When I was a teenager my sister, a cosmetologist, talked me into letting her wax between my eyebrows. I remember sitting in her salon, surrounded by women who likely waxed various body parts on a regular basis, and screaming in agony over the horrendous sensation on my forehead.
I drew a lot of skeptical glances steeped in thinly-veiled mockery, as if the entire female population of that salon was collectively thinking "this kid has no idea."
They were right. I did not.
Even now, with a greater understanding of the art of waxing, I can only begin to imagine the pain associated with waxing some of the more delicate areas of the human form and I have no intention of ever finding out.
As I write this, one day after my chest and stomach wax at the Garden Day Spa & Salon in Bountiful, my torso is in a uniform state of discomfort and covered in ubiquitous red sores that give me the appearance of a person with Rosacea. This is extra fun since I'm going to a pool party and barbeque later tonight.
Good planning, Ben.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. For this month's Treat Yo Self I invited my good friend Cody to join me for a little manscaping and his wife Kelsey to join us afterward for some dinner.
I met both Cody and Kelsey in college, though they did not start dating until we had all graduated and moved to Salt Lake City. The three of us and our friend Krista formed a nice little group of four who would meet regularly for platonic dinners, but then of course they had to go and screw it all up by falling in love.
Me and Cody checked in at the spa and were quickly ushered to an dungeon-esque subterranean keep where we waited for our waxer to arrive.
She took us (separately) into a back room with a massage table and some soft music playing, at which point I disrobed and laid down and surrendered my fate into her hands.
She warned me that my stomach would hurt more and started with my chest, working her way around in excruciatingly small increments. If you've never waxed, the process involved applying a small amount of hot wax to the skin with what looks like a tongue depressor, applying a strip of fabric and then tearing that off in one swift motion. Repeat ad (seemingly) infinitum.
The sensation itself, as best as I can describe it, feels like having your sunburn slapped repeatedly for a half hour, or an unending series of very precise belly flops.
The nipples were quite sensitive, but nothing compared to the agony of the skin around my belly button, which was compounded by the fact that my body hair is thickest at my belly, thus requiring several repetitions to smooth me out.
Whereas my chest would sting but immediately dissipate, my belly button was a searing pain that didn't go away and only got worse and worse as she went back again and again. I didn't scream, but I groaned a few times and my eyes were watering uncontrollably.
Wood’s Stock: Who are you and what do you do?
Cody Titmus: My name is Cody Titmus and I am a copywriter
WS: And Kelsey who are you and what do you do?
Kelsey Titmus: I am Kelsey Titmus and I’m an employee relations consultant.
WS: So Cody, how was your waxing experience?
CT: It was something I will always remember
WS: You said you have had some waxing done before?
CT: Yes, my sister went to esthetics school and she has waxed between my eyebrows, inside my nose and once on a dare she did the side of my leg.
WS: How did those compare to today’s experience?
CT: The eyebrow is not painful at all. The nose stings, it always makes my eyes water, and the leg hurt a lot. This one, I felt like up on the chest it didn’t hurt that bad, it definitely stung for a bit, but down around the belly and the belly button was super painful. Like a lot.
WS: Walk me through the experience.
CT: We walked into the spa and checked in upstairs, then they sent us downstairs which was totally dimly-lit. Did they have music playing?
WS: I don’t think so.
CT: Yeah, it was just really dark. It didn’t seem like drab but it was just dark and so we sat and waited for probably 5 minutes. Then I had to go first so the girl took me into a very small room with a massage table and she left the room for a few minutes so I could take my shirt off.
CT: I don’t know, I didn’t ask her to. She just said ‘you can take your shirt off and put your stuff wherever and I’ll be back in a few minutes.’ So I did and she came in and I quickly informed her of what the status of our visit was.
WS: Cody was a little concerned that she was under the wrong impression when I said I was paying for his chest wax.
CT: I guess I get really weird about that kind of stuff but I always am very quick to clarify that I’m married every time I get my hair cut or do anything like this, which I don’t do anything like this very often, obviously.
