In which I learn a valuable lesson about impulse buys.

There are a couple of things you need to know about me.  Number 1, I am impulsive. I have a great idea and I have to do it there and then, I don’t want to wait or think it through properly and plan. When I want something to happen I want it at exactly the minute I had the idea. I’m the person that pushes every single button in the radio section of the store of separates the bananas because there is a big sign specifically telling me not to.

Number 2, I’m really rather cheap and will happily do anything to save a dollar. I will shop around online for every deal possible.  I have no brand loyalty in supermarkets merrily collecting the cheapest of everything and working it out on a like for like basis just what is giving me more value for my penny.

These 2 aspects of my personality rarely work in harmony. But sometimes, just sometimes, the cosmic forces align, light shines down from the sky and that ultimate impulse buy total bargain comes my way.

With that in mind, how could I resist the latest offering in my local pharmacy? While trawling the shelves for various items I happened to spot a display of wax strips, you know the ones for eyebrows? They are shaped in various quizzical poses. You lay them over your eyebrow, whip them off and you look permanently surprised until they eventually grow back again.  I have used these before and to be honest they were beyond bad. I would have been better off giving the toddler a roll of sellotape and letting him loose on my face for 5 minutes.

However….. these wax strips were in a pretty packet, they PROMISED me, PROMISED me that they were stronger, they had more ripping power in fact they were so strong they had special cream to apply afterwards and you could use them on your underarms and bikini area and just to finish it off they were on SPECIAL OFFER.  So now not only could I save the money I would have spent in the beauty parlour having my eyebrows waxed I could save money on the actual price of the strips and I could totally impulse buy them because they were in a pretty packet.

I almost fell over myself to put them in my basket.

Once I get them home I put them in the bathroom cabinet, close the door and totally and instantly forget they even exist. That is the wonder of the impulse buy.

So a few days later I am brushing my teeth and randomly open the door to look through the cabinet to pass the time and there they are, looking all sweet in their pretty packet. A quick poke of my eyebrows later and I have decided they are sufficiently bushy to warrant a good waxing and after rinsing my toothbrush I take the pack from the cupboard.  After removing them from the packet and having a good squish of the strips I can tell these are different, these are going to work. First of all they aren’t in a weird shape, they are good solid squares. The wax isn’t a sticky see through glue, it’s pink and thick and you can tell it will really rip not only your eyebrows but, if you’re not careful, several layers of skin.

I very carefully lay the first strip across the top of my eyebrow, smooth it down and pull. It does pull quite a bit and there is a little teeth sucking moment but after peeking with one eye, success! The patch has several eyebrows attached and my eye now has a nice shape to it. Granted it is a little red and a tiny bit tender but this is how it looks and feels after the salon usually. I am very excited! I can do this; I can shape my eyebrows and save money!

A mere 5 minutes later I have well shaped brows and a plethora of wax strips full of eyebrows collecting on the sink.

I am buoyed by my success, I am confident, this is amazing!

A quick glance at the box reminds me these amazing strips aren’t just for eyes. Oh no, these beauties can clear forests of hair under your arms and bikini line. Whole summers of swim suit wear without having to shave or pay for waxing flashes before my eyes and I am excited. Oh yes.

I lock the bathroom door.

A quick armpit check tells me I have been too vigilant here, no hair to wax. It would be a shame to waste these miracle strips, imagine if they weren’t on offer when I went back to the shop, the horror!

It would have to be the bikini line.

So I do. I press it as hard as I can against my skin right where my leg creases; I make sure to get it in there good and proper. I have already used these strips on my eyes and I am aware of the little tingle they cause. It’s a pain I can totally handle.  I’m ready for it.

I pull with every single blasé ounce of confidence I feel.

I scream.

Stars burst in front of my eyes.

Somebody is trying to rip my leg off with their teeth.

White hot spears are being pressed against my flesh while small rodents tear my hair out with sharp, sharp claws as they laugh and laugh and laugh.

My leg buckles underneath me as the very pits of hell open up and send hell fire up my leg to sear my flesh. I can’t breathe.

How can pain like this be real, why is there not a warning. Fuck you smiling lady on the box making this look so fucking easy.

Finally it’s over, it’s done.

I’m lying on the bathroom floor while the black dots in my vision clear and my ragged breathing starts to come more regularly. I have done it.

My brain finally starts to fight through the fog of pain and what it has to say is something I’m not ready for.

‘I’m sorry’ it says, ‘I’m sorry, but, well, I’m not actually registering a wax strip in your hand?’

I flex my fingers and sure enough they are empty. I can’t lift my head; I haven’t the strength so I very gingerly touch the top of my leg. Sure enough, right at the very top I feel it. The wax strip.

So I make the second mistake of the day, I try to gently remove it.  Every so slowly I peel it backwards and ever so slowly it rips hair from the very root bit by bit, root by root, agonisingly painful by agonisingly painful second. I almost vomit. I’m sure if the wax strip had a personality it would be mocking me now, it’s enjoying this.

This is an expertly trimmed hedge.

I’m on the bathroom floor in my pants with a piece of wax stuck to me, weeping.

The only thing to do now, apart from call it quits and spend my life with wax attached to my leg, which in all honesty is starting to look really appealing, is to grab the fucking thing and pull.  So after a minute (or 5) of psyching myself up, taking a few deep breaths and begging any entity that might hear me for a swift and merciful death should this fail, that’s exactly what I do.

There is a horrendous ripping sound as it detaches from my inner leg, how I imagine it would sound if the suit that the bad guy from Silence of The Lambs made ever ripped. Flesh being ripped from muscle.  The stars in my vision morph in to full on white dwarfs, my brain spins in my head, every part of me goes in to shock and on the edge of the blackness there is a high pitched unholy keening sound which after a while I   realise is coming from me and finally after all of that my brain kicks back and yells at me, ‘It’s ok! It’s over, we are done.’

The strip is in my hand and I am a ball of weeping snot.

After a little while I open and my eyes and decide to look at the strip that must hold large proportions of my flesh and bone. I am a little worried to see it, once I see that I then have to look at the open wound that is my leg and I’m not sure I’m ready for that kind of horror. I take a deep breath and hold it up.

7 hairs.

7 Fucking hairs.

It took another 5 minutes to gather the strength to get off the floor. I grabbed the box to look for warnings of death by rodent claws, pits of hell and white dwarf vision but all I found was an instruction to use the de-sensitising wipes first and to always warm the wax. Neither of which I did. Perhaps if I had of done that first I might have increased my total to 9 hairs.

A couple of days later I am left with the worst stubble rash known to man and the feeling that someone had very sternly kicked me between the legs.  Every time I sit down I wince and I keep catching my husband stifling laughter after his totally unsympathetic reaction to my story.

My eyebrows however, look great.


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