So I’ve been persuaded, recently, into the world of waxing. Various friends say that, if you’ve been doing it for 20 years, your hair more or less gives up the ghost and doesn’t bother to grow back. Of course, I haven’t been doing it for 20 years, but for some reason I decided to start a few months ago. This will make me deliciously hair-free when I am in my sixties, when precisely no-one will care, probably not even me. It’s one of those occasions when I can see perfectly well I am behaving illogically, but I press on anyway.
I therefore found myself missing half of the X Factor last night heating up a pot of nasty, smelly green wax on the stove. It was from a kit I bought in France, largely because the first instruction, printed in big letters, was ‘Do not wash beforehand.’ This tickled me because it reminded me of the letters Napoleon used to write Josephine, when he was off conquering Europe. They wrote to each other frequently and, every now and then, the yearning would get the better of them and she would pay a conjugal visit to the battlefield. ‘Darleeeng,’ he would write. ‘I am longing to see you in ten days’ time. Do not wash.’
Obviously, though so taken with this in the shop, I had forgotten all about it when it came to using the kit. But, as I had had a shower in the morning and not washed my legs since, I reckoned that, though I was by no means doing a Josephine, it was probably fine.
The next instruction was, ‘heat the wax until it resembles honey’. Erm, excuse me. What type of honey? Acacia in a squeezy bottle? Ordinary honey in a jar that you scrape out with a spoon? Honey from a honeycomb? And, in any case, the wax was murky green and was therefore never going to resemble honey, apart, maybe, from the type of honey someone buys you as a holiday souvenir which you throw away the moment they leave. Another consideration was that the wax was really stinky. When my lovely friend S does my legs, she uses gorgeous silky stuff that smells of lavender. This, by contrast, was positively noxious.
I heated the wax until the smell of old nettles became unbearable. The next surprise was that there were no wax strips. Instead, I was supposed to ‘put on a thick layer of wax, thicker at the edge to pull off easily.’ Hmmm. I was getting quite a bad feeling about this. I had imagined doing it in front of the X Factor, but the box warned me not to let the wax go cold and I wasn’t sure I wanted the rest of the house to smell this bad anyway. There was nothing for it but to put the show on right here, in the kitchen. I took off my jeans and hefted a leg onto the kitchen table.
Then I remembered. I had used wax strips the day before. Doh!
Seriously, I had completely forgotten. But I had now missed most of the X Factor and had a vat of stinky wax at a point vaguely resembling honey, so I decided to go ahead anyway. The good news is that it didn’t hurt! Maybe because there was no actual hair to pull off. The bad news was that, as the box warned, the wax was very difficult to get off when it hardened. What it neglected to mention was that the difference between the approved honey state and the tricksy hard state was a matter of microseconds.
Oh well, at least pouring hot wax on my poor old pores is bound to weaken something down there. Those hair roots ought to be shrivelling as we speak. Well, I hope so. And I’ve got most of the wax off now. I bet Josephine never had all this trouble.