* * * * * DO WHAT YOU LOVE * * * * *
I struggled to get up and out of bed. This back wasn't getting any younger. First things first. I threw on whatever I happened to have been wearing the night before, which could typically be found in a heap on the floor on my side of the bed. Yesterday being an exercise day, I picked up my yoga pants and tank top—bypassing the workout bra—and gave them a good shake before putting them on. A large box fan sat on my side of the room at floor level, set on high and blowing room temperature air directly at my face, my answer to night sweats. It didn't really do anything to help with the sweating. It did, however, cover my “worn the night before” floor-strewn clothing with a fine layer of dog hair of three distinct varieties from three distinct dogs – fine and fluffy, thick and coarse and just plain itchy and wiry. Oh, and there was also that one time I found a spider crawling around inside a tank top after a night on the floor. Yikes! So I shook away!
I stumbled to the Nespresso Coffee Maker, the one true luxury I've allowed myself on a daily basis. At approximately $1.00 per cup and not wanting to spill a single drop, I cautiously carried it out to the front porch to sit with my three rescue dogs and peacefully savor the darkest of the dark darkly roasted bean. My favorite.
It was pretty warm outside, an indication that the Texas hot summer weather, usually arriving shortly after Christmas—or at least it seemed that way to a menopausal 50-something year old woman—was here for the long haul. That could only mean one thing; leg-shaving-season was upon us. It was fairly easy for me to get real comfortable—real fast skipping this grooming step when I mostly wore jeans to work and ankle-length yoga pants to the gym (which inspired me to shave one smoothish strip around each ankle).
After savoring that first cup of rocket fuel, I headed to the shower to begin the 45 minute process that was me showering, dressing, fixing hair and putting on make-up. The “putting on make-up” part was the time-sucker, eating up at least half of the 45 minutes. I don't understand why I purchased the 1000-x magnification mirror. It ruined my self esteem. Viewing my face up close and personal was absolutely horrifying. I was startled on a daily basis by the black coarse hairs in odd areas of my once smooth and hairless face. There was always that one chin hair that magically grew to impressive lengths each night as I slept.
I needed to get rolling, so I turned the water on and waited while it heated up, which took quite some time in this 1970's Brady Bunch house with pipes that emitted small rust particles. (Is rust an essential dietary requirement?) I washed my hair first so I could apply then leave the Aussie Moist 3-minute Miracle Conditioner on my coarse spasmodic hair for the entire time that I spent in the shower. Longer than the recommended three minutes, but that could only help. Am I right or am I right? I soaped, lathered, loofahed in a harsh unforgiving manner, and rinsed my once-toned-but-now-aging-sagging-flesh. I didn't rinse the 3-minute Miracle. I still had the bulk of my grooming left: the shaving of the legs.
I have used various approaches and methods in getting this accomplished. Having eyes challenged by senior presbyopia, I couldn't see the black hair on my legs. Oh, I could feel its smooth silkiness alright. By now, it was months past the coarse itchy stage. (I once tried using my reading glasses in the shower to view the hair, but ended up flinging them into the sink when they instantly fogged, adding more frustration to the entire process.) I squirted a blob of the cheap generic hair conditioner I kept on hand, into my palm. It's been my go-to for shaving since I discovered it by accident when I forgot my shaving gel back in my flight attendant days. Cheap hotel conditioner was just the thing. Flight attendants are some of the most resourceful people you will ever meet.
I smoothed the conditioner over one calf, propping my foot at waist level against the tile wall in the narrow shower enclosure. I was scrunched in a standing fetal-like position—keeping pressure on the propped leg— as I began the process I liked to call Shaving by Braille: one long stroke with the Venus 5-blade razor, followed by my hand feeling for stray hairs. This was the process. One strip at a time. Shave then feel. Shave then feel. It took a while. I rinsed everything then emerged from the shower. My hair, having been conditioned at least five times longer than the recommended three minutes, was soft as a newborn kitten, and my legs? Naked as a baby jay bird.
By Lisa H. Owens
Inspired by getting old.