Saturday, July 7, 2007

Just Like a Woman

I am a woman. I love being a woman. I embrace womanhood. I love all (well, almost all) that it entails. However, there are certain things about being a woman that sort of suck it. I'm going to talk about two of them here: bathing suit shopping, and hair removal.

We'll start with hair removal. I'm not sure if guys realize the amount of time, money, energy, and pain that is spent by women to remove hair from their bodies. This goes from the daily shaving routine, to the monthly eyebrow threading, to the summertime bikini wax. We spend countless hours trying to make our bodies smooth, touchable and hair free. We spend so much time at this and have become so good at it, that the world (or at least those in the US) have bought into the idea that women are hairless (except for those luscious locks on their heads). I'm not about to get on a soapbox and say that this is wrong and the societal norms need to change. I happen to think that hairless legs are prettier than harry legs (I mean, c'mon...have you ever seen the upper thigh of a man...ick!!). So, I'm not about to grow out the hair on my body (even though I live in Oregon)...but I must say that I'm really tired of all of the shaving and plucking and waxing and tweazing and threading that occupies such a big place in my beauty regimen. So, I've finally decided to do something about it...I'm going under the laser!!

Today I had my first appointment for laser hair removal. It started off like many other appointments at a "spa". I was ushered into a nice room, then I disrobed and slipped under a sheet. But, instead of this being followed by a relaxing and soothing massage, I spent the next hour and a half in some degree of pain. In anticipation of the pain, I had planned on doing some deep breathing exercises sort of like the ones I teach my patients to use in stressful/painful situations...or like pregnant women learn in Lamaze (yes, I was anticipating that degree of pain). What I didn't realize is that the laser device blows out this very forceful stream of cold air in order to cool the area that's being lasered. As many of you know, I have a VERY difficult time breathing when air is being blown into my face, as evidenced by nearly passing out while sky diving because I couldn't take a breath. So, while the area being lasered was nice and cool, I was suffocating and obviously not practicing my deep breathing! This only slightly distracted me from the pain and did absolutely nothing for my anxiety. Luckily, laser hair removal wasn't nearly as painful as I anticipated...except for the armpits...OOOOWWWEEEE!!!! I think all of the pain will be worth it though. Soon I can throw away all of my razors and never again worry about a boy touching my leg at church and looking at me as if I'd cut his hand with shards of glass. Just a few more sessions and maybe soon I'll look like this...

As if this post wasn't already long enough...I'm now going to move on to bathing suit shopping...another bain in the existence of being a woman. I'm not sure why, but bathing suit shopping is probably the least enjoyable activity on the planet for most women. I take that back...I know exactly why. It's because, after months of wearing sweaters and long pants, we find ourselves in a tiny room with bright florescent lights squeezing ourselves into suits of lycra that show off every flaw that we had been attempting to hide for the last 8 months. Our skin is that sickly pasty white, our stomachs have become a little more soft, and we haven't seen that much of our bodies exposed since the previous summer. All that, and we are trying to imagine ourselves in said lycra hanging out with boys that we'd like to smootch. Even the tallest and skinniest of women have told me they hate bathing suit shopping. But, it is a necessary evil in our lives...especially if we are going to find boys to smootch. So, a few weeks ago I spent a typical Thursday evening ruining my self-esteem by shopping for a bathing suit for a ward boating activity. While living in LA, I acquired a number of bathing suits (natch, since I lived near the beach). However, very few of these bathing suits are "suitable" for a ward activity, and the few that are I totally hate. So, if I was going to meet and attract a boy at this activity, I was going to need a new suit. The problem is, you can't go bathing suit shopping when you actually need a new suit. I went to several stores and must have tried on 50 bathing suits and still went home empty handed. It was horrible and sent me into a funk that lasted at least 2 days before I could finally kick it.

