A Shave and a New Scar – 2 Bits

The other day, SaraDraws over at Laments and Lullabies posted about a subject near and dear to my heart, hatred of shopping. We are kindred spirits, Sara & I. Through my grousing about shopping, we also discovered that we mutually loathe a lot of the same girlish activities – such as bra fittings, shoe purchasing, going to the maul (sic) and shaving.

A riveting conversation

A riveting conversation

And through the magic of back and forth commentary, called on-line conversation, an idea was born.  I need to post something about the horrors of shaving…at least the horrors I’ve had shaving.

So let’s start with some honesty.  I’m a hairy freakin’ beast, hirsute, if you will.  And, of course, it’s COURSE DARK hair…and I’m basically a lazy & cheap individual. So I don’t have my caterpillars eyebrows maintained nor do I get myself waxed.  I will shave my legs and pits on a semi-regular basis…but that’s about all I can handle.  Sporadically, I will tweeze my brows and take care of any other extraneous facial hairs that need eradicating. I envision going camping for a couple of weeks, forgetting to bring a tweezers and razor – and thus emerging from the campsite as a Sasquatch sighting.  I’m grateful I don’t grow chin hairs (at least not yet)…there’s the silver lining.

But let’s get to the ha-ha…

It Was a Nair Scare…

when I was about 13 Nair Torture Cream became very popular.  Those ‘short-shorts’ girls, with their hairless thighs made me green with envy.

Liars....photo credit: musicandstrategy.com

photo credit: musicandstrategy.com

I wanted ‘hairless’ to be part of adjectives that I attached to my thighs…”elephantine bowling pins” were how I normally referred to them…but “hairless elephantine bowling pins” had a nice ring to it.

Soooo…. I tried the Nair. Obviously those lassies in the commercial must have had 3 thin hairs per leg…because Nair did not do the trick on my forest. Yeah, sure, it burned off some of the hairs – but the ankle, knee and inner thigh hairs were still going strong. I also decided to ignore the post-rinse skin rash and the during-application burning skin sensation when using this product-from-the-gods.

If at first you don’t succeed, try & try again…so like any clever 13 year old, I decided it would be in my best interest to combine shaving and Nair-ing.  Yes, people, I applied the Nair – waited the required amount of time then proceeded to SHAVE it off. It worked like a FUCKIN’ CHARM.  All the hair was gone.  I thought I’d hit ‘ pay-dirt’.

About 30 minutes later, my legs felt distinctly odd. And by ‘odd’ I mean they felt like they were on fire.  Oh yes, yes they were on fire…then the rash started…then the swelling began.  For almost a week my legs – from ankle to thigh – were swollen up like elephant legs, with a beautiful rash that itched.  For the first two days, I had to stay home because I couldn’t have anything touching my elephant trunks…turns out I’m allergic to Nair AND it is highly frowned upon by ‘those in the know’ to shave off caustic lotions. Lesson learned?  Meh… But I have a couple of nice scars left over from scratching my legs so much.

Hot Ball o’Lemon Candy

I used to be a belly dancer when I was in my 20s. One time my dance studio hosted a guest dancer from the Middle East for a weekend workshop. This amazing woman shared with us some of the non-shaving techniques that women in her country use.  One of them was sugar wax which is basically taking sugar, lemon and water and boiling it until it reaches the soft-ball stage on a candy thermometer. Then, once it’s cooled (this is the important part), you apply the candy ball to your hairy bits and yank it off.  Very efficient and painless – that was the promise.

Needless to say, I was sold! Here’s another factoid about me, I bend like a twig in the wind… this is one of the main reasons I don’t go to places where sales people get commission…I’m way too convince-able.

So anyway, I went home and made myself some hot soft ball o’lemon candy.  I let the ball cool (or so I thought) and then sat myself on the kitchen floor with visions of soft silky hairless legs.   TWO PAINFUL HOURS LATER I had blistered, puffy, sorta hairless legs.  Here’s the deal, a candy ball may FEEL cool on the outside, but the inside is still BLISTERING HOT.   I did not let it cool down nearly enough…and then proceeded to just burn the crap out of my legs.  Sure it ripped the hair out – and the skin…and what skin didn’t rip off, just blistered.  And stupid me, I thought “well, the candy will cool down as I use it” so I did it for a couple of hours.  Stubborn and stupid – not a good combination.  The really tragic part of this is that I WAS A PROFESSIONAL BAKER AT THE TIME…you’d have THOUGHT I would know more about candy making…nope – I didn’t let a little professional knowledge get between me and my dream of smooth hairless legs sans shaving.  I have scars from that too…

I’m not even going to start on the vibrating spring that yanks out hairs….that ‘invention’ was masochistic… I can’t even remember what it was called – but I do remember my brother having me use it on his back and enjoying HIS pain from it.

