In today’s world, appearing in the order of increasing amount of pain, there are surgeries, murders and terrorist attacks – and then there are salon and beauty parlor visits.  It may sound like an exaggeration but only the unluckily lucky females in the perpetual pursuit to look more comely would understand the atrocities of this beautification machine, month after month, year after year. Ever thought why your favourite actor looks so breathtaking in that sheer shirt, his perfectly chiseled chest shining with glory in his halo? The answer is right here. Waxing. Epilation. Threading.  In times where cocktails of immunosuppressive drugs and various anesthetics make the most complicated surgeries a cakewalk for the patient, the weapons of beauty parlors continue to impart unbearable agony to their bearers. Ranging from the deceptively harmless razor-sharp threads to the more fearsome hot-wax hair removal techniques, parlors have helped women over generations to look as clean and polished from the outside as hurt and tortured they seem inside, in the process. Thus in this article I’d like to elucidate the various feelings that we women go through every month during these testing minutes of our otherwise luxurious lives.

Let’s start with waxing. Be it the standard wax, or the more recent chocolate and golden waxes, all are equally dreadful for those follicles in your skin. The experience is like that of travelling to hell and back. Twice.  When the molten, hot wax touches your skin for the first time, it’s almost like nothing happened at all – for a few milliseconds. Then, it feels like some volcano just exploded, right onto your skin, spitting its angry, bubbling lava onto the surface (the only difference being, in this case, the volcano-like eruptions appear after the lava).   As you take a breath of relief that the worst is over and enjoy the seconds of the massage that the hands of the beautician adeptly weave on the waxing strip over that skin, the strip is torn away from the skin mercilessly, the poor hair on it, plucked out right from the root.

The good part is, the worst is now over, leaving a few red spots and boils on the skin, like medals for the valiance shown by you. You bask in the joy of victory, ignoring the tingling underlying pain, knowing that you don’t need to worry about the hair growing back for as good as a month. A few sprays of cool water and soothing, blue astringent and you’re done with Level One.

Now for Level Two, you have to get your eyebrows and upper lip done using some thread. As fascinating as this may sound, it is NOT FUN. Not for one minute. Imagine having your facial hair plucked out with the razor sharp edge of the thread used for kite-flying. No. Tone that down a little. Imagine a sharp thread, slightly less malignant. Now imagine that being skillfully converted into a makeshift pair of scissors. These, through your sensitive facial skin for a couple of times and the last thing you felt was their first cold touch on your face. YES. THREADING MAKES YOUR FACE GO NUMB!  Did I forget to mention, you have to PAY in full cash for this torture?

While all this is happening we should cut the parlors enough slack for the “manis-and-pedis” (manicures and pedicures,) which is their way of saying “sorry for all the hurt, here’s some relaxation time for you,”) which make your skin and nails shine like a moon in the clear black sky.  The head massages and steams come as an added bonus. What’s left? The tired, old imperfect “you” is magically transformed into a revitalized image of a polished, near-to-perfect “you.”

But is so much of angst required anyway? What say, ladies? While I leave it on you’ll to decide whether you’ll want to get rid of that exoskeleton, my advice to Mr.  Anil Kapoor would be …Err, never mind.  Let him bask in the truth of Amy Bloom’s belief — You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.”