Warning: a blog such as this will make you ask yourself – “is there anything Rachel won’t blog about?” The short answer is no, not if there is a funny story to tell.
Happy Hallowiener everyone! Happy November! Happy almost Christmas! Days like these make me miss the States…like I am really jonesing for some candy corn right about now. Brazil doesn’t celebrate Halloween, but we managed our annual costume party/scavenger hunt/”Young Frankenstein” viewing. Roomie and I, decked out in costumes from my ever-growing collection, are dressed as a banana and a hot dog, if you can’t tell. That banana is from 2005, when after years of subscribing to the “sexy ___________” of UCSB culture, I said “I shall do my part to smash the patriarchy and be a banana.” Hence it is a little worn, and covered in the ghosts of Halloweens past, but very loved.
School had it’s annual “I <3 to Read” storybook character day assembly on Friday, and I came as a penguin. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to feeling like a character at Disneyland – all the little kids came up to touch me and wanted hugs and people wanted pictures.
Since I teach Yearbook, I took a bunch of pictures of the event, and we are starting to use the design software specifically for yearbooks to start to create ours. It’s made in the States, so some of the measurements and things are different, i.e. it uses something called “picas” to measure spaces (all my Brazilian friends are now laughing). So I was teaching the students how to set up a page and make the lines and measure in picas, you don’t want too many picas, just the right amount, too many is distracting to the eye, etc. The whole class is just dying of laughter. Finally I ask “okay what?”
Turns out “pica” is slang for “penis” in Portuguese. I was telling the longest unintentional “that’s what she said” joke to a bunch of high schoolers. Hashtag will never live it down.
So the too much information part begins now – exit if you must, and don’t blame me if you don’t. There will be no relevant pictures here, because of reasons.
Being in Brazil for my third year, I felt it was finally time to get a Brazilian wax. Yeah. I was ready. It was getting warmer, we were thinking of beach, and I decided to be brave.
I walked myself to a recommended shop, ready to be brave. But also expecting another person or two in the reception to give me some waiting time, but this was not to be. I was asked up to the counter, and despite my Portuguese training, discovered I did not know the anatomical parts I needed in order to order what I wanted. Asking for a Brazilian wax in Brazil is like asking for Chinese food in China. So I resorted to hand gestures, and the admin had to stand up from her desk to witness me waving my hand over my nether regions front and back repeatedly saying “tudo, tudo aqui” (all of it, all of it here).
She nodded sagely, “tá, tá” and then motioned for me to sit down. A few moments later, a woman completely SARS-ed out collected me and the protected gloves I was given from the waiting room and I was placed inside a smaller waiting room, asked me to remove my clothes, and lay down with my heels touching on a papered bed with a fan directed at where my nether regions would be. I attempted to make friends, with the mindset that this woman would be pouring boiling hot wax onto part of my body designed for pleasure and procreation, and I would prefer them to not become blemished or impaired.
I asked if they perhaps had some music, or a glass of wine in a sippy cup? No such thing.
Flavia waved my concerns away, surveyed the affected areas (and why is it that I always feel compelled to ask if I look normal down there? Or explain why I haven’t shaved my legs in forever? Or offer an excuse for why I’m doing this? It is so dang hard to be a woman sometimes. I’m over apologizing for nothing. It ends now.) and she poured on. I began making sounds akin to a baby goat asking to be fed. As in bleating. This was combined with nervous giggling, which is the best alternative I can offer to panicked screaming in such a situation. And when I make these sounds due to nerves, my entire body shakes. I jiggle like a bowl full of jelly. Probably not the best way to approach the moment, where someone who doesn’t understand a single word you say (probably the best) is coming towards you with a popsicle stick covered in boiling hot wax.
As the place has open ceilings, and everyone in the stalls next to me could hear, Flavia started shushing me from behind her mask, while also instructing me to move into very vulnerable positions and then use my own hands to ah ….. expose certain regions in order to get proper removal.
Many nervous giggles, many “you want me to do what?!” exclamations later, many uncomfortable positions and feelings and insecurities revealed later, she handed me a mirror and asked how I liked it. And I saw parts of myself I don’t think I have ever seen, so I wasn’t even sure if I did like it, with nothing to compare it to. But I assured her it was wonderful and I would be back in three weeks. I received a nice cooling gel rub down like I was an infant on a changing table, told to never use a razor again, and then dismissed.
Overall, I might liken it to a roller coaster. You wait in line, you change your mind a million times, you make your friend get on first, and then you bargain with God the entire ride. But once you’re done and walking off, you feel a certain kind of high, a kind of “that wasn’t so bad, I’ll be back.”
In other news, go Hillz, all the way from Brazil, in all white, in a pantsuit, with an emergency abroad vote, since the mailing system failed me here. But I refuse to sit out on voting our nation’s first female president into power. Who else won’t be able to sleep Tuesday night? It will be Christmas come early.
If you haven’t heard it and you need to today, I would hold your hand during a bikini wax. It hurts less than a presidential election. I promise.