Many, many thanks to my partner, Emily, who often shakes her head at me but loves me unconditionally, and to my long-suffering beta reader, Frankie, who at least loves my writing unconditionally - two women I could definitely not do without in my life. Thanks again for asking, Steph. Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! - TS
Just the thought of it makes me shudder.
Yesterday was Valentine's Day.
I can hardly sit up straight today.
There are some things I should never, ever do. Period. End of sentence.
It really doesn't matter how many times I try to do them. The simple fact is that I will never, ever be good at those things. I fail miserably. Not just miserably. Totally, to the extent that I sometimes injure myself.
It's got to be some sick, twisted joke of fate that my mind keeps coming up with ideas that I really shouldn't implement. Why have an idea if I can't do it?
I went to the store yesterday by myself. That, in and of itself, is not a particularly bad thing. I am capable of going to the story by myself.
I was in the toiletries aisle. I was pretty aggravated. I had shaved my legs that morning. All the way up. It was Valentine's Day, after all. Now that's not a bad thing and I can usually do that without injuring myself too badly. Just a few nicks, a little blood and I'm done. And with these new razors we bought, I really hardly ever even nick myself anymore, so blood's not even an issue. Not that blood bothers me, because it doesn't.
For some reason, I got it in my head that I needed to play hairdresser and went a little farther up and in, if you know what I mean.
The results were not pretty. I definitely did the world a huge favor by not becoming a hairdresser. I looked like I had contracted mange from a stray dog. That's what had me aggravated.
I don't know why it seemed like such a good idea at the time. We had a special evening planned and I assumed that it would involve sex and I wanted to…hell, I don't know what I wanted to do or what the hell I was thinking of. I really don't understand what happens to my thought processes at times like this. I mean, I can't even begin to draw a heart on a piece of paper. What would make me think that I could carve one on my own body out of pubic hair using a safety razor while I'm looking at it upside down?
I don't think using a mirror would have helped.
So I figured that I'd go to the store, find some of that stuff that removes hair, use it to tidy things up a bit and I'd be okay. Maybe it will still turn out to look like a heart. Maybe it won't. But at least I won't look like I had mange. She tells me sometimes that I have these little streaks of eternal optimism. I think this was one of those streaks.
I stood in the kitchen, all dressed and ready to head to the store to get a bottle of hair remover, trying to figure out how I could dissuade her from going with me if she asked to go. I mean, how was I going to explain purchasing it? "Yeah, I'm fine."
She looked at me intently. "It's just that you usually don't curse when you're taking a shower."
"Um…well, yeah, I mean, no I usually don't but then I…there must have been something wrong with the razor blade. I nicked myself a couple of times. It didn't seem that sharp." On the contrary, it had cut through that pubic hair like it was butter. "Surprised me, that's all."
"Huh. I thought those new blades were a lot better. Maybe we should…."
I jumped in. "Oh, they are, they are. It's just…maybe it's old. I don't…." I felt like a total idiot. I'm lying to her about razor blades because I decided to shave my pubic hair into a heart for her on Valentine's Day and I screwed it up.
No wonder I felt like an idiot.
"It was probably me going too fast. You know how I am. I don't plan on it happening again." And that was the truth. I did not plan to have anymore creative hairdressing forays. "Whatever, it doesn't matter. Listen, I'm going to the store. Do you need anything?"
She looked around the kitchen. "No, I don't think so. I think we've got everything for tonight."
"Okay, well, I won't be too long. If you can think of something, call me on the cell." I gave her a quick kiss and hit the door before she had a chance to ask me any more questions.
That's how I found myself in the toiletries aisle where I spotted this pink bottle.
Pink. That should have been my first clue.
In big letters on the front it said, "Removes hair neatly."
I thought, great, just what I need. I can even up these little gouges and everything will be fine. With luck, it'll look like a heart, and if not, it will just look, well, smaller, I guess. I'll tell her about the mange look and my little trip to the store tomorrow. We'll both laugh. But tonight is our special Valentine's dinner and I've got a little treat for her. She is going to be so surprised. I couldn't help but smile when I checked out. I think the people in line behind me and the cashier thought I was nuts. Nothing new there.
I was back home in a flash, ready to try out my purchase. She was in the study, writing. Perfect, I thought.
I went into the bathroom, took my pants and underwear off and read the directions.
What these assholes fail to tell you in the directions is that this thick pink lotion, which they instruct you to put on in a thick coat, thins out and spreads because of your body heat during the five minutes that I patiently waited for it to work.
And that warning they put on there about avoiding sensitive places? They aren't lying.
I grabbed a hand mirror, and carefully put a thick coat of the pink stuff on. I thought I had done a reasonably good job and there was a fifty-fifty chance it might look like a heart. I checked my watch and started timing it.
At about three minutes twenty-two seconds, I felt something start to burn. I couldn't figure out what it was. It burned farther down than where I had put the pink stuff, so my mind didn't immediately equate the two.
At about four minutes eight seconds, it really started to burn. My first thought was to splash some cold water on myself. But then, if I did that, I might accidentally take off some of the thick pink stuff. Then that would mess up my heart shape.
So I waited. The pain wasn't that bad. Yet.
At about four minutes forty-five seconds, I knew something was wrong. The pain became so unbearable that I jumped in a cold shower with my shirt and bra still on.
