A Lip Waxing Story [and The Woman's Gift of Honesty]

Under the dryer with a People magazine.
I've been posting some serious stuff lately. How about a change of pace?

A friend of mine from church offered to pay for me to get my hair colored. Isn't that wonderful?! Girls know what girls need.

Sometimes God ministers to us through hair color.

When I called to make the appointment, the hair lady was expecting me. "Oh, you're Lori's friend. She's coming in on Wednesday. I can get you in while she's here." 

"Yay," I actually said. "It'll be a Hair Party!"

So on Wednesday, while we were sitting there with foil in our hair I told her I should get my brows waxed. And, oh, hey, my lip too.

Of course I had to tell them about the first time I ever got my lip waxed. I had no idea, when I woke up that fateful morning, that I even needed my lip waxed.

Several years ago I was going through a time in my life when I needed my mommy. At the time my parents lived in Washington D.C., so I flew out there to spend the weekend being a daughter. Even though I am a mother to three kids, I will never be too old to need my mom. 

She filled our days with trips to museums and landmarks and restaurants and salons. Any girl feels better when someone else does her hair and nails, and so we got our hair done in the shadow of the White House and our nails done at a hole in the wall in my parents’ neighborhood behind Capitol Hill.
My mom had made reservations for a manicure/pedicure, but the place was so busy we still had to wait half an hour. As we waited I flipped through gossip magazines and listened to the woman next to me talking into her cellphone about something that I didn't want to overhear. The background noise was the Vietnamese chatter of the women who worked there punctuated with their laughter. I wondered at how easy it would be for them to talk and laugh about the customers as they sat right in front of them.

Finally we were led to the hydro-pedicure-chairs and soaked our feet in water while the chair kneaded the smalls of our backs. The girl who was rubbing the calluses off of my toes looked up at me and asked sweetly “I wax your eyebrows?” The girl working on my mom’s feet giggled and said something in Vietnamese.
I knew that I needed them waxed; my brows hadn't been cared for since I cared about what I looked like – and that had been quite a while ago. My mom was paying for this excursion and I didn't want to accept services that would cost her so I opened my mouth to decline. Before I could get a word out my mom had already told her that I would get my eyebrows waxed too.

My nail technician brought me to the back waxing room, which was more like a closet. She instructed me to lie down on the table. I did as told, closed my eyes, and waited while she prepared the hot wax. It is oddly relaxing to anticipate the warmth of hot wax being brushed on your face—until it is ripped away. That is not so relaxing. I braced myself as the process repeated itself again and again until she would pronounce my eyebrows presentable.

While my eyes were closed and I was at her mercy she said matter-of-factly, "I wax your lip too."

I opened my eyes.
Maybe I didn't hear her right, I thought. After all she had a thick accent. Did she just tell me that she was going to wax my lip? Eyebrows are acceptable female facial hair, but lips and chins are not. An image of my sixth-grade classmate’s mother filled my mind. I had always wondered if she was aware of the beard growing from her chin. How could she not know?

“I’m sorry, what?” I managed to ask.
“I wax your lip too,” she said again. Clearly.

That was it. No question. No chance to make sure it was all right with my mother who was paying for this. Apparently my lip was so badly full of hair that it was a foregone conclusion: I would want my lip waxed.
As if to confirm the wisdom of my manicurist-turned-wax-artist, I remembered that my preschooler had recently said after I kissed her, “that was prickly!” I guess at the time I didn't quite understand that she was talking about my lip.

How else could I respond as I laid there in the waxing closet? I closed my eyes again and mentally thanked her for what she was about to rid me of. 

"Mom!" I said when I got out of the waxing closet, "she waxed my lip. MY LIP! I kind of didn't have a choice, she just did it." I felt bad about the additional service because she was buying.

But my mom just smiled knowingly. I felt like I did when I told her I had my first period, like I had just passed over some bridge into another stage of my life. Her knowing smile made me wonder. 

"Mom! Do you wax your lip?!" I whispered at her loudly after we walked out the door, laughing.


I feel silly admitting that I had no idea that unwanted facial hair was ever in my future. I should have guessed it once my moles started sprouting hairs, though. There are several things, actually, that have surprised me as I have aged.

Consequently, I have this idea that women need to talk about the things that might be a little embarrassing. We should be open about how our bodies change over time and what we need to do about it. If we don't hide it, then more women will realize that this thing that their body is doing, it's actually something other women deal with too. Instead of feeling like an anomaly, they can know that they are normal. They can feel free to ask questions like, "what exactly is a douche and is it really necessary?" 

For example, a woman I know had her first child not long ago. In our conversations about pregnancy and childbirth, I mentioned one of the particularly troubling unwanted aftereffects of my episiotomies. Then, while she was dancing at a wedding, during a particular jumpy part she wet her pants a little bit. Immediately she thought of me and what I told her, and she wasn't horrified. She just laughed. See how that worked?

That was my gift to her, my honesty. We women can gift each other with our honesty about our experiences. That way, at the very least, our daughters won't get caught off guard when they go in for a manicure and come out with a lip wax, or go to a wedding reception and pee their pants.


PaulaJ said...

great post!

Lucy said...

Anne, you make my day...:))We need more honesty like yours these days...

Jan Winnes said...

Honesty is a courage most of us don't least about ourselves, anyway. Looking honestly, with humor, at ourselves is a gift of courage, and you have that, Anne.

Anonymous said...

Loved this Anne and your photos are hilarious! :)


Gregg Mulherin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gregg Mulherin said...

Waxing unwanted hair requires bravery and a strong determination to feel the pain. And I guess you have it with you, Anne! Haha! Anyway, it can be a little awkward for first-timers, but after that, you would experience relieving after-effects.


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