Well, today I was strolling through Nordstrom on my way to the mall when I happened upon the bathing suit section. "Walk on" said part of me. "But you need a new suit so you can go boating and find a nice Mormon boy" said the other part of me. The latter part won and I spent an hour squeezing myself into some lycra. At the end of the hour I found a very cute bathing suit and still felt really good about myself. This experience taught me some valuable lessons that I'd like to share:

1. NEVER intentionally go bathing suit shopping. If you are looking for a bathing suit, you will never find one.

2. You should shop for bathing suits when you "happen upon" the bathing suit section and have an hour to kill.

3. NEVER go bathing suit shopping the day (or even 3 days) before you need to be wearing said bathing suit. Again, the pressure is too much and you will never find one. Instead, utilize rule #2 and put yourself in a mall more often than not (shopping for make-up, shoes, and handbags of course) at the beginning of the summer or weeks before you know you'll need swimwear.

4. NEVER go bathing suit shopping on an ugly day. It only exacerbates the "I'm disgusting" feeling you get when standing half-naked under those florescent lights.

5. ONLY shop for bathing suits on a day you are feeling hot. And by hot I mean those days when you strut down the street and assume that every guy is checking you out, not the days you are sweaty because it's 90 degrees out and you have no air conditioning (see rule #3). Do your hair and make-up. And, since undergarments are required while trying on swimwear, pretty panties are a must (no bathing suit will look pretty over garments or granny panties).

6. NEVER eat a big bowl of pasta (or any large meal for that matter) prior to going bathing suit shopping. Hopefully no explanation is necessary for this one.

I unknowingly utilized these rules with great success on Saturday and found this little number that can be worn to (hopefully) attract nice Mormon boys. I'm sure it would help if I looked that hot in it. I'd love to hear if you ladies have any additional rules you have discovered along the way to make this necessary evil a little more bearable.

Women, I hope that despite these two difficulties, you embrace your womanhood. As Sark put are a wild and succulent woman (who might have hairy legs and feel horrible in a bathing suit)...but wild and succulent you are!! Love it! Live it!


Emily said...

ok, not only do I agree with everything in this post (laser is painful but really worth it, bathing suit shopping is my worst nightmare for each and every reason you listed, etc.) but now I know that you and I are both "Succulent Wild Woman" lovers and never new it!!!!! If only we'd known while you lived here. Oh, the succulently wild things we could have done!!!

ginny said...

This post slays me. Agreed that NO bathing suit looks good when tried on over unflattering undies. Last year I went bathing suit shopping specifically for our surfing enrichment--big mistake!! You're right in that you have to just "happen upon" the perfect suit, and if it's the beginning of the season and it's full price, buy it anyway!

gamine said...

I love the image of you holding your breath while the cold air is blasting your hilarious skydiving face! Ha!

Evan said...

As one who longs to go under the laser (not for my legs or bikini-line or armpits or anything womanly) I'm glad to hear that it's not so bad.

And while I maintain that shaving your face is as bad as it gets, I've always felt so bad for ladies having to shave their pits and "parts".

I have tried for years to train myself (and other men) not to care about hair on ladies as not to feed into the whole societal thing, but it's tough to kick. Kudos to you for having the guts to get lasered!!

It will surely pay dividends because hairless ladies do indeed equal "succulent and wild".

Molly said...

Amen, sistah!

Anna said...

haha, I don't even think I was fun to type with all of us in my room! And, we all LOVED the Harry Potter movie!! Except, Marie fell asleep. You NEED to see it!

Anna said...

the above message is a reply from Renee's comment she left on my blog. :)

cheyney webb said...

Thank you for all the thought put into helping others avoid such painful moments. My "good" swimsuit is getting tears in it and so it looks like I am going to have to go shopping for some ...handbags!
love you.

Shaun R. said...

I was just having a conversation with a girl in my ward about the troubles women go through to find a good bathing suit. She told me that she decided to go shopping for a new suit on her birthday because it was "her day" and nothing was going to bring her down. I suppose that only works if you like your birthdays though.

Ted said...

Guys can have bathing suit nightmares too. My rule number one is never try to buy a bathing suit in the summer. They may be used in the summer, but there is NO selection left by then. Bathing suits are stocked in late winter and sold out in the Spring--at least for guys. I tried to buy one in July once. I went to Target, Chick's Sporting Goods, Wal*Mart and finally Kmart before I found one. Who shops at Kmart? I don't usually, but I was DESPERATE!