Friday, June 03, 2005

In the Name of Beauty

As a prelude to my youngest sister's wedding, we, the bridal party, were treated to a midday excursion to the local beauty salon. We were to receive manicures and pedicures. Having only worn nail polish twice in my life, this would be a new experience. I entered the upscale, perfectly adorned establishment this morning, coffee in hand, not quite knowing what to expect.

Firs and foremost, I was never meant to wear nail polish.

The esthetician had to redo three of my nails because I accidentally touched my hair while they were still drying. She scolded me for not being careful enough as I transitioned my hands from the ultraviolet nail dryer machine to the table. A little later, I noticed that I had dented the polish on two others, but I didn't dare say anything. I think she would have unceremoniously chopped my head off if she found out. So I kept it quiet.

Drying problems aside, the manicure itself was a breeze. Buff my nails, put on a zillion coats of polish and clearcoat and who-knows-what else, and we're done. Sounds easy right ? I thought I was in good shape. Until it came time for the pedicure.

Now keep in mind, I have never had this procedure done before. I work out rigorously, I take karate, I run, I play sports - so my feet are perpetually beat up. I have multiple calluses from walking, running, and kicking the sandbag at the gym. I have one half-black toenail (don't ask me how I did that, I don't remember), some red scuff marks, and a recently-popped blood blister courtesy of last week's karate class. Not exactly dainty, but I prefer it that way. It no longer hurts when I kick the sandbag.

It did feel rather strange to have my toenails buffed and filed, but everything was going just swimmingly until the esthetician brought out the foot file. This ominous tool features an oval-shaped piece of sandpaper, used to buff the extra skin and calluses off one's foot.

Pure torture for those of us who are really ticklish.

I could not help but clutch the armrest of the couch and grit my teeth as she raked this thing back and forth across all surfaces of my feet, wearing down the protective outer layers and exposing the sensitive skin underneath. It was agonizing, but I endured it for the sake of my sister and her wishes for her wedding. When it was finally over, I breathed a grateful sigh of relief.

Little did I know, but that was just the beginning.

With a big, sweet smile, the esthetician proudly announced that she was going to wax my toes. And once she was done with that, she was going to wax my eyebrows, too.

What ?!? Wax ? On my eyebrows ? And my TOES ?!?

No WAY !!!! No freakin' way ! I steadfastly refused.

Unfortunately, I was rendered powerless by the esthetician's guilt trips, the bridal party's begging, and their assertations that this procedure did not hurt. They pleaded that I had to do this, for my sister and for her wedding. Everyone else did it and they survived. My protests were met with the sincere promise that it really wouldn't hurt.

They lied.

Three years ago, while playing softball, I was walloped by a screaming one-hopper at third base. The ball was hit so hard that I barely had time to react. It echoed a sickening -SMACK- as it impacted my thigh and ricocheted sharply into left field. The umpire, seeing the force at which the ball hit me, stopped the game to ask if I was ok. Although unnerved, I shed no tears. Without uttering even a whimper of discomfort, I shook it off. I obtained an ice pack for between innings, and played out the rest of the game. Suck it up and keep on playing. That's what I do.

Yet, when this evil, wicked lady with the hot green wax and merciless paper strips attacked my eyebrows and toes, my tolerance failed me. For the first time in my life, I was broken. It was not by lifting weights, not by running 7.5 miles, not by kicking and punching until my limbs were jellied from exhaustion. I was broken by the wax. It hurt so damned much that tears came to my eyes. I was powerless to stop them. I could barely restrain myself from cursing like a sailor amongst these proper, refined ladies with their perfect hair and makeup.

I have run up and down football stadium stairs with 100 extra pounds on my back and shoulders. I have had two teeth dislocated by a line drive. I have done so many push-ups on my knuckles and fingertips on the hard, wooden dojo floor that I nearly passed out. I endured it, conquered it, rose above it, refused to succumb to the discomfort. But I have never in my life experienced a sharper, more screaming pain than those sticky white strips being mercilessly ripped off my body.

Why do women do this to themselves ?? They willingly and systematically plunk down their hard-earned cash for these procedures, enduring whatever pain and agony goes along with it - and for what ?

Yes, my eyebrows look just a little cleaner than they used to. My toes look, well, bare. Both areas are red and irritated. I suppose this is society's idea of beauty. But mark my words, it was NOT worth the pain. I'll keep my slightly messy eyebrows to avoid this torture. I'd rather be kicked in the stomach by a well-meaning but errant White Belt than go through this again.

But the precedent has been set. The foundation is in place. Next year, around this time, our other sister will be getting married.

Lord save me.


Anonymous zippity_do_dah said...


But you've gotta do the eyebrows! They hurt half as much and are so much more important!

June 8, 2005 at 10:28:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Charles said...

Andrea, we gotta work on this. There is NO crime in being brilliant AND pretty. Sometimes ya gotta embrace the feminine side.

Being brilliant and beautiful, and still able to fire line drive triples? that's cool

We'll find the inner girl somehow!

June 24, 2005 at 3:00:00 PM PDT  

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