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The Emotional Roller Coaster of Getting Your Legs Waxed for the First Time

3 min read

As an Indian girl, hair grows out of every part of me: on top of my head and especially on my arms and legs. When I was around thirteen, my mom introduced me to waxing. At first, I was excited to experience something I’d always wanted to feel. I thought it would be painless and exhilarating. The end result? Tiresome but satisfying. I would get up from the small bed and look at my legs in the mirror. They were clean and looked exactly like how I wanted them. “Waxing” captures the rollercoaster of emotions from my first trip to the beauty salon–from unbearable pain of the process to an enthralling satisfaction with the final product.

[Read Related: The Politics of Hair Removal for South Asian Women]


After begging

Amma decides
To take me waxing
At the place she goes to
Styles of India

The entire place
Gives me an awkwardness
I can’t stand
But the end result
Is worth it

We step into the salon
There’s a desk
In the back of the salon
With mirrors
Forming ailes
On either side of the salon
A small couch
Indicates a waiting room
Amma tells the lady
She has a eyebrow threading appointment
And I need a full wax
The clerk runs her eyes up my small body
And calls out to one of her colleagues
To work on me

Two Indian ladies
Escort me to a dingy room
With orange walls
A small full-length mirror
Black futon
Sink and washing station
A cart with aloe, popsicle sticks
Strips, wipes, and lotion
An uneasy feeling curls me
As I slide off my pants
And get on the bed in the middle of the room
Lined with parchment paper
And then a layer of hot wax touches my skin

I want to scream

But I laugh instead
And pinch my fingers
Shut up
Shut up
Shut up
I remind myself
As the ladies
Talk to each other
In Hindi
Obnoxiously laughing
When I open my mouth
And close it quickly
Or when a laugh erupts
From my tiny figure
They make remarks
On how short
And thin I am
I want to kick them
They soothe on a strip
Of paper on the hot wax
And tear it off
So quickly
I want to jerk up
And scream

The troubles of being Indian
Don’t seem to end
For girls like me

I lift my head
In a crunch
And they quickly chirp
“No, no put it down, sleep.”
Like I can sleep in this shit
I laugh
Wanting to get out
As soon as I can

After they’ve put the aloe

I stand up
Put on my shorts
And look at myself in the mirror
My legs are clean
And smooth
For one of the first times
In my life
I look like a teenager
Long t-shirt
Clean legs
Longer hair
And after a long time
I start to feel proud
Of myself

[Read Related: Suraiya Ali, Body Hair, and the Clap Back Heard Around the World]

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