It’s that time of the month again. No, I’m not talking about my menstrual cycle here. It’s that time of the month to rid myself of all the unwanted, stubborn hair sprouting all over my body. Now, there is an array of torture means to rid yourself of unwanted hair. There are epilators, hair removal creams, cold wax, hot wax and expensive cosmetic procedures too if you, your spouse or your parents have that kind of money to afford it. Trust me they’re anything but cheap.
I choose hot wax every month to torture myself for self-beautification. So this is how it works. I have a lady coming over every month and I need to book an appointment a day in advance. I’ve been waxing since the tender age of 12. So you must assume that I’m immune to the pain by now but every time the waxing lady shows up at my door I greet her with a nervous smile, exchange fake pleasantries in a bid to delay the horror. I engage her in small talk, play a good host by offering her refreshments before she reminds me that she has other victims to attend to. She makes her usual request for some old newspapers and a wet towel . She asks me to turn on the air conditioner and I ask her to look away while I change. Her usual response to my request is :
‘Arey sab kuch toh dekh liya hai, ab kyu sharma rahi hai!’
I realise she has a valid point and I strip away my shame and submit to her because at this point of time she is the goddess who will transform me into well, what I’m not. The conversation that ensues ranges from everyday mundane to shockingly private. We are each other’s confidantes. Maybe that’s her equation with all her victims. After she’s done with me I thank her and we go our own ways until the next time.
For us women, body hair is a constant. I remember the first time I noticed tufts of hair under my arms peeking through my half sleeve top. I was twelve at that time. Finally, my mom decided to take things in her own hands. She managed to get rid of the hair using a hair removal cream. I was expecting it to hurt but I felt relieved when it didn’t. So I thought that’s how it would be every time. The growth very soon spread to my hands and legs. It was fascinating to a certain extent, the rate at which things were changing. Then came the visit to the first beauty parlour because clearly things were way beyond my mother’s control now. The parlour lady was quite a quintessential one. Middle-aged, squeezed into clothes that were too small for her and a layer of loud makeup that barely made up for anything! I was scared. She comforted me and told me it wouldn’t hurt one bit. I was a gullible kid, I trusted her readily until she put the first layer of wax on me. The horror had only begun to unfold. She then used a piece of cloth to pull out the hair and once that had happened all I could feel was a novel sense of pain enveloping me. I walked out of there feeling uneasy and dreading my next visit. Once puberty had taken full charge of my body, finding hair on my body as far as my eyes could reach wasn’t shocking or surprising anymore. While other girls were getting rounder I was getting leaner and hairier.
Let’s fast-forward to the time when I was sixteen. Exciting times for most people but as far as I was concerned, making it to my college in Matunga on time was my only concern. While I a lot of girls in college were discovering their style sense, I was more than happy in my tantra tshisrts, jeans, kitos sandals and not to forget that boy cut I sported with such elan. By this time I had made peace with my body hair while envying all those girls who seemed to have none. On one of my parlour visits, one of the over-friendly staff drew my attention to my bushy eyebrows and faint moustache and to make things worse she thrusted a small mirror in my hand and asked me to have a look. When I held it up close enough not only did I notice my shapeless eyebrows and moustache but also faint hair on my cheeks, sides of my face, practically hair all over my face! I remember leaving the parlour with a heavy heart with this new knowledge.
Hair removal is a serious business for us women. A waxed body would mean donning all the sleeveless, backless, neck plunging dresses and before you know it the pesky little hair’s back and then we go back to wearing clothes that practically cover us all over, barely revealing anything but our forearms and feet. So it’s a cycle that most of us don’t notice.
So who do we blame for creating this beauty standard for women? The entertainment industry? The fashion industry? Hell I feel women did this to themselves, created an illusion of beauty. Dear men, do understand this. Some of us can give you a tough fight in the hair department. We don’t look like the pictures we put up on social media all the time. So if your wife or girlfriend waxes for you know that she’s putting herself through a hell lot of pain. A pain that most of you wouldn’t put yourself through. So think twice before you insist on your girlfriend or wife waxing. No girl should date an idiot like that in the first place.
I wish there comes a day when we finally stop obsessing over getting rid of all the hair on our bodies. Let us embrace our hairy glory, show off those hot legs hair included. Let’s start a movement! Just kidding. I can’t bear to look at myself like this! Time for my next waxing appointment! Ciao!