Now, I pretty much just shave my legs.  I did it dry a couple times in the past and paid for that dearly too.  But my skin HATES shaving – and I get razor stubble about 2 minutes after shaving.  I don’t see the point in doing it on a regular basis.  And yes, I have some nice leg scars from ripping off the skin on my shins (I’m pretty sure every leg-shaving person out there has done this).  I’m a body hair maintenance failure.  I admit it freely.

I also tried threading – and even taught myself how to do it. It’s kinda hard.  So one day, on a whim, I got my brows ‘professionally’ threaded. I was so excited until about 2 days afterwards when I had a line of blemishes over each eyebrow…just in time for Christmas!

I’ve also tried electrolysis – which combines PAINFUL with expensive.  Sigh… and still the hairs grow back.  I’m wishing for selective alopecia; where I can just choose to be hairless from my nose down to my ankles.

Anyway, I’ve made my husband PROMISE that if I’m ever unable to tweeze my embarrassing facial hairs that he would do it for me as an act of love (and so that he doesn’t have to look at me and see what kind of creature I’ve become).

A big “THANK YOU” for  SaraDraws for inspiring this post…


About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
This entry was posted in Childhood, Cooking, Health, Humor, Injury, Random Thoughts, Shaving, Story, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to A Shave and a New Scar – 2 Bits

  1. ♥Renee says:

    Ok I gotta tell you. The day I decided to get married was probably the wrong time to do this, I was young and seriously stupid. I decided to nair myself from foot to hip. Yes allll the way! What didnt come off I shaved. Big error in judgement. Not my first or last of this day. Needless to say I broke out. Walking down the isle I had to bowlleg it cause the actual rubbing was sending flares in my head. There was no honeymoon because I couldnt be bothered to do anything. Imagine the marriage lasted 13 days, just enough to heal the rash on my legs. Yup. Nair is dangerous! Have you seen those hair removing springs are getting big again? Ack! Hell no!

  2. Wow, I winced at all of these stories! Luckily I never needed to shave off nair, or drastic measures. Eek!

  3. I wrote a post a while ago entitled Too Much Data. Today, I read through your hilarious post and all the comments and got an overdose.

    I have to admit being a fan of smooth, hairless legs (on women, I might add) but little did I realize the pain and suffering to attain that goal.

  4. Oh my gosh you are so funny!!! Nair is like the worst thing ever invented. The smell alone is enough to keep me forever far far far away. Here’s the thing, though: they haven’t gone under which means that there is a whole population of people that uses it! WHO are they?!
    I am the opposite of you in the shaving department– I shave every. single. day. Any teensy little bit of stubble will drive me completely mad. I can’t stand it!

  5. Oh, this post speaks to me, Rutabaga. I have Sicilian blood too, thus, Sicilian hair. My hair removal efforts over the years sound much like yours. Now I just get waxed. It’s so much easier. And now that I’ve been waxing for 25 years, I think my follicles are FINALLY starting to chill out a little bit. But they haven’t surrendered, so I’ll probably be waxing until I’m close to death.

  6. The Hook says:


  7. calahan says:

    Nair also smells foul. I tried it on my chest once, just to see what would happen. It burned, but that smell was awful.

  8. MissFourEyes says:

    You are hilarious! I’ve tried all of those (except the sugar thing, but I did consider it once), and failed miserably. I’ve shaved, waxed, tried to tweeze each individual hair (bad, bad idea), and shaved after hair removal creams. Owww! I now employ a no shorts rule instead. When you find the secret to hairless legs, tell me!

    • I think I’m just going to dye the hairs my flesh color and go with that… or employ the no shorts rule (well, in Tucson, maybe not) or just think ‘the hell with it – I’m going hairy’….

