Wait a Plucking Minute!

One thing that has frustrated me most about the journey to Finding Fifty is the battle with my hair – on my head, poking out of my nose… well, you get where I’m going with this.

Seems like every morning, a new one appears that’s managed to remain undiscovered long enough for it to grow almost an inch. The other morning, while trying desperately to scratch the dry skin between my shoulder blades, I felt it.

A stiff, inch-long hair. Like something you’d see on a werewolf. I stood with my back to the sink mirror, holding a smaller one in my hands, looking over my shoulder. I knew the damn thing was there – it was poking me every time I’d rub my hand across it.  Finally, with just the right light at the right angle, there it was. Yep, a black, curly, stiff BACK HAIR. Frantic, I fumbled through my makeup bag to find the tweezers. It took me about five minutes to finally reach the awful thing and another two to be able to maneuver the tweezers while looking through the mirror. Finally, I grabbed hold and yanked. It was out. Thank the GODDESS it was still cold here, and I had been wearing turtlenecks before this hideous discovery.

I’m a blonde, fair-skinned gal, and since I can remember, there’s never been a shortage of hair. When I was born, they say I looked like Clarabell the Clown. (For those of you who have no idea who this is, check out the Howdy Doody show on Google.) In elementary school, this mean kid used to grab my arm, bend it, and rub it in circles really fast so that my blonde arm hairs would knot up, making it hurt like hell when I tried to straighten it.

As an adult, it still hurts my feelings a bit when, during the brow wax, the lady asks if I want my lip waxed, too. I guess from that angle, it looks like I need it. She always emits this little “hrmph” of displeasure when I tell her that I will pass for now.

It’s a difficult thing, this hair. I recently performed in a local production of The Vagina Monologues, and guess what my monologue was about? Yep. The hair… down there. To shave or not to shave? That was the question. (By the way, that production was a blast, and I plan on doing it again next year.)

Which reminds me of the summers back at my Granny’s house in the early 1970s. Before heading to the town pool, there was always this ritual that she and my Momma and aunts had. It involved tweezers, these little tiny scissors, and the Lady Sunbeam electric razor. Any of you remember those?

That thing scared the hell out of me – it was loud, and it made these awful sanding/grabbing/ripping noises as they drug it across their legs and around their bikini lines. Finally, one day, my seven-year-old curiosity got the best of me, and I had to experience it for myself. Locking myself in the bathroom, I quietly lifted the flowered skirt underneath the vanity and felt around for it, plugged it in, and held my breath as I flipped the “on” switch. Just one quick swipe across my knobby, blonde, hair-covered knees was enough. I held back the tears of pain and shock as I quickly wrapped the cord and shoved it back behind the curtain. What was all the fuss about every Saturday? Was it REALLY worth all that pain?

If I had asked myself that question as a twenty, thirty, or even forty-year-old, I’d scream from the top of my lungs, “YES! Oh, GOD, YES!” One never knew who one might run into that day or where one might end up later that evening. (Know what I mean?)

But now that I’m getting older, I don’t worry as much if there’s still a row of long, darkish, wire-like hairs running right down the middle of my left shin because I was not quite awake and didn’t feel like wearing my glasses in the shower this morning at 5:45am. And I love wintertime – shaving hiatus (although if you asked my husband how he felt about it, you’d probably not get the same level of enthusiasm)!

I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that aging seems to have turned the pores of my skin into a lush, fertile garden where hairs seem to sprout up almost as fast as I can harvest them. Yeah, that’s a great analogy – my body is a fertile garden. Well, not really. The hysterectomy back in 2005 pretty much took care of that. But it still sounds good.

PluckSo, each morning, I’m practicing a new ritual – tending my garden. Seeking out those hairs that are “ripe for the plucking”.

Every now and then, I leave a few stragglers behind – like the curly gray eyebrow I noticed this morning, nestled in between what remains of my dark blonde ones. Despite the fact it wouldn’t sit down and looked like one of those curb feelers on a tire, I let it remain for the journey, as I fill in the bare areas with eyebrow pencil.

It can stay until it gets so long, it blocks my view or starts swinging back and forth like a windshield wiper.


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