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Trimming the Tree

I don’t know about you but I’m not a dedicated personal groomer. I floss, bathe, shave and keep myself clean and looking my best, but I’m against spending hours in the salon or makeup chair. I scorn the idea of Saturdays wasted getting mani-pedi’s, waxing, plucking or pulling hair out of everywhere. Weekends are for sleeping so I don’t subscribe to the notion that I should spend hours with curling irons or wands stuck in my kinks being manhandled by cranky hairdressers with attitude. Grooming is nice and necessary but the extras aren’t a must. When my feet get crazy I handle it. When my eyebrows get bushy, I take care of that too. When my nails look chipped and cracked, clip, clip and I’m through. I do what a lady must but that’s it. I’m not a member of the Kim Kardashian beauty crew that treats personal grooming like a Defcon 5 alert. I don’t thrive on girl trips to hideaway spas where workers know their clients by name. That said, I’m still a girl so I’m not opposed to some pampering when my body needs it.

With the thought of relaxation and stress relief high on my list, I recently booked a massage. The minute I stretched out on the table I was in heaven. Stripped to my tidy whities with my bra flung across the room, I plunked my head down in the little hole pillow and prepared myself for some Swedish, Thai or deep tissue bliss. I was relaxed and ready; I’d spent a whole sixty dollars on this so I wanted it to be good. I wasn’t disappointed.

My masseuse dug strong fingers into tense shoulders, squeezed and caressed sore tissues and stretched and untangled my tight limbs. Far from my mind was whether my grooming habits could be rated a 7 out of 10 on the personal hygiene list; but then things got…interesting. My massage took an unexpected turn when my expected back massage turned into a full body massage in a blink. My ass-ets were bared and hands that were supposed to be relaxing started to disturb my peace. Hands, toes, torso, none of me remained untouched. Instead of considering this a perk, unreasonably I wondered why I hadn’t been warned. Geez, had I known my masseuse was gonna get up close and personal I would have done a better job of buffing my feet. I would have worn something better than my serviceable underwear; the lotion bottle and I would have been better friends. What was my masseuse thinking? Was I being judged for being too hairy, scaly with knees and elbows that were a tad too rough? I really shouldn’t have cared but I did. As circles were kneaded into my back and every available extremity, I no longer felt scornful of the middle class housewives who cleaned their houses for the benefit of the cleaning lady. I no longer passed judgement on the high rise folks who wondered whether their concierge thought they were cheap. I understood suddenly why the fit and fabulous found it necessary to do an extra set of sit ups and pushups before they saw their trainers at the gym? Did the women with Brazilians and landing strips trim the tree before the waxer did her thing? I realized quite suddenly that I didn’t want to be judged on whether my skin was smooth or rough. Am I alone in this?

If grooming is a part of your daily routine is vanity and self-consciousness a must? Do we trim the tree, pluck and clean with care so that practitioners won’t talk about us?


About the Author

Stephanie Small, Sistah & Superhero! Author, Educator, Personal Growth Coach & wannabe Superhero! Author of Black Girl's Guide to Winning at Love & Life! (Available on Amazon.com, B&N and Kobo)

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