Wednesday, June 13, 2007

In Which I Go Temporarily Insane

I’m not sure if this is appropriate blog material, so please give me some feedback. At the time, it seemed hysterical and just full of endless discussion topics. You be the judge.

Where to begin? I suppose a discussion of midlife crises is in order first. I have a friend from college who I have recently rediscovered via email. He asked me, “So, what did you do for your midlife crisis?”

I was at a loss. If the definition of a midlife crisis is “an emotional state of doubt and anxiety in which a person becomes uncomfortable with the realization that life is halfway over, commonly involving reflection on what the individual has done with his or her life up to that point, often with feelings that not enough was accomplished,” if this is the gold standard, then I have been experiencing a midlife crisis every birthday since I was, oh, let’s say 30.

My lame answer at the time was, “I got a tattoo when I turned 30 . . .” Very lame, as he countered with fabulous tales of sailing the North Sea and bungee jumping in Africa.

But this week I think perhaps I have undertaken something as life threatening, complete with the requisite adrenaline buzz to match his tale of trying to stay awake at the helm during an all-night storm: I got a Brazilian. And not a very good one.

This is where I hesitate to share the story as it involves . . . a lengthy discussion of what the Argentines would call mi concha. Not exactly dinner table talk, as the Spouse would say with a sigh.

I had sort of been thinking about it for a while. It is, of course, the stuff of women’s magazines worldwide. And I see it at the gym all the time. I have mentioned before that the young Slovak woman is a force to be reckoned with: tall, leggy, usually blonde, with perky breasts, and a flat stomach. It gives those of us kicking fifty, well, pause.

Initially, I countered the aging process with sports and fitness. I go to the gym twice a week and work out with a trainer. In addition, I often swim once a week and usually have 90 minutes of tennis.

I have a French girlfriend who thinks I spend too much time and energy on working up a sweat. But that’s easy for her to say. First of all, she looks fantastic. And second, she is genetically predisposed to look great well into her 70s. The Slovaks may have the corner on the under-30 demographic, but no one ages like a French woman. Like fine wine, they become more beautiful and more interesting with each passing year.

So I formed a fast relationship with my cosmetic dermatologist. Dr. Jana, with her arsenal of non-invasive, “lunchtime procedures,” various lasers, fillers, and cabinet full of Botox, keeps my wrinkles in line and my whiskers at bay. Nonetheless, I have been lobbying the Spouse for a wattle-ectomy. The young Slovak beauties tend to have jaw lines sharp enough to open envelopes. But that involves general anesthesia, a trip to Brno, and money that is probably better spent on practical things like the electric bill.

Add to this the Spouse’s birthday next week and a pair of hairy gorilla legs, and I found myself walking into a local salon yesterday on the off chance I could get my legs waxed, at least, on the spot.

It’s a place I’ve been to many times, but I had never mentioned the B-word there before. I’ve never mentioned it anywhere, except, perhaps at a bar with similarly giggly and tipsy girlfriends.

I remember when I was pregnant in Argentina, discussing “courtesy coiffing” with another American woman who was also pregnant and seeing the same obstetrician. Because her Argentine husband is also a doctor, she knew our OB socially as well as professionally. Somehow we had reached the conclusion that the Argentine medical professionals did not think it was necessary to depilate as preparation for delivery. But what about the average Argentine woman on the street? This is a culture obsessed with beauty. Did they do any . . . lawn work as a precursor to any quasi-public viewing of the nether regions?

I thought American Girlfriend ought to ask the OB at the next barbeque, preferably before either of us went into labor. But she claimed cowardice. I thought I should ask at the waxing factory I used to frequent in Buenos Aires. But I just couldn’t work out how to phrase the question in Spanish without feeling like some sort of pervert.

So it came to pass that both of us delivered our children in whatever state we were in at the time. I do not recall any snarky comments from the doctor to his midwife along the lines of “Oh, dios mio, did you see the state of her concha . . . ?”

Fast forward ahead six years to yesterday.

I walked into the salon and in my limited Slovak said, “Terribly sorry, my Slovak sucks.”

The Woman Behind the Desk replied in Slovak, “Yes, I see, but nevermind.”

Me: “Is possible, depilation? Today?”

WBD: “Sure! No problem. What did you want done?”

Me: “Legs. Bikini. Underarms?”

WBD: “Sure! No problem. Follow me.” And she leads me into the part of the salon where they do facials and hair removal.

Cool, I thought. I don’t have to wait.

Then I dropped my bombshell: “Is possible, Brazilian?”

Woman Formerly Behind Desk, Now Wielding Hot Wax (cheerfully, as if she’s asked this every day): “Sure! No problem.”

I remove my skirt and blouse and climb up on the table. Unsure of the knickers protocol in a Brazilian wax job, I queried: “These? On? Off?”

WFBDNWHW: “Down!”

Now it seemed awkward to me to hop off the table again and I was unsure about my ability to toss them, Michael Jordan style, onto my purse across the room from that angle. So I stuck them under my head. Let me just clarify the scene: I’m not worried about showing her my goodies. But I feel leaving my knickers nearby is too much. Just so you’re clear on my state of mind.

What followed were 20 minutes of totally inept wax wielding, grimacing, and the repeated use of the Slovak word for pain. As in

WFBDNWHW: “Too much pain?”

I was beginning to realize I was going to be left with more stubble than Crockett and Tubbs. About this point she must have realized that we were inching towards terrain on which she was lacking confidence. She threw in the towel, as it were, by saying one word.

WFBDNWHW now known to me as The Butcher of Bratislava: "Gillette?"

Exactly, I thought. I’ll just take my poor plucked chicken self home and should I ever go looking for my heart’s desire, I won’t go any farther than my disposable razor. But not before she went after me with the tweezers first. Dios mio.

Once at home, safely cloistered in my office, I googled “Brazilian bikini wax.” Found two very entertaining videos on YouTube. They approximate the experience without actually showing you anything untoward:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWXLSnnmNE8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRDkO2Z6_Ik

Learn from my mistakes. It’s a jungle out there.

4 Comments:

Anonymous april said...

Dear Bratislava Baby,

We'd love you to list your expat blog on our new website, to help us build a great resource for all women living overseas.

Please take a look at our site at: www.ExpatWomen.com.

Thanks,

April.

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a scream. If nothing else, you should treat yourself to ice cream (eaten or applied)

Steve AKA sofsp

4:14 PM  
Blogger :) said...

Hi there. This blog is hilarious. I remember my own experience getting a brazilian. I actually chickened out. Now, I'm back to French (Gillette). LOL

I've got to post my blog abt my brazilian experience. Got lots of blogs on my notebook, no time to post online. superbusymom. lol

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can u recommend a place for waxing .. legs .. in Bratislava. Just got here. Thanks :)

10:02 PM  

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