I was the only one in the house awake one night and found myself getting sucked into some goofy infomercial depicting lovely women showing off their smooth, hairless, tan legs. Some of these women were clad in bikinis, prancing and parading around kidney-shaped swimming pools, others wearing short shorts were wading in gentle, lapping waves on an exotic beach somewhere. The product featured in this ad promised to be the newest and greatest, cutting-edge technology, idiot-proof hair removal system. There were clever shots of these aforementioned women tossing various hair removal implements into their respective stylish bathroom wastebaskets. Out went a razor and an over-sized can of shaving cream. Next was a half-opened package of sticky wax strips, followed by countless pairs of assorted sized scissors and tweezers. I thought to myself……”I use all of those things!”
A panel of equally lovely professional and “licensed” estheticians & cosmetologists used different diagrams and graphics of the skin and hair follicles to explain how it all worked. I could feel myself being convinced with their "science" and "expertise". Before long a ‘1-800’ number popped up on the bottom of the screen along with the infomercial standard “Call in the next 10 minutes” double-offer. There I am, on the couch in my pjs and pink piggy slippers realizing the many reasons I need this product. I, with dark hair and being of Italian, Greek and Irish decent have to have this product!! I don’t want to be hairy, what woman wants that? I want to saunter around a lima bean shaped pool in a bikini totally stubble free. I want to wear short shorts confidently and frolic in the ocean carefree. I don’t want to have to shave every day. I am reaching for my credit card as I wait for the operator that is “standing by” to answer my call.
Two weeks later I have all but forgotten my purchase when the mailman hands me a small cardboard box postmarked Bluffton, Delaware. The promise of a new, hair-free miracle passed from his hand to mine.
Once homework, dinner, bedtime stories and household clean up was over I barricaded myself in the bathroom open and ready for this hygienic miracle. I imagined myself emerging from the bathroom with steam billowing behind me, smooth legs peaking out from underneath a flowered silken robe, hair blowing from the force of an unseen wind……..with “I feel like a woman” playing softly in the background…….
I popped in my “PINK” CD and began tearing through the box to find my much-anticipated miracle. There were two salmon colored bottles of “hair remover” with cartoon legs drawn down the middle, an instruction booklet, two containers of “finishing powder”, two bottles of something labeled “skin prep smoothie”, and two polka dotted “buffing mitts" all neatly nestled in pink bubble wrap. I read through the instructions cover to cover, pouring over each and every detail. I laid the bottles, in order of use in a nice, straight line on the counter. I took a shower and according to the directions, used the only kind of “non-scented, gentle cleanser” I had in the house……the kids’ Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo’. I was clean and baby fresh as I started the process, eager to begin. Step One---apply ‘skin prep smoothie’ liberally to area desired. Okay, without providing TMI here, I envisioned this miracle to include legs and another, entire “area” of unwanted hair. Liberally and without second thought, I applied. Step Two---let smoothie soak into skin for 10-15 minutes. I mentally set a timer according to four song times adding up to approx. 14 minutes. I grabbed my Sudoku puzzle, struggled with numbers, and waited. After about 5 minutes I began to notice a slight tingling sensation. I foolishly think to myself “it must be working!” Another 5 minutes pass and I am no longer able to focus on Sudoko at all. Another 2 or 3 minutes and the phrase “no pain, no gain” began to creep into my mind. Step Three---Shake hair remover solution well and coat entire area. I shook and coated, shook some more and re-coated the entire area. Step Four---Wait 5 minutes (note: do NOT wait any longer than 5 minutes). Now, with my ethnic heritage of Italian, Greek and Irish, I made the executive decision to ignore that note and wait twice as long….I have some seriously thick, dark and stubborn hair. Step Five---Using buffing mitt, begin buffing area in a circular motion with even and consistent pressure. Once area is totally buffed, rinse solution off area. ( note: buff area until solution becomes creamy and pinkish in color). Ten minutes go by and I must try earnestly to ignore the fiery, just-short-of-acid-burning torture I was enduring. Now I have to “buff in a circular motion using even and consistent pressure”. Easier said than done. For some of the parts of the leg it’s totally doable. For other areas it’s physically impossible to evenly buff in any motion, let alone a circular motion, due to angles and various skin sensitivities. I tried everything, honestly attempting to follow the instructions, but no matter how hard I buffed, I just couldn’t get anything to become creamy and pinkish in color!!
Fast forward a bit and an hour and a half after this entire process began I was desperately trying to buff, scrub, peel and rinse this crap off!! I was no longer even trying for “creamy” or “pinkish”, I couldn’t get it off fast enough! I wanted to yell out “Help me! Help me! I’m on fire!” But, seeing as how my entire family was fast asleep in rooms next door and directly across from the room that had suddenly become my personal hell, that was absolutely not an option. I found myself biting down on a rolled-up washcloth to keep myself from screaming. Tears were streaming down my face. I had millions of pain sensors going off in the entire lower half of my body and now I couldn’t see it either! Great! Not only is my lower body going to melt off, I’m going to go blind too! Desperate for relief, I filled the bathtub up with cold water, jumped in and tried to soak it off. I sat with in freezing cold water, washcloth gag in mouth, tears running down my face, nose running and partially blind, in utter disbelief of how much pain my “miracle” had created.
I was as wrinkled as a 100-year-old lifeguard and thoroughly exhausted. The pain had subsided slightly, and as I stepped out of the tub and toweled off, I noticed grape-colored blotches were beginning to form all over my lower half. Against my better judgement I decided to go ahead and use the “finishing powder”. At this point I was absolutely desperate for something, anything to improve. Step Six---sprinkle powder onto area and gently rub into skin. “Okay, what could this possibly hurt?” I thought. The finishing powder was a fine, sparkly concoction to be applied with a feathery sponge/poof. I poofed and dabbed and a few minutes into the sixth and final step of torture I noticed it didn’t cause me any more pain than the other steps, but it wasn’t providing any relief or change either. The “finishing powder” had done nothing but highlight my grape-ish, rash-y areas with a thin iridescent layer of sparkles.
PINK had just performed her last song in my bathroom and I had replaced the proud, female-powered anthem music for a more subdued and depressed “my-life-is-in-shambles” Alanis Morissette. I found myself almost hysterical with disappointment and pain. There I was, standing in front of the mirror gazing at what was supposed to be my smooth, sexy-legged-and-“area” hygienic miracle. Instead, I found myself with two puffy, blotch-y, purplish-red legs and one very uncomfortable, purplish, hive-crowded hoo-ha. I cried and cried, until my eyes matched my aforementioned hoo-ha.
Totally defeated, I emerged from the bathroom without any fog billowing behind me, aloe-covered slime-y legs hidden behind my fluffiest, most modest terrycloth bathrobe, hair damp with sweat and tears and matted to my forehead, while Alanis crooned on about defeat and pain softly in the background.
I downed three Benedryls, covered the couch with an old set of sheets, curled up into the fetal position and cried myself to sleep.