Wax Off


Last week a salon staff member stood outside her new facility and handed me a card for a free wax, completely unaware that this promotion would send me into a spiral of self examination.

I had to ask myself the crucial question. What do I value more: a deal, or a pain-free existence?

Deals, glorious deals. They are the kerosene that inflames my sparks of satisfaction into a mystifying inferno. A solid Groupon purchase puts a bounce in my step. When we earn enough movie theater points for a free popcorn, I waive that ticket around like it has the winning lotto numbers. As we enjoy our favorite lunch special, I meditate on how the exact same amount of food costs twice the price at dinner, and my eyes turn into those of a cartoon character hit over the head, spinning like slot machine windows until finally landing on dollar signs.

And so I happily accepted the free wax card. In fact, it made my day. A wax? For free? Hot dog!

Here’s my dilemma– I had no interest in being waxed.

There were three options listed on the card. Eyebrow, armpit, and (gulp) bikini. Eyebrow waxes are standard fare, and I would have opted for that except mine don’t qualify. When I was thirteen, my mother took pity on the awkward adolescence festering before her. There wasn’t much she could do about my slow metabolism or extensive orthodontic work, but the triangles that capped my eyebrows? Those clown brows? Well, there was electrolysis for that. I hope the technology for permanent hair removal has improved in the last fifteen years but, at the time, it entailed inserting a needle into each follicle individually and, I think– I think –-electrocuting little pieces of me into submission. Suffice it to say, I didn’t complete the procedure, and I’m fairly certain the whole operation was a long con of my mother’s to teach me to just appreciate the body nature gave me. In the end, most of the hairs in my unwanted triangles were zapped to oblivion, and the rest took one look at what happened to their neighbors and jumped.

If there is a routine that sounds more barbaric to me than electrolysis, it’s waxing. If only because that equally savage method of hair obliteration is only temporary.

But the salon’s website listed armpit and bikini waxes as worth $18 and $25 respectively. Not taking advantage of either FREE service would essentially be turning down twenty bucks.

I contemplated my situation for several days (there wasn’t much going on that weekend). To wax or not to wax? Was I really so financially comfortable that I could turn my nose up at that value? On the other hand, was I really so financially uncomfortable that I could endure the violent ripping of hair from skin, just because it carried value?

The matter was ultimately settled by the following hypothetical:

If a stranger on the street offered to give me twenty dollars if he or she could punch me in the face, am I so cheap that I would present my cheek for twenty measly dollars?

No, I finally concluded. Not for twenty dollars. For forty maybe, but not for twenty.


Portrait of a Lukewarm Apology to Long Island

It’s true that, in the past, I’ve said some unflattering things about Long Island. Things like:

“It’s a 118 mile long shopping plaza.”

“It’s a 118 mile long parking lot.”

“I don’t understand how there are enough people in America, never mind in Long Island alone, to keep this many nail salons and tattoo parlors in business.”

“It’s a 118 mile long commercial for men’s hair gel.”

“There are only two things that I like about it, and that’s because I’m generous enough to make ‘pizza’ and ‘Italian food’ two separate categories.”

(The last one isn’t quite true. There are actually four things that I like about Long Island, but the comedic timing works better with the symmetry of two.)

Today, I (gulp) want to give Long Island some credit.

It is possible to find natural beauty on Long Island, if you know where to look. Take the following photos:

Now you might be thinking, “Okay, but these photos were taken on the North Fork. That’s practically a different planet from the rest of Long Island.”

I’d have to agree with you there.

But consider these photos taken not a mile from my apartment:

Yup. Beauty. On Long Island. It’s true.

So I hope you’ll forgive me for my sometimes negative portrayal of the area. It isn’t all bad.

But it isn’t all great, either.

For instance, this is what I’d always thought a sunrise looked like:

And this is what Long Island calls Sunrise Highway:

But at the end of the day, at least I don’t live in New Jersey.

(kidding, kidding)