      I’m glad I’m not the only one to use a cream plus shaving…

  9. Rufina says:

    And great post! 🙂

  10. Rufina says:

    My husband Lance went into the hospital for a heart stress test, and had heard stories beforehand that his chest would be shaved. His fantasies of being pampered by a pretty young nurse were dashed when a 20-year old male nurse’s assistant showed up, took a few swipes with a dry BIC razor, slapped on the electrodes and left. The uneven and raw shave job on Lance’s chest had me laughing at him for weeks…

  11. This is the funniest post I’ve ever read! Why do we torture ourselves? An even better question is why are some of us cursed with coarse hair and sensitive skin? It’s just not fair.

  12. Kylie says:

    You know, they make tights that look like flesh now. Have you seen the ones that look like muscles and bones? You could just get a pair of those and get the same results without all the trouble.

  13. twindaddy says:

    Dearest Rutabaga,
    I’m not sure what else to say but…bwahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. I mean, that must really suck. I hate shaving, too, though. I only shave once the hair on my face gets long enough to make my skin start itching uncontrollably.

  14. mudlips says:

    Since you bared all here, I will too. I’m a bit hairy myself but my worst shaving story is wishing for shaved hair to return: part of my muff was shaved in preparation for laproscopic surgery – it never grew back! So, try as I might to rid myself of unwanted hair, the wanted hair just stays away. I wish I knew what they did so I could use the technique elsewhere. TMI?

  15. Denise, This is hysterical. I laughed again at all your trials and tribulations! I’m sorry. I could totally see you as a belly dancer, by the way. The lemon candy story is too much. I’m too much of a wuss, I tried to wax myself and didn’t last too long. I have to give you a lot of credit for being so persistent. I think a wax at the salon is actually a lot less painful than the methods you described. Ouch!!!

  16. unfetteredbs says:

    low maintenance is the ONLY way to go.. I am not hairy(God I hope I did not just jinx myself) but I am lazy and plain jane

  17. saradraws says:

    I forgot you don’t have winter. Here, at least we have an excuse to be bundled head to toe for 6 months and no one knows whether I’v e shaved or not. Thank god I have a very tolerant husband. We have an agreement, though. He gets to wear pjs all day, and I get to let my razor rust.
    Last time I waxed, all I did was get sticky goo on every surface. Disaster. Do not try this at home.

  18. Carrie Rubin says:

    I’m in pain just reading this post. Ouch! I bemoan my pale skin, but at least the one benefit is light hair growth, both in color and intensity. I have never suffered the horror of Nair on my limbs, and now I’m sure I don’t want to. And I hope you learned your lesson about dry shaving, Missy. Not good! 🙂

    I’m with you and Sara on your disdain for shopping. And I don’t get my nails done. No facials either. Of course, both would probably do wonders for my appearance…

  19. Le Clown says:

    In my heydays of obsessive training, I had be known to shave/trim/groom than most women I knew back then… The places I would try to reach…………..
    Le Clown

  20. mairedubhtx says:

    My hair-losing stories are nowhere NEAR as good as yours. I gave up shaving–really–last year. I am single, no prospects, live alone, who am I doing this for? Not for me! So I’m hairy. So what? I really don’t care. It’s better than scars and bandaids and blood.

  21. "HE WHO" says:

    OMG. (I just don’t know what else to say). One of my daughters has the same problem, but she’s never told me as much about it as you now have. I suppose she confided in her late mother as I did hear whispers. If we ever do the Tuscon/Toronto swap, let’s do it in the winter when it’s cold enough that you’ll always want to be covered from head to toe.

  22. Brigitte says:

    There are no perfectly hairless women, Ruta. Photoshop can make anyone hairless (and flawless). I remember Nair and it smelled. Like those crazy chemical-rich perms. Who knows what’s in that??!! I say stick with the razor. The worst you can suffer from is nicks, ingrown hair and a few unshaved patches. I’ve never done that waxing thing and although your account was funny as you were “telling” it, it sounds extremely painful. No pain for me, nuh, uh, no way.

    Manscaping is much less labor-intensive. Why do we do this to ourselves??? 🙂

  23. haha! Sasquatch!! I’m with you and Sara… I hate all of those activities, as well. Shaving and all female grooming is at the top of my hate list. I have more maintenence issues than my 1934 Cape Cod. Seriously – it never ends, and if anything it just gets worse. At least when you replace a roof on a house you’ve got a good 20-30 years where you don’t have to think about it. Right now I’m using medicine to grow hair on my head and products to eliminate hair elsewhere. Why couldn’t my hair just coordinate it’s efforts and only grow on my head?

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