Archive for April, 2010
I need to purge my soul of a secret that is bound to emerge in a small community like ours. I stand slowly. Deep breath in.
My name is Mary. My daughter is a Tweezer Rat. I should have seen it coming years ago but every parent wants to see only the good in their child. Like her aunt (on the Other Side) she has long recoiled at the sight of hairy armpits on TV. I assumed this was a symptom of living in a largely female household except that it is my home too and I don’t give hairy armpits much thought, one way or the other.
The first indication that this could be a more deeply-seated phobia was clearly brought home to me a year ago. We have a single-parent tradition that involves The Issue reclining comfortably in my immediate vicinity. My role is to find a position conducive to holding a book and reading aloud for hours on end. In this manner we have entertained James Herriott, Roald Dahl, Gerald Durrell, Anne of Green Gables and many others – and the immediate neighbours too. It is a tradition close to my heart, leading me to believe my one and only offspring was absorbing a variety of literary works, expanding her vocabulary and generally becoming a better human being.
It was in this state of false security that I settled down on the lawn one Sunday afternoon, current Billabong tome in hand. The feline accomplice curled up, slitty eyes awaiting my imminent crash. The Issue settled at my feet and the story commenced. Maybe ten minutes later my life changed in an instant. Kaching! With lightning speed one hair on my right shin flew the familial follice with full fanfare. It was so quick I might have imagined it but for the flashing lights and streaming eyes and nose. And so the silver-tipped Tweezer Rat made her appearance.
Last weekend kharma finally rewarded me despite my being bed-bound with bronchitis. One of our male friends of Tweezer Rat’s generation called in and they settled down to chat on a bench immediately outside my window. Long before he left I expected to be put onto an air supply system, Type O. I tried putting my head under the pillow, but as I couldn’t breathe anyway that seemed like overkill. I tried co-ordinating my squeaks and rattles with the dog’s snores but that made both of us sound silly.
I do not know from where she produced the tweezers. Nor do I know how she persuaded an intelligent young man that she could single-handedly and painlessly cure him of his uni-brow. My eyes flew open with the first yelp. As a tweezer-survivor, it took only one more yelp for me to know exactly what was going on. The best part was when a mirror was produced.
“Where have they gone? My eyebrows are bald. Put those things down!” I could have prayed then that he doesn’t have visible nasal hair, but I didn’t. My delight increased with each utterance. He must have had his feet up on something because my downfall was only a hair’s breadth away with “I am going to leave if you start plucking my toes”.
Recently I offered to buy her a treat – she chose a mug of leg wax. Sadly, she is more deeply twisted than I imagined. Having submitted one leg to the procedure in the hope that nothing would be left to sacrifice to the fork-tongued object of evil, I was appalled to discover that only the instrument had changed. The wax was peeled back hair stalk by hair stalk, the reason advocated being that she was trying to get a grip on it. This was simply unbearable ; it was like being attacked by a swarm of tweezers, each intent on out-tweezering the next. My shin is as scarred as the left half of my brain. And the wax did not meet the high standard of all-encompassing smoothness set by the preferred tool and has since been relegated to the shelf. I have gone back to sleeping behind a locked door.