Hairscapades

When I was twelve-years old I had thick hair that went down to my knees which many admired. But with lovely knee-length hair on my head, came hair well, just about everywhere else which spanned definitions of fluff to course: a well-defined moustache that to this day I am at war with, thick well-meaning eyebrows, eyebrows in between eyebrows, a goatee (a belated joy of adulthood), under my arms, on my arms, my back, my stomach and even hairier legs that tried to desperately hide my bean stalk legs and, in failing to do so, only caused me more embarrassment. I first shaved my legs when I was thirteen and had to be shaven every two days with my father’s Minora blades and razor because I was too embarrassed to ask my mother to buy lady-blades for me. My new liberty came with the price of ripping off the skin in every place that had a tendon connected to my foot which hurt every time you took a step for at least a week. When I was seventeen years old and in Matric, I persuaded my father to buy me an Epilady shaver, that was said to skim over the skin, pulling out the hair by the root and thereby delivering two or three weeks of hairless, smoooooth legs. I yearned desperately for that promise for months on end after seeing the advert on TV, as the beautiful white woman effortlessly moved the noiseless Epilady shaver over her tanned, long leg, gliding her hand over the silky smooth surface of her skin thereafter. My dad generously gave in and one Saturday morning, with the household to myself, I sat in the bathroom with my Epilady. Braced on the edge o the bathtub, I was surprised to hear that the Epilady made a whrrring sound and wasn’t soundless like it was advertised. But that little surprise was soon overtaken by the horrific shock of the louder clogging sound as it mercilessly grabbed my three hairs per pore, yanking it ruthlessly from below the skin, resulting in a red bumpy pore that was clearly in as much shock and pain as the rest of me. And that was just one pore!!! True, the pamphlet had said it might hurt a bit the first time. And this was the very first time. So I had to diligently fight on, after all, as the Betty Wright song went, ‘no pain, no gain’. As tears flooded my face down one stretch of leg, red little bumps appearing everywhere after the clogging whrrr of the Epilady, it suddenly stopped. Just stopped. It seems the manufacturers of Epilady did not encounter the three hairs per pore phenomena and it was the Epilady’s turn to die of shock. I couldn’t bring myself to tell my dad or anyone else I had killed the Epilady within fifteen minutes, so I hid it at the bottom of my underwear basket year after year, a reminder of my losing battle, of my guilt. Maybe a part of me hoped the Epilady could be resurrected to fulfil its two to three week promise. Fifteen years late, the Epilady finally saw the inside of a dustbin.

SK