Sunday, December 20, 2009
I'm a woman who shaves her face and neck.
I have had it with the tweezers.
Oh they were fun. There were the red lights and the rear view mirrors, the moments in the children parks on the large mirrored surfaces with perfect light, there were other people's bathrooms with other lights, and the joy of finding that perfect moment with a suitable light / mirror combination and the tweezers in hand. Pluck and scan and pluck and scan.
It all started when I was forty. I was brushing my teeth one morning as I am wont to do and BAM! there it was on my right jowl, just at the level of the mandible, catching the sunlight in my mother's bathroom. I touched it and it was thin and long and I wondered how long it had hung out there growing on its own with nary so much as a note to me. I reached for my mom's tweezer and pulled it out. The end.
It was a busy time then, mom was in stage IV of pancreatic cancer. I was driving back and forth from NYC to be with her during the week so my sister who's children were in school would be able to be there on week ends. My life was falling apart on many levels. I had just lost the home I'd known for over a decade, been declared disabled and left my work as an ESL teacher, found myself on a bridge ready to jump only to return to first avenue and find my way to bellevue in a posture of complete weepy surrender. I had also learned, while ringing a lover's bell, that being forty meant that one could wet their pants while sneezing. Ah, the unneccessary mysteries of aging.
So, when I saw that same hair there again a week later, I plucked it again. The end.
Then I began to look for it. As it showed up I snapped it up. The end.
My mom died and I returned to NYC. However, the stress of the changes in my life and the new pressures of my sister's insane proclamation that I had fudged mom's will made me seek calmer shores. I headed to the town of hopewell junction where I had spent some lovely time swimming in a lake and feeling at one with the planet. A friend had a room for rent. I could afford it. It was near a library. I was set.
Then as I realized how many times these innocent decisions turn out to be trial and tribulation for the soul, I saw that my chin hair had company. There were now three or four sprouts. So I plucked them too.
In a couple of years, when I had found my happy home in Hudson, NY, far from the straight jacketed world of Hopeless, I was the owner of several tweezers. I had a couple in my car, one or two in my bags, and of course the best ones in the medicine cabinets. I became an afficionada of tweezers, understanding that price was not always indicative of quality. I became obsessive. My hands were always at my chin and along my jaw line. My moustache was the same as ever. But the hair on my chin, and then my neck, just kept getting thicker and more populous.
By the time I left my fourth home away from NYC and the woman I almost married, tweezing was as much a part of my life as writing, swimming, and eating.
I was forty six when I finally found my way back to the dirty rotten apple that I love so much to call home sweet home. I finally went to a beauty parlor for some threading. Seven dollars and yes, the hair had to grow between trips. So what I wasn't so vain. I could survive a week or two. And I knew, no one really looked. Or rather no one really saw. People don't see. However, I just don't like hair on my face. My eyebrows yes, and the fuzz above my lips. But not these pokes of growth like some strange type of weed.
I found a salon that threaded me. The women were from Nepal. It was on my way to and from places I often went to. There was a conviviality about reclining in the chair and giving one's self up to the care of others.
I left my tweezers alone and missed them naught one bit.
All this time, I owned razors for the times I would shave below my waist or under my arms. Nothing regular, but always an option. Razors were no option for my chin hair though. I had been warned since a child that women did not shave their faces. The hair will grow back thicker, harder, coarser, ugly, manly. Oh, no. My sister said it. When I told her I was getting threadings on a regular basis she was pleased.
"But, why not shave?" I asked. "So much quicker. No money, either."
Her answer was no surprise. She repeated the horror story of shaved facial hair.
Still my facial hair was coming in thicker, blacker, more manly, if that what course meant, from the tweezing and the threading.
I loved the women who worked in the salon I went to. I had a card that they would punch. Soon I would have a free session. We laughed and I was entertaining. It was a vacation in the river of tasks that make up a NYC week. It was around ten dollars a pop with the tip. I went every other week, sometimes every week. I could have gone twice a week with my Indian hair popping up uninvited all over my face.
The economy made me face certain facts. I haven't paid my rent in two months. I've been without paid work for three months. I'm scared shitless about spending money on this or that. My new mouth is demanding new food. NO way in hell am i dropping ten dollars on the lovely ladies, wish them luck without me, and my facial hair woes. The tweezers no longer feel good in my hands. I don't want the obsession or the time or the squinching of the eyes. I want the hair gone fast.
So I reached for my razor as I prepared for the first session of my writer's workshop this October. I lathered up my chin with soap and I scraped my face with my pretty pink double bladed razor with the flowers on it.
The hair comes back stubbly, yes; I pass the razor again. No more moments with my tweezers and no more ten dollar visits to houses of beauty. I own the means to my facial hair production.
I am woman. I shave my face and chin and even some bits of my throat.
Google woman's facial shaving and you'll see that the jury is out on the truth so many hold dear as to how this is not a good answer. Some dermatologist even find shaving to be healthy as microdermabrasion or something.
If you are wondering what to do with your own facial hair, save yourself the time and the money, and start off right with the razor in hand. Shave. I do.