I never could have imagined this as my "me time"---paying somebody to rip hair out of my face with hot wax.
And yet, there I was. As I rested on the maroon towel, I closed my eyes, my hands in tight, white-capped fists.
"They look like caterpillars," I told Yvonne, as she rubbed a concoction across my brows, "Do your worst."
"They not so bad," she replied, and paused. "You want me do mustache too?"
I couldn't speak for a moment. Like many of my small, over-analyzed imperfections, I had always assumed that my hairiness was a perception in my mind, a product of this Barbie-doll culture.
I guess I was mistaken. I guess my husband and supposed friends had let me walk around looking like Yosemite Sam for months, nay years.
I croaked, "I'm afraid it's going to hurt." In the past, I've done my own furtive plucking, attacking rogue hairs armed only with tweezers and good light. I've made myself sneeze, cry, and consider a career as a bearded lady.
Yvonne, a woman who has escaped a communist country, learned a new language, and built her own business catering to the grooming needs of privileged housewives, simply patted my shoulder and said, "No worry. I good. I do it quick."
I nodded my head quickly in assent. I closed my eyes again and gritted my teeth. She applied the wax, and I looked for solace in the dulcet tones of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal.
Yvonne loves Michael Jackson.
She pressed and ripped, as MJ yelped, "Aaow!"
Annie are you OK, are you OK, are you OK Annie?
I didn't have the energy to worry about Annie, with every ounce of blood flooding to my pulsing, swelling face. I blinked back the tears, and wondered where waxing fell under the Geneva Convention bylaws.
"Do you like?" Yvonne asked, holding up a mirror.
I assessed myself. My eyebrows now arched like two dancers in arabesque. I looked less sweatshirt and yoga pants, more knee-high boots and statement necklace.
As for my lip line? It was a clean, hairless marvel. I trusted Yvonne, and because of that, I walked out of that salon a little taller, and one step closer to my eventual (hairless) world domination.
In other words, in a waxing room in Southern Maryland, my world shifted.