Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The F.S.S.

Getting ready for Cancun had one Midwestern gal-minded obstacle in the way:  It is March, and I am going to have to wear a swimsuit.

This doesn't have anything to do with thinking I don't look good in a swimsuit.  The fun part about Cancun is that I don't much care what all these strangers think about me, and hell, I just lost 10 pounds - I'm feelin' more or less okay about that to be honest.  No.  The issue is that going to Cancun required the First Summer Shave to happen months ahead of schedule.

Convention dictates that the ladies shave their legs.  Or if they really dig the pain, they might wax 'em.  Or they might experiment with chemicals that claim to burn the hair right off (I tried so many different types of Nair-like products in high school it's a miracle I didn't permanently burn my lungs from the fumes.  None worked.)  Or they might buck convention altogether and just let 'em grow wild.  I'm contestant number one on that list, and I suspect most of my lady readers are too.  Don't get me wrong, I like the way my gams look when silkay smooth.  I'll fully admit I'm just lazy.  But really, does anyone actually enjoy shaving their legs?
in a word... no.

I certainly don't.  If you're like me (don't lie, I know you do it too), when the season gets cold enough to put you in solid pants-everyday-territory, shaving your legs is the first thing to go straight to the back-burner on your priorities.  Which gives you more time to lather shampoo on your head just enough to make a sud-mohawk, sing along to the radio into the shower-head, bask a little longer in the new cranberry bubble bath you picked up, or just, you know, use up all the hot water while defiantly not shaving your legs.  But even while you kind of sickly enjoy the home-made leg-warmers you're rocking, you know that one day, that will all come to an end.  If you grew up in the midwest, you judge this phenomenon to roughly encompass months September through the following May, annually.

As you might suspect, in Mexico this timeline is skewed just a bit.  I never got to altogether stop shaving this year (is this TMI?  oh well, life of a blogger), but I didn't even see a chance to slow down until late November.  And now we're in March and... well I just haven't had enough of a vacation from it.  I find myself wondering just how much it could possibly hurt to pay someone to rip my leg hair out by the root.

...probably a lot.  I mean, even just when I do my eyebrows... ouchies.

So here I sat, the eve of our trip to Cancun, and I knew I had to have my First Summer Shave of '12.  The first summer shave is always the most epic shave of the year, because you have to re-tame your leg hair to behave in a lady-like manner.  It's time-consuming and painstaking.  And I'm going to make you re-live it right now.

I started running the water, I put a new blade on my "fancy" shaver (it's a knock-off Venus.  Thanks for that Mexico), and I got out a new can of lady's shaving gel with aloe.

Why is there a difference between men's and lady's shave gels?  It's mostly just the smells, right?  Here's a tip shaving gel company: I don't like when my armpits and legs smell different from the rest of my body.  And if I really want to smell like "rain-washed raspberries," I would buy body wash, or lotion, or body spray that smells like that.  So I could put it on my whole self and not smell like some weird smell-by-numbers gone wrong (also for the record, if rain-washed raspberries really smell like that, then rain-washed raspberries smell HORRIBLE).

Don't try to tell me the lady gel is for more sensitive skin.  My calf isn't anywhere near as sensitive as the spot of skin right under a guy's lip.  I want his stuff.  I want the good stuff.  I would also like, however, not to smell like the Old Spice guy.  Look at your man, now look at your legs.  They're not the same thing, but they can smell the same... erm, no thank you (you KNOW you just read that in his voice).

Where to start?  I guess my first impulse would be to scrap the whole project and instead I go back in time to genetically alter myself so that I was one of those fair-haired swedish type of gals, instead of rocking the norse "Broomhilde" type coloring I currently have.  Really, does it even matter if blonde girls shave?  I suppose from a texture standpoint it does, but if they miss a spot, no one will ever, ever know.  I'm stalling, knock it off and get down to business.

