I am a hairy person. Think of the hairiest person you know, then think hairier. Think “Harry and the Hendersons” hairy. Anytime I am within a tongue depressor’s distance of an aesthetician, they find something new to wax. (This is how I learned the hard way that upper-lip waxing is not something you should agree to do lightly.) I’m super laid-back in the vanity department, so I am pretty used to waxers offering — nay, begging — to rip hot wax off my eyebrows, my upper lip, my arms, my legs and my lady parts. What I am not used to, however, is the suggestion that I fly to Colombia to get liposuction.
Randomly, like, three months ago, a bunch of blue, cat scratch-shaped stripes appeared on my inner thigh. Naturally, I first assumed it was tiny worms eking their way through my bloodstream and trying to break through via my skin. Then I realized they were probably vericose veins or at the very least, something else blood-related. Whatever they were, at least they were concealed on my inner thigh and not splayed across my mug.
Then I went for a bikini waxing as a surprise for my boyfriend. Technically, I think it was called a “betweenie”-waxing because she sculpted the hair on my ladybits into the shape of a landing strip, like a topiary. But that is neither here nor there. My point is, I was lying there on my back, legs cocked to either side, thighs up. I felt very exposed and compelled to say something to the woman attending to my crotch. Anything. “I have varicose veins,” I lamented, poking my weird blue stripes.
“That’s not varicose veins,” she replied. “It’s fat.”
“Really?” I said. “I thought fat was supposed to look like cottage cheese.”
She shook her head. “You can get that taken out with liposuction. It’s easy.”
“Oh no,” I said, chuckling. “I wouldn’t get liposuction.” I considered telling her I’m pretty much completely against cosmetic surgery, then decided against it. I’m tired of blathering about my personal choices to the women I pay to prettify my pudenda. “I’m a writer. Lipo is out of my price range,” I told her. (Which is also true.)
“Oh, you can go to Colombia! It’s inexpensive! I have a friend who did it for $7,000.”
Seven thousand dollars is inexpensive? Also, flying to another country for “cheaper” plastic surgery? That sounds like the plot line of a “Real Housewives” episode. Like, something one of the dumber Housewives would do. But I kept my mouth shut. “No, no, no,” I demurred. “That’s definitely out of my price range for beauty treatments! Bliss Spa is my idea of a treat.” She dropped the liposuction talk after that, and I, of course, texted all my friends as soon as I limped off the waxing table. Everyone agreed that while I need to cut back on the Frappucinos, getting liposuction on my inner thigh is rather extreme.
I know that aestheticians are trained to up-sell you. I’d paid for all kinds of extra treatments — a lactic peel with a facial, for example — that I didn’t walk in the door looking to purchase. Pretty much every time I’ve gotten the fuzz on my upper lip waxed, it is because an enterprising waxer shamed me into doing so. (“I could do this right here, too,” they usually say, making an upside down U-shape underneath my nose. Oh my God I have a mustache, I cringe.) I also know they probably think they’re being helpful. Still, I can’t help but think it’s rude the way that most of them suggest these extra services that I supposedly need. If I’m not seeking help for the “problem” myself, it’s because it’s not a problem for me!
I don’t know about places outside of New York City, but here we have employees for hair salons that will approach you on the street, ask about your hair, and try to wrangle you into making an appointment. It used to happen to me a million times when I was at NYU because there are tons of students there who, presumably, fall for their hard sell. After the 20th time of being jolted out of my daydream by a stranger saying, “Hey, can I ask you about your hair?” I started responding to them, “I like the way my hair looks, thanks.”
For the rest of my life, I will probably get suggestions on body parts to wax and — I can’t believe I’m saying this — places to suck fat out of, considering our culture is going through a moment right now where hairlessness is stylish and “imperfections” are out. In fact, I expect it to worsen with age and when wrinkles and crow’s feet settle into my face. Alas, Botox and Juvaderm are not for me. It’s time to think of some snappy comebacks.