wear a regular bathing suit without causing small children to scream and run away. The good news is that laser hair removal works great; the bad news is that I probably should’ve had one more treatment than I could afford, which means that I still have some hair in places I’d rather not. Ahem.
Also, I used to bleach the hair on my upper lip until one day I realized that all I was doing was giving myself a really obvious blond mustache, and then I started alternating between depilatory and wax strips for removing it altogether. The depilatories irritate my skin, but the “cold wax strips” are little more than glorified band-aids and don’t always work. So I’ve not been entirely happy with my hair-removal methods, there, and as for the bikini line, shaving gives me bumps, and waxing is expensive (not to mention that it involves inviting a stranger to drip hot wax on my crotch).
Hmmm. Expensive. I am the champion of FIGHT EXPENSIVE, am I not? Plus, dripping hot wax on my crotch sounds like something which—if I must do it—might be better in the privacy of my own home, with no one watching me except the dog, who thinks EVERYTHING I do which does not involve feeding her is weird, anyway.
So I promptly went on over to eBay and bought myself a kit to do waxing at home. I calculated that if I waxed a mere TWO TIMES that I would’ve saved money (not to mention dignity) over paying for wax at a salon. Easy enough. And of course I did my research and compared prices and types of waxes—did you know there are different types of waxes??—before I made my purchase.
I am now the proud owner of a wax warmer, muslin strips, “wooden applicators” (popsicle sticks!), and a tub of Azulene wax. Unlike hard waxes, Azulene is reputed to be a bit more gentle on sensitive skin, and as we all know, I’m a delicate flower. Plus, the Azulene stuff is blue, which makes it pretty. SO. Azulene it was!
I read the directions. I did my homework. And then I decided to test it out on my thighs, because that’s both an easily accessible area and a part of my body not nearly as sensitive as my face or, you know, my crotch.
Having been waxed before, I had a pretty good idea of how to do it, so I was feeling pretty confident. And in the beginning, all was well. It worked, it only hurt a little, and really, it wasn’t very difficult. Look at me, problem-solving and penny-pinching!
I did run into just a couple of problems, though. For one thing, the Azulene wax never reaches a solid state. EVER. Traditional wax will eventually harden (like a candle). Azulene does not. When cool, Azulene wax is the consistency of… hmmm… molasses mixed with motor oil, maybe? (Tasty!) So I’m waxing away and I drop a little, you know, a drop on the floor, another few on the bathroom counter. And of course I don’t notice the one on the floor, but spend the next four days stepping on it and watching my sock STREEEEEETCH rebound from it, and wondering what the hell is on my floor. And I thought I cleaned up the whole counter, but of course there was a little dot of it on the EDGE that would periodically just grab my pants when I leaned in to spit in the sink while brushing my teeth or whatever. Awesome.
This failure to harden also means that when you get a little on your finger, you’re sticky. Very sticky. And it means that trying to use PART of a muslin strip (like, having used half on one pass, then use the second half on the next one) is neigh unto impossible without winding up with wax ALL OVER YOURSELF, which is kind of annoying. It also means that if you set down your applicator stick, it sticks to wherever you’ve set it. Isn’t there some scene in Flubber where he gets some goop on himself and then keeps trying to shake/wipe it off and ends up dancing all around the lab, stuck to varying surfaces? That’s pretty much what it was looking like in my bathroom.
The other problem, of course, is that I haven’t had a bikini wax in a really long time, and so I forgot a couple of things. Hey, I waxed my thighs, I did my upper lip, eyebrows, no major problems. I then settled in one night to do a bikini line “test run” well in advance of when I might want to don a bathing suit (practice now, be proficient later, right?), and immediately realized why it makes sense to pay someone else to do it for you.
I am a pretty bendy person, people. Good flexibility, pretty limber. And yet, imagine if you will, sitting down on the bathroom counter, trying to find a position where one can splay out the legs and both SEE and ACCESS the verrrrry tops of the inner thighs, and then apply hot wax with some degree of accuracy to said area. Hey, it’s no problem! I just… ummm… brace myself tilted backwards with my left arm… wait, no, I need that hand to hold the skin taut… okay, I hold the skin taut with my left hand… tilt backwards by bracing my upper back against the mirror… apply the wax with my right hand… hold the hand mirror with my third hand….
Oh. Right. No third hand.
Somehow I managed it. I’m honestly not sure how, but I did. I got the wax where I wanted it and I applied the muslin strip and pulled and HOLY HELL THAT HURTS. I forgot that ripping hair out of, erm, sensitive areas is a tad more painful than removing peach fuzz from less sensitive areas.
I retrieved the hand mirror to discover that I was actually bleeding, a little bit. (Some of those follicles don’t give up without a fight.) Well, no matter, I would just hop down and get the after-wax lotion and a bit of styptic…
… except, of course, that I’d dripped a little wax on the counter… and when tilting forward to have a look at my handiwork had, essentially, glued myself in place. AWESOME.
I now had wax in areas I had NO INTENTION of waxing. Handy tip: Baby oil dissolves Azulene wax. It works even better if you unleash a string of expletives while using it.
Clearly the math in deciding what a GREAT idea this was was missing a sub-formula, the one that explains exactly how many stupid and/or painful things I might end up doing as a result of the “money I’m saving.” I might have arrived at a totally different conclusion, had any of that been factored in. But as it is, I remain committed to mastering the hot wax so that I can truly triumph, and be less hairy and more frugal and not, you know, stuck to my bathroom counter. Or something.