That pink stuff really works. By the time I washed it all off, all that was left was a tiny wisp of hair at the top. I no longer looked like I had the mange. I looked like one of those Mexican Hairless dogs.
I had an almost uncontrollable desire to run to the refrigerator and sit in the ice tray. Except I couldn't run. I could hardly walk. At least normally. I was walking with my legs spread wide apart because it hurt.
Waddling, really. I finally made it downstairs and I grabbed a cube of ice out of the fridge and just put it down there on the skin. It felt so much better. I audibly sighed with relief and my eyes closed as I leaned back against the fridge. "What are you doing?"
My eyes popped open but my hand with the ice stayed right where it was. I hadn't even heard her come into the room. "Um…." How do I even begin to tell her what happened? "I…."
"Why is your shirt wet?"
I hadn't even stopped to take off my shirt and bra. I looked down and realized I was dripping all over the floor.
"Is this some kind of new sex thing you've heard about?" She looked at me skeptically.
The guys I work with sometimes brag about their sexual escapades. I've told her a few stories and we've even tried a couple of things out. None of them worked very well, so I could understand her skepticism. Still, even if it wasn't a sex thing, I was kind of miffed. She didn't look turned on in the least. I did have my hand in my own crotch. That should count for something.
"Uh, no. I think…well, I might have hurt myself."
She looked a little alarmed now. "Hurt yourself, how?"
I felt myself starting to turn red. I hate pink. I should have known that anything that's pink or in a pink bottle would not be good. Why did I even have this idea in the first place?
"How did you hurt yourself?" She had moved across the room. With her left hand, she moved the bottom of my shirt over. "All your hair's gone!"
"Well, there's a little hair left…." I looked down. Two hairs. "Yeah, pretty much bald."
"I…I…wanted to surprise you."
She shook her head while still staring at my crotch. "You certainly have."
"I think I have a chemical burn to my…you know." I looked down and pointed with my other hand.
"A chemical burn?"
"That pink stuff. They lied." I had to reach in to the fridge for another piece of ice. I will find out who invented that stuff and I will hunt them down.
"Go lie down on the couch. Let me take a look at it. Oh, honey…."
"They lied…on the bottle," I complained as I waddled into the living room towards the couch. "It never said anything about something like this happening."
"Nair? Why in the world would you put Nair on your pussy?"
It's hard to act indignant when you're waddling. "I did not put it directly on my pussy. I can read. They said to avoid sensitive areas and I did. It melted and dripped. No one said anything about it melting and dripping into sensitive areas. This can't be the first time something like this has happened to someone."
I was now on my back with my legs spread as she surveyed the damage. The cool air felt really good.
"Oh, honey." I could tell from the sound of her voice that it wasn't good. "You just lie there. I'm going to get some ice in an icepack for you. It's really raw looking."
Great. Just great. Raw looking. That was not what I was going for. I closed my eyes and tried to relax. I could hear her moving around in the kitchen. It didn't take her very long to return.
"Here, let me."
I moved my hand out of the way and then I almost shot up off the couch as she put the icepack on me. "Jesus Christ that's cold!" There was no doubt in my mind that this was definitely one of those sensitive areas the warnings on the pink bottle referred to. I relaxed somewhat after the initial shock. "Thanks."
She sat on the couch looking at me.
She chuckled a bit. "I'm not laughing at you. I…you just amaze me sometimes. How did this…." Her hand waved around a bit. "Happen?"
"I had an idea."
She waited for me to continue, but her eyebrows rose a little as if to say, you know what happens when you get ideas.
I continued. "Not a very good one, it seems."
"I take it this wasn't the result you were looking for."
"No. It was supposed to be a heart."
"What was supposed to be a heart?"
"My hair. My pubic hair. The shape…I thought…well, I thought that since today was Valentine's day and all, that I would shave and then I thought that I would shave higher and then I thought that I could make it look like a heart. But then, I guess I didn't plan it too well, because I started shaving and I was looking at it upside down and I didn't have a mirror and so it ended up not really looking like a heart."
I couldn't bring myself to tell her that I looked like I had mange. I had suffered enough indignity for the day.
"And so I thought I could fix it by using some kind of hair remover. You know, just touch it up."
She was looking at me, her head cocked a little to the right. Her brows were still raised slightly. I think she wanted to laugh, but I wasn't sure.
"Touch it up," she repeated.
"Yeah, touch it up. Make it look like a heart."
"It didn't work."
"No, it didn't."
"Do you think I hurt it bad?"
She moved the ice pack and checked again. "Well, I don't think so. The skin's really irritated, but there don't seem to be any blisters forming."
"Blisters?!" That was alarming. There were no warnings on the bottle about blisters. "So there's none of those, right? No blisters?"
"No blisters. How is it feeling?"
"Hot and kind of…just tingly." I quickly added, "And not in a good way."
"I wouldn't think so."
"But definitely better than before."
"I can only imagine."
I doubted that she could.
She got up. "I'm going to get you a dry shirt and some sweatpants. Take off that wet stuff before you catch a cold."
"I wanted to do it for you for Valentine's Day," I called out to her as she left the room. "The heart…Valentine's heart…I'm yours."
"There is no doubt in my mind about that, angel." I think I heard her laugh as she climbed the stairs. "No doubt at all."