The problem with primping

SSU_LOGO–by Mary Helen Darah

One of the many things I enjoy about writing is having the opportunity to visit local organizations and businesses. I get to experience first-hand the services they provide to the community. I have done everything from trying on 45 pounds of firefighting equipment to flipping burgers at a local iconic hangout. My most memorable experience—both mentally and especially physically—was a trip to a European wax spa. Being a self-proclaimed “primp challenged” woman, I was looking forward to getting my first wax job. I felt a bit guilty. Being a woman of height, it would take hours for them to contend with my long legs. It did not, and after my arms were smooth they moved on to many surprising areas of my body that I never realized could or needed to be waxed. Looking back, I wish I would have consulted Webster’s before my visit for a clearer definition of the differences between a Brazilian and full-frontal waxing. I declined the first and felt safe going for “full-frontal,” which I naively thought referred to my eyebrows and facial cheek fuzz. I was wrong. Both waxing techniques occur south of the border. Let me tell you, Midwestern winters are cold enough without added “difficulties.”
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Sadly, my DNA consists of a steady stream of “primp challenge” females and the next generation has not been spared. Years ago, I tried not to panic as my 16-year-old emerged from her room to report that she was unable to attend school because of a waxing malfunction. Apparently, the apple not only falls but, in this case, clings to the tree. Being a light-haired woman, I tried valiantly to relate to my little Mediterranean-looking furball as I assessed the damage. She had borrowed (without consent) her sister’s hot waxer and used it on her eyebrows, arms, under her nose and a “southern” region. She did not wait for the wax to cool so you can only imagine what she looked like.

But wait until the wax is cooled …

The reddened areas made her look as if she had a mustache similar to an evil dictator and eyebrows that made her appear as if she were in a constant state of panic. I banned her from using any appliance with a cord until she returned to her normal (or as close to normal as one can be in this family) state.

The older “non-primpers” also have not fared well through the years. My mom once bought an eyelash curler and neglected to insert the protective pad in the device before use. Her attempts at longer lashes resulted in a rather scared “freakish” look as her poor little “nubs” grew back.

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My Gram had the brilliant idea of soaking her infected earlobes in Methiolate, a bright orange liquid put on wounds back in the 70s. Its mercury content could explain some of my family’s behavior. Her colored ears didn’t fade for months. I have had a few brilliant ideas of my own. To make my hair (more like emerging sprouts—think chia pet) look fuller post chemo, I darkened my new growth with mascara. It was a good idea in theory unless you live in an area where sunshine is a rare commodity. On a typical rainy day in Ohio, I was unaware of the dark streaks that were making their progression down my forehead right before heading into a meeting.


It was then that I discovered the benefits of waterproof mascara.

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On Fleek.

It is my dream that one day women will be judged on their intellect, substance and kindness of heart. I guess until then, the conditioning, straightening, curling, plucking, perming, shaving, exfoliating and the WAXING will continue. I hope that

in the future, we as women, liberate ourselves from a life of devices and potions and rely on our intelligence and wit.03.07 SSU
… a girl can dream.

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