I’m likely to be busy for some time to come, but I thought I’d share an anecdotal story with you all first, before my life once again hunts me down and swallows me whole.
Wax is an amazing substance. Necessary for candles, surfboards and the like. I used to like wax. Until Immac slapped a sappy mixture on the back sticky back plastic and passed it off as a wax strip.
In my youth, probably about the age of fourteen or so, I decided the time had come for the underarm arena to be more permanently defluffed! So, I purchased wax strips from the chemist. I read the instructions. I had to rub them to warm them up, then apply firmly to the underarm area and then firmly pull them off in one swift movement. Easy. You’d think so but allow me to enlighten you.
Application wasn’t so much a problem as you merely had to slap it in place, what troubled me was the pull torque necessary to remove the superglue-esque strip was more like hurricane Andrew and less smooth motion. You remember the add for the glue where they glued the guy by his overalls to the ceiling? That was the business side of my wax strip – I’m certain. Now, I made a fatal mistake in the initial removal attempt; I gave it a little tug which my poor armpit interpreted as a shot across the bow. My brain registered the possibility of serious pain and associated it with the removal of the strip. Biggest problem now was my right hand was responsible for the serious pull torque necessary and the same brain was associating right pull hand and left unhappy armpit – the result being that I couldn’t pull it off. I’m fourteen, I’m standing in the bathroom with my hand in the air and I’m starting to get pins and needles. I can’t get dressed – I’ve got one hand in the air. So, I call my step mother. At the merest hint that she’s tugging on that strip I scream and run backwards – still with hand in air. I’m considering how to get through the rest of my life with my hand skyward and a wax strip permanently residing in my pit. My stepmother’s next suggestion is to cut it off, but there wasn’t that much hair to start with. Not much room for scissors and in the process of trying to lever scissors in the minuscule gap between strip and skin, the armpit once again registers danger as the hair, brutually slowly separates company with the skin. This is not going to work either. The next suggestion is get in the shower and soak the thing off. I soak and soap and massage and talk to the strip. It’s not budging. This is the tank grease, left over from world war II that someone bought as a job lot and had to remarket as something (the rest was marketed as marmite). This wax isn’t water soluble… why would it be?
Four hours and I’m still stuck with it. In the end, she pins me down and pulls it off. Time slows when you are experiencing pain. This wasn’t just pain. If you look in the dictionary under torture, it would list Immac as a purveyor. I swear that the skin left behind was basal layer only, the sort that you are not supposed to expose to sunlight. I thought I might need a skin graft. Needless to say I shaved for years after that, until I was brave enough to experiment with warm wax and salons… but that’s another story