Excerpt from Hot Flash by Kathy Carmichael
With only a little trepidation, I examined my legs. Thankfully, no jungle animals had claimed them as a habitat. Wanting to do things right for my upcoming date, I’d purchased a jar of leg wax. Well, kind of leg wax. Figuring I’d give myself third-degree burns, I bought the kind that you didn’t have to heat and mentioned the word honey on the label. Sounded good to me.
I carefully prepared the cloths I’d need for strip-mining the rainforest, and began. It worked very well and, while very sticky, my legs were presentable in no time. Feeling flush with success, I decided to give myself a bikini wax.
There should have been a warning on the label.
“AAIIiieeeEEEEaaaaiiiEEEEEiii.” That’s a close approximation to the sound that catapulted itself through my larynx, having removed some of the soft skin (necessary skin in my humble opinion) in that tender area where my leg met my body.
Within seconds, Stephen pounded on the bathroom door. “Are you okay, Mom?”
Between screams, I managed to reassure him that it wasn’t necessary to call 9-1-1. I was even alert enough to note that he’d dropped the French-isms temporarily. After my high-pitched operetta ceased, and the vision had returned to my eyes, I couldn’t figure out how to get the rest of the cloth and pseudo-wax off — because there was no way I was yanking it the rest of the way. I turned on the shower, waited for the water to run warm, then jumped in.
“AAIIiieeeEEEEaaaaiiiEEEEEiii.” Again, I have to applaud myself for my awareness, despite pain akin to having your ovaries ripped from your body via your throat. I realized how very similar my caterwauling was to a female cat in heat — except I was louder.
More thundering on the bathroom door.
However, this time the door was flung open.
Of course it was my nemesis, yelling something about calling a doctor or carrying me to the hospital and a suicide watch.
Between yowls, I said, “Get the hell out of here,” while I tried to hide behind the less than opaque shower curtain, and wondered why I hadn’t first removed the mayo and plastic from my hair.
Again the maniacal laughter, but he was smart enough to make a fast get-away. There wasn’t time for anger now. I was too consumed with agony.
Once I stopped screaming for the second time — amazed at how painful water meeting skin stripped from the body could truly be — I managed to remove most of the waxing product and the cloth. After a quick wash of my hair, careful to keep soapy water from contacting my nether regions, I climbed out of the shower, a mere shell of my former self. I say a shell primarily because I quickly learned that walking was nearly as painful as the water had been. I mastered an odd, spider-walk, where I stuck my injured leg out, far far out, ahead of my body, slung my body forward until it nearly met my leg, then began again. It was pretty scary.
I wondered if women had died from this. Was I the latest on a long list of women who’d sacrificed their health all in the name of beauty?