My proclivity for making the same mistakes twice is aided and abetted by a susceptibility to flashy advertising. One time I saw an add for Burger King and went on to walk into the closest location and eat not one but two double whoppers with a large fry. It’s an experience I still regret living through.
Then there was the time with the Nair.
Nair for those of you unfamiliar is a product that promises to remove unsightly body hair with out the hassle of razor burn. As a pubescent girl I fell for it hook, line and fuzzy leg. Somewhere in my simple head I thought being the smoothest bitch in the gym locker room was going to repair my reputation as an ugly duckling and earn me the admiration of my peers. So I managed to get my hands on some.
“I don’t think you want to do that.” My mom looked up from her Better Homes & Gardens to say.
I just huffed my way to the bathroom in my oversized bathrobe, clutching my Nair. After all I was 13 goddamned years old, what the hell did SHE know?
Thirty minutes later I was on the sofa whimpering as my mother dabbed at what seemed to be a pretty rad chemical burn that stretched from ankle to thigh on both legs. She laid a cool compress over the worst of the oozing flesh and repeated the mantra of my entire childhood:
“So what did we learn here today?”
Well the answer is not a fucking thing. About a month ago I sat wadded up on my futon watching a Flavor of Love rerun and a Nair ad comes on.
Five hot women dressed like it was the 70’s are doing a cute little dance in front of what looks like a vintage neighborhood backdrop. The most irritating song is playing.
“Who wears short shorts? WE wear SHORT SHORTS.”
I’ve reached for the remote but then everything changes! The dull 70’s colors are ripped away and the tacky ass clothes along with them! All of a sudden the music is a hip club beat and the women are all in modern hoochie shorts and are now even a million times hotter! So hot that if I had seen them at a bar I would have stood really close to them so that people would at the very least think I was their ugly friend.
It’s a ad for the NEW Nair. This one promises it’s perfect for sensitive skin! It would never hurt me the way the old Nair did! And it’s super easy. Just apply then wait a couple minutes, hop into the shower and wipe away with the cleansing sponge provided!
Now I ALMOST didn’t bite. ALMOST. But there was just one thing. I had an underwear party to go to that night.
And if you are going to go to a party where the dress code is nothing but underwear then you wanna bring your A game when it comes to the pubes if you know what I’m sayin’.
So who wears short shorts? Why, *I* wear short shorts! Off to Walgreens I went, hope in my heart and song of silky calves on my lips…
On getting back home I laid out my hot little boy shorts with the matching bra and went whistling to the shower.
I slathered on the cream. Did it smell like a refinery the last time I did this? No no, I thought, don’t worry this is the sensitive skin shit. It’ll be fine. I applied it to my bikini line. Glancing at the tube the words “DO NOT USE ON SUNBURNED, INFLAMED OR BROKEN SKIN.” popped out at me.
I looked down at my knees, which were not only sunburned but also covered in a thick layer of the cream that I now know is not to be used in concert with a sunburn. I thought for a moment. Then shrugged.
“Well, go hard or go home I figure.” I waited three more minutes and hopped in the shower with my exfoliating sponge. Cautiously I put the first leg under the spray and began rubbing off the goop in a circular motion just like the instructions said, wincing in anticipation.
Nothing. It felt like nothing. No burning, no blistering, no redness…and best of all when I felt the area I’d cleaned away? Smooth. Smooth like a duck. I’d done it. I’d triumphed. Surely the last time was a fluke!
I was just thinking about how my hotness was going to overwhelm everyone at the party and rinsing the last of the Nair from my left thigh when a tingling began at the back of my knee. As the tingling turned into itching the low keen that had started in my throat turned into a desperate plea.
“Oh, fuck. Fuck me dead…No, no, no, no, no, please god don’t let this happen…”
But I think god knows I have had sex before marriage and drink on Sundays because he totally fucking blew me off. The itching was now burning.
Leaping from the shower I scuttled into my bedroom where there was better light to survey the damage by. Inches of leg were a disturbing shiny pink, other places patches of fuzz clung twisted and burned but tenacious. You know the way the trees looked after the Tunguska Event? That is an accurate simile for the ruins of my legs.
Then I looked to my bikini line.
“Oh, Jesus. I have ruined my pussy.”
There was no preamble for a blister here. It was just fucking bleeding. On either side of my attempt at a vroom-vroom pubic racing stripe were angry red clouds transforming my sweet kitty into something more like an angry badger. I dabbed at it mournfully and ran my hand down my legs again and debated shaving. That Idea was quickly discarded as being foolhardy in the extreme. Besides it was pretty smooth in most places… I bent down again for a closer look.
Now what had happened in the smooth bits, and I did not know this was possible, my leg hairs seemed to have withdrawn under the uppermost surface of my dermis like the necks of startled clams. They lurked there like sunken ships under the surface of an uncaring, furious sea.
I glanced at the clock. One hour before my ride to the party showed up. For two weeks I had been looking forward to this party.
I glanced back down at the carnage of my lower half. Then back at the clock, then to my little outfit.
“Fuck it, I’m GOING.”
My ride called for me right as I was applying mineral foundation to my tender bits. I stood in front of the mirror for a beat before throwing on a pair of jeans and a tank top. “Nah,” I thought and slipped on my black pumps. “Nah, It’s fine. It doesn’t look that bad.” So out the door I went.
Two hours later I’m at the party talking to one of the most beautiful boys I have ever seen. Big, clear, blue eyes that squint and crinkle, roman nose, cheek bones you could slice deli meat on. All wiry and lanky. If I had a B-52 I would have him airbrushed posing on the side of it. I think his name was Andrew…
He must be enjoying my company because we’ve been talking for about twenty minutes. We lean against the wall nursing beers as the rest of the party mills around us.
“So are you having fun?” Andrew asks. “I was kind of nervous. I haven’t been to a party like this before.”
“Aw, Yeah! This really fun! But dude, I was nervous too. Haha. I used that Nair shit, You know that shit that’s supposed to make your body hair, like, POOF VANISH?”
Andrew stares at me hard. I know at this point I’m talking a little to loudly but I just cannot seem to stop vomiting out more awful words.
“And you know,” I gestured vaguely at my genitals with the beer bottle. “I really burned myself with it and almost didn’t come tonight because who want’s to show up to an underwear party looking like they have some sort of horrible new form of Herpes, amiright? Hahaha…AHAHAHA.”
Andrew looks slightly off to the side. My face instantly deadpans.
“But I don’t have Herpes though. Like I’ve never had herpes. When I say I don’t have it I don’t mean that I don’t have it like it’s just in remission right now, Like, I just DON’T have herpes.” I take a take a desperate pull of my beer. “You know I’m very safe with that kind of shit. I mean safe with activities where one could pick up some herpes.”
“Ahahaha” He makes a wary sort of eye contact with me again. “Ahaha. That’s good. I guess.”
We stare at the potted plant between us. The dim light falls on my knee and I can see the rosy halo that falls on a spray of missed leg fuzz. Motherfucker…. What is about the knees that you can never get rid of the fuzzies?
I give up and drain my beer completely.
“Soooo… What did you study in college, Andrew?”