We have just a shower stall in this house.  Which means I can't put my foot up on the side of the tub to get a better angle.  We "solved" this by buying a tiny plastic stool.  It is just about the right height for a two year old to sit on it comfortably.  Which is probably good, as I think that is it's intended purpose.  What it's not real great for, is actually getting my foot to a height where my leg is then consequently bent at a good angle to de-hair it.  It is not meant to support the weight of a grown woman.  And it is not meant to be used in a slippery shower, and all of these things combined make me HATE the tiny shower stool.  But it's the best we got.  So balancing as gently as I can, I lather up and start outright.  Lower leg is always first.  Let's be honest, it's because that's totally the easiest part.

I can see the whole of my lower leg simply by turning my head a little bit.  And since I can see what I'm doing, the results are immediate and impressive.  I congratulate myself on remembering to pay a little extra attention to that spot right next to my anklebone.  Usually I forget exactly two hairs there.  But I got those suckers this time.  Smooth calves urge me on to continue.  To my knee.

It is inevitable that every-time I shave my knees I cut myself.  This - I... Ugh.  My only silver lining is making sure the blade on my faux venus is new enough that I don't actually feel the cut.  Since I can't wear my glasses in the shower (I suppose I physically could, but that would be stupid since they'd just fog up), this almost always ends poorly.  I think I'm doing fine, not feeling anything concerning, and by the time the damage is actually visible to me, my knee looks like a small scale (albeit blurry) reenactment of Custer's Last Stand.

This is the point I usually mutter something like "gah-wurrr-ohh-no" and stumble, sliding off that damned tiny stool, either falling completely or catching myself by grabbing the shower curtain and ripping it.  Yay home vandalism in the name of beauty.  I make a mental note that I need to start a world-wide trend for women to have fuzzy cuffs around their knees.  It's all the rage.  You all should try it.

(or just get rid of knees altogether.  Cheers to Forever 21l!)

After picking myself off the shower floor and salvaging what I can of the shower curtain, usually most of the epic war wounds on my knees have stymied, so I move on up the chain.  God help me I hate shaving my thighs.  Is it just me, or does hair on thighs grow in every. conceivable. direction?  I feel like I have to shave three different times going different ways to actually get results.  And who knows if I really am?  I am not from Russian contortionist lineage, so the hell if I can actually twist my head like an owl to see the backs of my legs.  Pfft.  I do what I can, hope for the best, and finally, FINALLY, call the game over.  That's as good as it gets people.

Until I get out of the shower, dry off, and start to apply lotion so I don't look like a crocodile.  Because that's when I'm going to discover the 1 inch patch of hair that I completely missed, and now I'll get to do the mental dace of whether to:
  1. get BACK in the shower, turn on the water, lather up and fix it properly, wasting whatever lotion I just put on
  2. dry shave it and inevitably end up replacing that patch of hairs with a patch of razor burn
  3. try to pretend it's not big enough to make a deal out of, and then spend the entire time I'm in a swimsuit freaking out that everyone else can see it and they're judging me for my inability to carry out such a simple task as shaving my legs
It's a horrible choose your own adventure I'm never quite able to elude.  But regardless of the choice (Ugh, number1 in this case), I'm still actually DONE within five minutes.  Mark one more First Summer Shave off the to do list.  And good riddance.

The important thing to remember about the F.S.S., is that after all that work and care you just put in, you're going to have to keep it up.  Which is really saying something if you manage to take you and your FSS legs to Cancun and burn the ever living crap out of them.  Ever try to shave your legs while they're sunburnt?

If by nothing you mean for a trip to CANCUN.  I'll live I think.

You might as well take a belt sander to those stems, and squirt some lemon on 'em after.  It's going to feel about the same either way.  So I... haven't.  Shaved that is.  Or taken a belt-sander to my legs I guess, if you were concerned.  Which unfortunately means inevitably I'll be repeating the F.S.S. again shortly.  Wish me luck.

I gotta believe I'm not the only lady out there that hates shaving.  
How do you cope?  Any horrific shaving debacles you can share?

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