Thursday, September 1, 2011

Why writing is a lot like a bikini wax

I’m out on the edge, but I’m not defeated yet.
--Don’t Fall, The Chameleons

Disclaimer:  Men may not get this post.  Actually, women may not either.
I have spent a significant amount of my womanhood removing hair.  I started shaving in high school.  I plucked my eyebrows in college.  In medical school I discovered the depilatory.  I still fondly remember the pleasant roses-and-sulfur smell of Nair.
In spite of my Bohemian heritage, I find pleasure in being less hirsute.
It was only natural that I would eventually try waxing.  It has actually become my go-to sadomasochistic beauty ritual, right behind exercise and eating fiber.
It just so happened that my routine bikini wax coincided with me finishing my WIP this week.  This is the WIP that has drained me for six months, taunting me like that one crazy thick hair that occasionally grows on your chin, making you feel like the Wicked Witch of the West.
I relished my success as I stared at a salon ceiling listening to the soothing sounds of a pan flute.  Apparently Zamfir has convinced aestheticians everywhere that mood music will somehow make you forget that hair is being ripped out of your nether regions by the root.  And then I had a epiphany.
Writing is a lot like a bikini wax.  
Why?  Well let me share the four most eventful waxes of my life with you, and perhaps you will agree.
The first time I ever tried to wax was a lot like prom night; it involved a bottle of wine, me half naked, and a package bought from Walgreens for $10.99.  After popping the wax in the microwave for the allotted 30 seconds, I prepared to experience the ultimate in long lasting hair removal. 
My hand only shook a little as I used the little spatula to smear a thick glob of honey colored goo on my most precious areas.  In retrospect, I should have started small, but the cloths were the size of envelopes so I thought that indicated the recommended size of waxage area.  I smoothed them on, feeling my skin tighten to alarming levels as the wax hardened.
Minutes went by.
The wax was now a substance of super glue proportions.
I had one of those moments of clarity you get right before you do something insane
. . .and I chickened out.
Luckily, my fiance chose that very moment to arrive home.  I still remember the look of horror on my betrothed’s face as he watched me run across the living room, cloth strips fluttering wildly from my lady parts while I hysterically begged him to pull them off.  Two hours and a warm sitz bath later, my delicate flower was free of its wax prison, and our relationship stayed vanilla flavored.
And God bless the boy, he still married me.
Reason #1 why writing is like a bikini wax:  When you start, you need some help from the professionals.  Almost no one writes a bestseller out of the box.  Good writing takes preparation.  Practice.  Courage.  Go to writer’s websites--one of my favorites is Query Tracker.  Read writer’s blogs. Take a class or two. Commiserate with other writers further along the journey.  And then you might be ready.  
The second time I tried to wax, I went to a salon armed with knowledge from that bible of feminine mystique, Cosmopolitan.  I arrived early to peruse a disturbing book of coiffure creations, settling on a sensible style called “The American.”  I was led into a room no larger than a coat closet that smelled vaguely of borscht and patchouli by a small Russian woman who looked to be around Methuselah’s age.  She barked at me to sit on the table and strip.  That was it.  No small talk, no hand-holding, just wham-bam take-your-pants-off ma’am.  She smeared the wax on like she was basting me for Thanksgiving, her face morphing into a mask of feral glee eerily resembling Dick Cheney with a shotgun and a memoir.  When the first strip of wax came off, I screamed like a rabbit in a mower whimpered bravely.
Reason #2 why writing is like a bikini wax:  Your first time often ends in embarrassment and will be much more painful than you anticipated.  And yes, you might cry.  My first trial out on the writing trail ended in flames.  There was head hopping.  Chapters dedicated to infodumping.  A plethora of “he lookeds” and “she felts.”  I queried that piece of crap and got enough rejections to keep my kids in scratch paper until they’re in college.  But it was a hell of a learning experience.
I avoided the wax for awhile, falling back into the arms of Master BIC and his cheap shaving thrills.  That is, until my sixth month of my first pregnancy, when I no longer could even see my lady parts.  I was hell bent that I would not give birth resembling a yeti.  I blame hormones and pimento cheese spread for this momentary lapse of reason.  I think the combination short-circuited my neurons.
The waxer was a perky twenty-something with narrow hips and skin that glowed naturally, not from sweat induced by the pimento cheese-craving fire ball in her womb.  She looked down her perfect little upturned nose at my innie-now-outie and obviously was making mental notes to never have children.  I felt bad for a moment, like there was something wrong with what I was doing.  And then I just hoped maybe I’d accidentally pee a little to really horrify her.
Reason #3 why writing is like a bikini wax:  Sometimes people don’t like your stuff.  This whole writing business is subjective.  What floats my boat might make you want to shove a ball point pen in your eye.  But there’s a genre for everyone, and someone will love your innie, your outie, or in the case of the tummy tucked, your nottie.  Never compromise what makes you happy--write what you love first, then worry about the audience. 
After years of practice, I now have met the master of the art of hair removal.  Her name is Chevy, and she’s the best damn bikini waxer in the Midwest.  You’re in and out in less than ten minutes, smooth as silk and ready for the beach.
The first time I went to Chevy, I was at a crossroads, needing something different.  So I decided to go the full tilt Brazilian.  All was going well until she pushed up her sleeves and said, “Can you Sphinx for me?”
I wasn’t really sure what that meant, although the Bangles’ Walk Like an Egyptian started playing on my inner soundtrack.
She said it again, in a way that I--a graduate degree carrying career woman--could understand.
“Get on your hands and knees.  Like the Sphinx.  You know, in Egypt?”
The Bangles suddenly morphed into Judas Priest’s, You Got Another Thing Coming.
If you’ve ever thought there’s anything more vulnerable than being naked with a woman you just met ten minutes prior who has a tongue depressor covered with hot wax coming at your backside, please direct message me.  We need to talk.
Reason #4 why writing is like a bikini wax:  Sometimes you just gotta put your ass out there.  It takes a lot of guts to expose your work to the world, to face the rejections and gracefully accept the accolades.  Keep doing it! 

