I try not to question God. Honestly. Although I have to admit that when I get to Heaven, I am going to have a seriously long discussion with Him about cockroaches. Because, really, why? Forget about hunger and plagues, and man’s inhumanity to man. I’m going to talk to the Big Guy about bugs.
And lately, there is another issue that comes to mind, and that is unwanted hair.
I’m in my forties. And a whole host of things happen to a woman’s body in her forties. Take, for example, all of the symptoms of menopause. You can just wrap them all up together into one big suck package. And then there’s the saggy chin-saggy neck disaster. The beloved Nora Ephron was really understating things when she said “I Feel Bad About My Neck.” I’m starting to really hate my neck. And my chin. Or should I say chins.
But perhaps the greatest irony of middle age is the ‘Hair Thing.’ While the middle age man wakes up every morning, grieving over the many strands of hair the night has robbed of him, the middle aged woman wakes up every morning to find that same amount of hair sprouting from her (double) chin. And it’s not nice, soft peachy fuzzy hair, either. It’s coarse and black and strong enough to put an eye out. And the chin isn’t the only place this unwanted hair grows. It grows between our eyes in clumps—where, before, a little weekly plucking would take care of it, now we need a weed whacker. It grows on our upper lips, making us look more than a little like Magnum PI. It even, occasionally, grows on our cheeks. We gaze in the mirror and are horrified to see this two inch strand of hair sticking straight out from just under our eye, and we think, How the hell LONG has that been there?
Anyone who has lived with me, or dated me, or (sorry, Honey) has been married to me knows that I am not exactly an award winner in the grooming department. I am clean, yes. I shower regularly and scrub my teeth several times a day and always slap some antiperspirant on my pits. But the everyday business of plucking and clipping and shaving and Q-tipping has never been my forte—especially once the kids came along. Seriously, who has time? (I’m a slave to my kids, not to my reflection.) When I see a problem, i.e. a hangnail or an errant whisker, or if my leg hair is so long I fear my husband and I will start a fire under the covers (and not the good kind of fire, mind you) I deal with it as needed. But lately, as needed is a daily damned thing.
Last week, I spent several days in a row reviewing the line edit of my second novel, Sweet Nothings. I devoted every minute of every hour that my kids were in school to this edit. Every other hour was spent on mothering and house-wifing and generally taking care of the business of family life. I gave no thought or energy to grooming. And by Friday, I looked like a freaking Sasquatch. Seriously, I picked up my kids wearing a hat, a scarf wound all the way up to my mouth and Jackie O sunglasses to disguise myself. My kids didn’t even know who the hell I was.
Now, I know there are a lot of moms out there that do not have this problem. (You know, the Swedes) Or if they do, they take care of it quietly and gracefully. But I am just not that graceful. I can’t wax, because not only does ripping that cloth strip off my upper lip hurt like a son of a bitch, it also makes a cold sore erupt faster than you can say Vesuvius. Same goes for Nair. Instant eruption. And plucking is worse. My hair seems to grow in direct proportion to the hair I pluck. If, say, I pluck six (just a number) hairs from my chin on Monday, by Wednesday, there are seven hairs growing in the exact same spot. And plucking my eyebrows makes me sneeze uncontrollably— a succession of violent sneezes that threatens to blow my head apart. Electrolysis…um, just saying it makes me shudder, and laser removal is far too expensive for me. So waxing, Nairing, plucking, electrolysis and lasering are a no go. What’s a girl to do? Usually, I just say “Aw, hell!” grab my husband’s razor (don’t tell him) and take a half a dozen swipes across the entirety of my face. Boom. Done.
Ah, to be a French Bohemian. Wouldn’t that be nice? I could give up shaving my pits and everything. But alas, I’m just a middle-aged American woman with an unwanted hair issue.
I know this is a lesser evil of growing old, and there are far more important things to discuss with God. But hey, if you’re listening Oh Powerful One? I’m not asking for no more whiskers. (I’d certainly ask for a new chin first!) But if You could make a depilatory that doesn’t hurt, doesn’t cost a lot, and lasts for a year, I’d be grateful. You made that happen with birth control, and I’m not going to hold it against You that You waited until after I stopped needing birth control. Thanks so much. Just let me know when it comes to pass. You’ll be able to recognize me. I’ll be the one in the hat, scarf, and Jackie O sunglasses.