I was on the phone with the totally sweet and patient poison-control representative. She was gently talking me down, and at the sound of her sweet Midwestern accent, I found I had regained the ability to form sentences. “I — I burned off the skin like, near, my vagina? Like the front-bottom region?”
To her credit, she didn’t skip a beat. She asked me rapid-fire questions — was the burned area bleeding? Had I attempted any triage on the burned area? What product had I applied that caused the damage? How long had I left the product on? On a scale of 1 to 10, how severe was my pain?
They weren’t hard questions but I couldn’t focus. Granted, partially I was distracted by the pain of throbbing vag (and so the opposite of in a good way) and partially because of the screaming ticker tape running through my head: THIS IS WHAT THEY CALL ROCK BOTTOM, STOKES.
I closed my eyes and promised to deal with the cold hard truth — that I decided to pillage my 70s-style (and FABULOUS) bush hair BECAUSE OF A GUY — after I dealt with screaming red canvas of pain that had once been the glorious valley of promise, leading to my body’s mountain of truth.
I don’t have a great history when it comes to pubic grooming. I’m not naturally a very hairy person. But, just like my heart, my follicles are curious travelers, who take up refuge in places that a less-confident girl might find embarrassing.
I have always been proud of my ability to shrug off the stray nipple hair, or the odd chin curlicue. When putting on a bathing suit, I might bitch and moan, but I’m more likely to strategically rearrange my pubes (think, stylish side part) than I am to trim back the hedges.
It’s been easy — especially lately, in the sexual no-man’s land within which I wander — to defend my position. I keep the little madame clean, I trim for the sake of clarity and courtesy, and I’m into body hair on other people.
I’ve always been pretty cocksure (giggity) about my body-hair confidence because I’m so insecure about so many other aspects of myself. That is to say, I don’t have to talk myself into loving my body hair with daily affirmations — I just happen to naturally think it is awesome.
So why did I apply a cake-icing thick layer of Nair onto my person and decide that adding a “couple of minutes” to the application time was a great idea? Because I let an external force pop the gorgeous bubble of my innate follicular self-confidence.
And it sucked. Actually, as I’ve mentioned, it burned.
In the past, my personal grooming disasters have all been the direct result of poorly thought out whims. Namely, my 25th birthday, the occasion wherein I stripped off not just the jasmine-scented bush wax I’d applied, but the topmost part of my dermis. Gruesome? Sure. But done because of a negative thought spiral inspired by a guy I have only met twice? No. Not even remotely.
I can’t blame the guy in question for everything. Or anything at all, really.
There have been a myriad of tiny cracks in my surface of strength lately. The layoff from my job becomes official on Tuesday, I’ve backtracked in my relationship with food (it’s the enemy again, so that’s awesome), I’m considering moving across the country. I’m quickly entering the next chapter in my life — and I’m not quite sure what that looks like.
Granted, I hated my job, and I know how to do the heavy lifting required to get back into a good food headspace, and yeah — new chapters, those are exciting! That’s the positive outlook, right?
I keep waiting to wake up feeling ready to view my new world that way, and I will. But the reality of the present moment: I am deeply tired, and raw, and well, fragile.
So, when a guy — a friend of a friend (BECAUSE AREN’T THEY ALL) who doesn’t live in this state — made the effort to reach out through time and space and cultivate a relationship with me, I maybe got too excited about it. And then, when he sent me a note saying he was coming to see our aforementioned mutual friend, I maybe got too excited about seeing him.
Aaaaand then when that visit came and went and he didn’t get a hold of me or try to hang out with me, I maybe dug up my old cassette single of Jewel wailing “Foolish Games” and put that shit on a loop.
Then I headed for the Nair in a deluded mission to sexify myself and thus up my value. Additionally, red lipstick was applied, but that was nowhere nearly as much of a medical emergency — in fact that experience was wholly positive.
Yeah, man. I can’t quite make the leap logic-wise either. A guy passive aggressively rejects me, or gets cold feet, or, quite simply, doesn’t have the time in a quick visit to see a long-term friend to also see me, and I’m all, “IT IS BECAUSE I AM NOT THE SORT OF WOMAN A MAN WOULD FLY TO SEE BECAUSE OF MY 70S STYLE BUSH! AWAY WITH IT! AWAY I SAY! BRING ON THE BOILS AND RAW FLESH BECAUSE THAT IS MUCH MORE ALLURING.”
I guess I should be thankful that my post-quarter-life crisis is manifesting in such ultimately benign ways. The nice lady at poison control transferred me to a much less sympathetic 911 operator once she’d established that I had not, in fact, ingested any of the Nair orally.
Why couldn’t a dalliance with cocaine or hot, irresponsible random sex been a part of my bottoming out? I mean obviously not really, but come I mean — Sharon Stone in “Casino”? She was having a great time! You know, until uh, she wasn’t.
The bored 911 operator asks me if I’ve “iced the area.” One numbed fanny and some Rachel Zoe Project on demand later and I am feeling a bit more like myself. Add a glass of merlot and these are the cures for all the insecurities that ail me. This and a promise to avoid Facebook and maybe the opposite sex altogether, at least until both my psyche and the pussy are back to feeling fully operational.
What embarrassing things have you done in the face of rejection? How did you act out when you lost your last job? Is doing all this weirdo shit just the normal lead-up to turning 30? Or does it say something deeper about our society that it puts these genital beauty standards on us?
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