I admire every single one of you.


  1. I was already laughing at this but when I got to number four, that's it, I was gone :-)

  2. Ahahahaha! Hilarious. I can relate somewhat (being hairier than my husband) although I haven't been dedicated enough to get a bikini wax more than once (honeymoon). Hopefully I'll put more effort into writing.
    P.S. laser hair removal is so much faster now and less painful. I should try some more of that.

  3. I'm not sure whether to laugh at this post or curl up into the fetal position and suck on my thumb. I'll never look at a picture of the Sphinx the same way again.

  4. I figured the title said enough. Writing is like anything that's painful.

    This was hilarious.

  5. ROFL... that last bit killed me. When you said she wanted you to Sphinx, I was like 'oh no, that can't be what I think it is' and then it was. Which just solidifies in my head that I will never get a Brazilian anything. :shudder:

    Great post. And so true. So while I may never get a Brazilian, I'm definitely up to putting my ass out there with my writing. May the tufts fall where they may.

  6. 'Almost no one writes a bestseller out of the box.'

    *Almost* no one? ;)

  7. LMAO. Ok girl, I can so relate and you are much braver than I. My first experience with wax was with the strips from walgreens. I finished one leg in tears...hobbled into the bathroom with a bleeding armpit...and shaved the other leg. Till this day I still use razors. I might have to repeat the process but will not do waxing again...and no way am I paying to get on all fours for anybody. :D You are hilarious, and the writing process is at times like getting waxed.

  8. This is so great, I couldn't stop laughing! I've only ever gone the wax route once. And it wasn't that bad if I recall right, just expensive.

  9. Lol wow. I never thought about it like that, but now that you mention it... ;-)

  10. This had me laughing so hard. Been there, done that. Now I only wax my legs on occasion and use an epilator in between. I had Ideal Image take care of the rest.

  11. OMG! I'll stick to submitting instead of Sphinxing, thankyouverymuch :)

    Happy Weekend!

  12. Sarah--I thought #4 pretty much summed it all up, too.

    Emily--brave girl for the honeymoon wax. I would love to do the laser but heard it doesn't work well for blondes, and if someone's coming at me with the same thing that killed Obi-Wan, it better work the first time.

    Curtis--Just wait until you are 50 and visit your family doctor for that manly check. The scales will be evened.

    Jadi--thanks! I'm glad you liked it.

    B.E.--Ha! "let the tufts fall where they may". Damn straight.

    Suze--you know I can't speak in absolutes!

    Laila--I now have an image of you bleeding burned into my mind that I fear will need much in the way of LOL cats and man candy to clear. Where is Spartacus when I need him. Will be at your blog in a second.

    Angela--Yes, the fact that I pay to someone to cause this kind of pain to me is mind boggling.

    Misha--I'm glad I opened your mind to a whole new way of seeing your WIP.

    Clutz--I gave up on the legs. Too much surface area. I shave those babies.

    Carol--some days, I am able to face the Sphinx with more courage.

  13. Good analogy, but safe to say after reading of your experiences, I will never allow hot wax near any part of my body.

  14. Wow. All I can say is wow. I think it's interesting that as a general rule, most hair removal happens on the lower half of a woman's body. I wonder if that ties into writing as well...

  15. Thanks for the good laugh! SoO glad to be connected! You warm my heart!

  16. If Blogger's commenting system came with audio, you could hear me still laughing over this humorous and all so true post. Thank you, Julie, for starting our Friday with a smile. :)

  17. OMG am I glad I wasn't drinking my coffee when I read this! I'd be buying a new computer with #4. Great analogy, though.

