My DIY Disaster Diary

How hard could an at-home bikini wax be?

by tsgoyna tanzman • Guest Writer { View Profile }
Photograph: Photo by iStock.

I stared into the toaster’s reflective gleam and surveyed the damage. What had once been a perfectly arched eyebrow, curvaceous as the Golden Gate Bridge, now resembled the blotchy fur of a dog with the mange. Oh, there were still patches of hair that remained unscathed, hair next to tidy hair in a perfect line like ants on a ribbon of honey, but the glaring spots of fresh white skin were unmistakable. Empty follicles stood bare, ravaged by my own hand, in a brow-wax-gone-bad maneuver. A crusty crumble of beeswax fell onto my eyelashes triggering a cavalcade of memories of all the other stupid things I’d done over the years to save money.
“I’ve got a college education, an advanced degree,” I muttered, as I loaded the guide for pool maintenance for morons into my shopping cart, along with chlorine tablets, alkalinity increasers and decreasers, pool shock, algaecides, and pH balancers. Certain that my investment of $708.62 would buy nearly a year’s worth of pool maintenance—half of what it would cost to have a guy come to my house—I bantered with the checkout clerk, “How hard could it be to manage my pool’s pH?”
Who knew the answer would appear in living color? My daughter’s hair turned from dirty blonde to glowing green and our entire family developed an itchy rash and stinging eyes. I mentally added the cost of the doctors’ visits to my warehouse of chemicals and suddenly the monthly maintenance fees looked like a bargain.
And who could forget the time I thought I could save a tidy sum by trimming my own hair? I’d studied my hairdresser as she snipped away with the finesse of Edward Scissorhands. I’d imprinted her every action. “How hard could it be?” I asked, standing with my shears poised for action. With the bravado of a bullfighter, I commenced sculpting and shaping my tresses, adding some snappy moves of my own. The result was unique: a hybrid of grunge and punk with a hint of insanity.
“What happened?” my hair stylist smirked as she sheared me into my shorter-than-short do (but she was dead serious when she charged me $100.00 for the corrective procedure).
It seems when I’m low on cash and short on time, amnesia has a way of setting in, so it’s not really surprising that I found myself uttering those famous five words, “How hard could it be?” as I stood in my kitchen the night before my friend’s party in Bel Air. 
My eyebrows looked scruffy and my upper lip sported a decidedly unfeminine shadow. Fortunately, my bikini wax was up to date.
Years ago, I attempted bikini waxing and discovered it was a skill I clearly did not possess. Yes, I was agile and flexible, and had a high tolerance for pain, but performing a do-it-myself bikini wax had left me burned and hobbling with underwear that stuck to me for days. But my eyebrows, I rationalized, were accessible and would leave no lasting sticky reminders of my ineptitude.
“Hey,” I said with the enthusiasm of a woman with a serious short-term memory problem, “How hard could it be to wax my eyebrows?”
Applying the wax wasn’t the problem. It wasn’t until I yanked out virtually every other eyebrow hair that it finally dawned on me. Perhaps all the fuss about state licensing, credential programs and board certification had some basis. Maybe their origins came out of a 12-step program for do-it -yourselfers who’d failed to realize that there are people more capable than themselves. 
I glared into the toaster at my mangey-eyebrowed reflection. It was obvious I’d finally hit bottom. With a deep breath, I faced my frailty and affirmed I could still consider myself resourceful, but perhaps I could save money in different ways. The way I looked at it, simply stopping what I was doing would put me hundreds of dollars ahead. Then and there I vowed to follow my own three-step program:
Step 1: Before undertaking any project I’d do the math, making sure to add in the costs of corrective procedures and doctor’s bills.
Step 2: If it looked easy, I’d check if “it” required a license, certificate, or credential. 

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