There are two things a woman needs once she hits 40: A good pair of tweezers and a friend who will tell her when to use them.
Let me just assume here you are managing to find fitness in the chaos of motherhood so I can talk about facial hair. Because tweezing, I've discovered, is like physical therapy. You have to do a little every day.
I learned the hard way last month when I went in for a facial a week before my birthday. The aesthetician took a look at my skin through her large round mirror, the one so powerful, she can use it to see Jupiter at night. Then she got up and came back at me with a tongue depressor full of wax and had it piled onto my upper lip before I knew what was happening. She chatted happily as she worked--about what I don't know, because I was thinking, Is it that bad? Have I been walking around like Aunt Bunny? Did she not even consult me first because having my upper lip waxed is non-negotiable for her? So I stayed mum while she ripped off the wax, figuring I'd defer to her expertise. At that moment I was missing my good friend Workout Partner Pam more than ever because until she moved to a neighboring state she was that friend. The friend who would not only tell me when facial hair was out-of-control, she would pluck it for me.
I snapped out of my stupor as the wax hit my nostrils.
"Ummmm," I managed to squeak out. "This is new for me."
"Is it?" She said. "Huh. Well, this is much better than tweezing the nose hairs. That just hurts. This is better because it's much faster."
It doesn't hurt less, I'm here to tell you, but the hairs are removed in one swift yank.
At that point I asked her to look at my eyebrows. She was clearly focused on making me look presentable and Pam has been gone three years. I didn't want to face my next birthday looking like Chewbacca.
After my brows were groomed she took a second look at her schedule.
"Oh no," she said with her back turned to me. (Words you never want to hear from your doctor, dentist, or beauty professional.)
"I wasn't supposed to wax you, that's my next client."
Oh the relief. I was not her sympathy case after all. (I had already imagined her saying to her colleagues once I left, "And you should have seen her mustache!")
Honestly, I wasn't that disappointed about the mix up. If I hadn't needed the waxing she wouldn't have done it. I figure the Universe was working as it should.
Which is why the stars aligned to bring my sister to me the next week to celebrate my birthday. We were in the car at a stoplight, the mid-morning sun reflecting off the snow shining more brightly through the windshield and bouncing off two long hairs growing out of my chin. My sister instinctively started grabbing them with her fingers. We are like primates when we get together, picking and plucking. I leaned up to the rearview mirror and wondered how on earth the aesthetician could miss what could very well be mistaken for fangs growing out of my chin. I also looked lovingly over at my sister, whose presence on my birthday was the best gift ever, especially so because she wouldn't let me enter a new year with a beard.
And so, those of you reading this who reside in the Twin Cities, I am taking applications for friends who will alert me to unwanted facial hair. Please apply in the comments below.