  18. Hilarious! Sphinx - I couldn't stop laughing. They're not creative here in L.A. At least not a Pink Cheeks. They just tell me to get on my hands and knees. I can't wait to share that one. And this is funny because it's TRUE! Writing is like waxing because - sometimes I just enjoy the PAIN!

  19. Julie,
    I laughed all the way through this. Genius!

    I myself, for the first time in my 54 years had my upper lip and chin waxed last week. God knows what it must be like having your lady garden ripped out at the roots. I screamed like an actress in a horror movie! My daughter who was delivering the pain was so shocked by my reaction she could only do the one side. It was a case of I've started so I'll finish and I had to get those puppies myself! WHY?

  20. PS:
    Thanks for stopping by today and your supportive words - it meant a lot!

  21. Funny and great post. What an epiphany! But, it's very fitting.

  22. My family now thinks (knows???) I'm nuts - I couldn't stop laughing :)

  23. That post was awesome! I cannot stop laughing!

  24. Alex--that's probably a safe road to follow, unless you want to go the really bad Madonna/Willem Dafoe movie route

    Rain--Until fur covered chaps make a fashion statement, I suspect the war against lower half hair will continue. No one wants to look like Pan anymore.

    Brynne--awww, that gives me a warm fuzzy. Glad to have you here.

    Michelle--can I tell you I am so glad there is no audio? Much embarrassment to be had there given the colorful language I use during creating stuff on Blogger.

    Raelyn--Yes, I should have put a no drinking or eating during this post warning. Or directions on the Heimlich.

    Aleta--aw, now I'm blushing. Glad you liked it.

    Jennie--There's a little bit of masochist in every writer I think. And Pink Cheeks? That is an awesome name for a salon. LOL.

    YONKS--"Lady garden" is now my new favorite phrase. I actually think facial waxing is way more painful.

    MPax--I've always found that clarity comes after the painful times. Just didn't think it would be so literal.

    Jemi--You're welcome here anytime. We nuts have to mix together. Ha.

    Carrie--I'm glad it made you laugh! My favorite thing to do is entertain.

  25. ...this very post may be the only public forum where I can feel comfortable in admitting that my wife routinely shaves my back hair...because yes, I'm a distant relative to the Sasquatch ;) And yet, during that moment of utter embarrassment, it's quite possibly the only time in my life when I don't feel like writing...just grimacing as my wife giggles from behind me...

    Great post ;)


  26. I thank the Lord that I am not hairy! Ha!

  27. You are so damn hilarious!! You should be either doing Stand Up comeday, or writing for some other comedians!! Want a manager?? I'm good at marketing!!

  28. Julie, you are so hilarious. I was recently considering the bikini waxing option, but now I'm not so sure I could do it. haha! Those are some really great stories and I love that your fiancee showed up at just the right moment. haha! I love it!

  29. Good God - that sounds horrible. I'll never write again.

  30. Elliot--thank you for sharing, I absolutely love the male perspective on this. Hubs has those crazy eyebrows that resemble Liam Gallagher from Oasis meets Conan the Barbarian Redux, and he won't let me touch him. I must know your wife's secret.

    Maggie--it is a curse. The only good thing about living in the midwest is that during the winter I take a little break. Tights are a truly great invention when you resemble a chia pet.

    Becky--sadly, in person I only look amusing.

    Heather--I recommend some form of intoxicant before the first time. And ibuprofen.

    Rusty--your next novel could be about a wayward group of violent criminals who torture their victims via hair removal. Like the 40 year old virgin meets Mad Max.

  31. OH MY WORD, JULIE! You had me laughing out so loud I scared my little boy! Oh my gosh!! That was the funniest metaphor for writing!


  32. What can I say...I want to take you for drinks. I'm so glad we've found each other. I'm not kidding about the drinks. Does this make me a stalker? BTW, three words for you...Laser. Hair. Removal. Your lady parts could be used in the 4km Olympics Luge race. Also, you're a beautiful writer. xo

  33. Cherie--I never meant to scare any children, honest! I am thrilled you liked it. My vanity and stupidity seem to get me into a lot of humorous situations.

    Shannon--Drinks sound divine. And it's not stalking if I buy the first round. The mental image of a luge running through my loins is at once disturbing and strangely erotic. Although isn't that a sport about speed?

  34. OMG! This is hilarious!
    I've only had a few bikini waxes. I just can't stand the pain! You are one brave and obviously well manicured woman!

  35. And congrats on finishing your wip!

  36. I've had only one b.w., self-inflicted at 17 years of age. Always been a DYI kind of gal! Thanks for commenting at my blog and, OMG, another bohemian whose relatives pack heat! Thought surely I was the only one!

  37. OMG, you're hysterical. How did I miss this post?


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