The Complete Beginners Guide to Shaving
When Bek invited me to guest post I knew I wanted to make it good. Putting your best foot forward and all that. Bek and I go way back. At least as way back as college and, since I can barely remember yesterday, college might as well be time immemorial. But when I was thinking about what to write all I could think of was shaving. That's right - shaving. Only the best for my college buddies, you know.
I was probably thinking about shaving because I had just finished my morning shower when I read her email. My typical morning shower in which I hack my legs into a bloody mess. Like a scene out of Saw 4. (Not that I have ever seen, have any desire to see, or ever plan to see Saw 4. But I think you get my drift.)
Since shaving was the best guest post topic I could come up with (again, I'm so sorry Bek, it's all I have) I thought about the first time I ever tried to shave. I seem to remember being invited to a birthday-pool-party-sleepover when I was in the fourth grade. (Don't you miss birthday-pool-party-sleepovers?) For some reason, I had begun obsessing over my newly sprouted leg hair. I was an "early bloomer" or whatever they call it. Hashtag painful. Hashtag awkward. I was convinced that every girl at the party would still have skin like the Coppertone baby and I would be the lone Sasquatch. Because that's exactly what a fourth grade girl needs: body image issues.
"Hey Mom," I thought I would start off casual, "you know I'm almost ten. Do you think I could start shaving?"
"Absolutely not. You're way too young."
"But Mooooooom!" I protested. "I have leg hair! No on else at the party is going to have leg hair! It's embarrassing!"
"Victoria, you are too young to worry about shaving your legs. Once you start you have to keep shaving them and your hair will grow back even darker than before. Trust me." Whatever. You don't know my life.
Clearly, mom left me no choice. I would have to take shaving into my own hands. Or legs.
During my evening shower, I was determined to exit less hairy than I entered. Of course, being nine years old, I had no razor to call my own. Naturally, I would just have to borrow one. And, of course, being nine years old, I had no concept of how crucial shaving cream is to the shaving process. Or about the type of razor to use. So, I picked up my dad's five -blade manly sharp razor, because I was stupid like that, and positioned the head at the base of my ankle.
Then I dug in and pulled the razor up my leg.
And immediately lost five quarts of my life's blood.
Mom rushed in.
This was the end.
An hour, and several drenched towels, later I was lying in bed with my foot propped up on my Aladdin beanbag. I remembered watching an ER episode in which a gunshot victim had their leg propped up to slow the bleeding. And basically everything you need to know about First Aid you can pick up from watching ER. (Don't ask my why I was watching ER at the ripe age of nine. If I was old enough to worry about shaving, then I assume I was mature enough to follow the nighttime dramas with every other 40-year-old woman in America.)
Like I said, I was lying in bed and had myself thoroughly convinced that I was going to die. I prayed that God would spare me. I prayed that I would live to see tomorrow. I wondered what Mom and Dad would do with the stereo I had just gotten for Christmas. Then I woke up the next morning. Crisis averted.
Mom must have had compassion on me after she saw what drastic measures I would take for beauty. She suggested that we try Nair. And if you've ever used Nair you'll know that it feels something like your legs have been dipped in acid. The price we pay. The funny thing is that Mom was still convinced I was too young to be worried about any sort of hair removal on my pubescent legs. But she justified herself by allowing me to use Nair only on the front part of my shins. (Sorry Mom, but this is true. I wouldn't forget something like this.) I did end up attending that birthday-pool-party-sleepover, but with perhaps more deflated confidence over my half-hairy Sasquatch legs than before. Hashtag struggle bus.
With such a swell start to my shaving career, it's no wonder that I've never quite gotten the hang of it. I could mask my shaving inabilities well enough when I was single, but now I'm married. The problem with being "naked and unashamed" is, well, you have to get naked. My husband just empathetically shakes his head at me when I limp out of our bathroom, pressing a tissue on three different parts of my thigh to stop the bleeding.
I'm not sure what the moral of the story could be. Tell your daughter not to worry so much about her appearance. Let your daughter shave when she wants to. Stock up on Band Aids. Learn how to shave. Or maybe it's to wear pants for the rest of your life and avoid shaving all together. No matter what grain of truth you take from this cautionary tale, my sincere apologies to Bek for not thinking of anything more substantive to write about than shaving.
Victoria, you are welcome back anytime you want, no matter how hairy your legs. Thank you for this hysterical post; it certainly brought back memories of my first time shaving, which was also hilarious in hindsight. I'll spare the lovely readers this tale and just say thanks again, Victoria!