She asked whether or not I had ever done this and then just quickly proceeded to lay a thin coat of wax on a small area of hair and then she put a piece of tape on top of it and just ripped it right off.
WS: What did it feel like?
CT: It feels exactly like what it is, you’re getting the hairs of your body ripped off by a piece of tape. I mean, it feels like when you’re a kid and you would put a piece of tape over your mouth and rip it off really quickly. I don’t know any other way to describe it.
I just kept talking to her, that was my way of keeping my mind off of what was going on. So we just went through everything: where she lived, where she grew up, where I live, how long we’ve been married. I talked about our dating story, where we went to school and every time I knew it was coming I would brace myself and hold the sides of the bed and it really wasn’t bad at first but the more we got into it the more it hurt.
WS: Where did it hurt the most?
CT: Around the belly button. That really hurt a lot.
WS: Are you a man who does any manscaping?
WS: So it was completely uncharted.
WS: Kelsey give me the 15 second version of how you and Cody met?
KT: We met at Utah State through my roommate Krista and I asked him out and then he asked me out in 2010 and then we didn’t’ date for a while and then we both moved to Salt Lake and started doing bi-weekly dinners with my roommate and you.
WS: And me! And then you guys got married when?
KT: March 1st, 2013.
WS: What was something you didn’t know about Cody until after you married him.
KT: I didn’t know that he put yogurt in his oatmeal.
WS: Is that good?
CT: I think it is.
WS: I’ll have to try that.
CT: I usually get the big things of oatmeal from Wal-Mart or whatever, and so it doesn’t have any flavor to it or anything and I like to get something in there to mix it up a little bit.
WS: What’s a surprising thing about married life, or something that you weren’t quite anticipating?
KT: It’s just normal.
WS: Absolutely normal, so if I got married tomorrow it would be like, whatever?
CT: There’s some adjustments. Obviously if you weren’t living together beforehand and then you do live together, sleeping on the same bed.
KT: That’s true, that’s an adjustment. But I feel like it was normal. I didn’t feel weird, maybe he did.
CT: No I like it. Now it’s weird when we don’t sleep in the same bed.
WS: Why do you say it might be weird for Cody? Are you a mover and a shaker?
KT: Probably. It was an adjustment actually for me, I’m a light sleeper.
CT: Kelsey just likes to be really close when we’re in bed.
WS: You’re a close-sleeper?
KT: I’m a close-sleeper.
WS: Are you (Cody) a close-sleeper?
KT: And he is not.
WS: How do you reconcile that?
KT: I cuddle in for a minute and then I move away.
WS: So you make the decision to move away?
WS: Even though you would like to stay close?
KT: Sometimes, occasionally, I’ll scoot back.
CT: I don’t need a bunch of space to fall asleep but I feel like I need a little breathing room.
KT: It gets hot.
WS: Yeah, I’m not a close-sleeper.
KT: And he snores a little bit sometimes.
WS: So what’s good about being married? Or is there anything good?
CT: Marriage is awesome.
KT: You just have your best friend around all the time, always someone to talk to who cares about you and helps you.
CT: We’re really open about everything, we like to involve each other a lot in whatever happens to be going on which I feel is really healthy and good. Previously I was the type of person who didn’t rely on my parents much if I was ever faced with anything, I just took it all by myself. So it’s been really nice to have a second pair of eyes, a second opinion on everything. We talk things out and figure them out together.
WS: What do we think about waxed Cody? Good or bad?
KT: I really don’t care. It would probably be weird if he did it regularly.
WS: Cody do you have any plans to be a regular client?
WS: Would you recommend chest waxing?
CT: I feel like it would probably depend on the situation. I wasn’t that hairy so it wasn’t a problem and Kels doesn’t mind it. If Kels liked it I would do it for her. I would.
CT: Yeah I would. It hurt, but it was only like 20 minutes.
WS: But it really hurt.
KT: Doesn’t it hurt now?
WS: Yeah I’m in pain, are you in pain?
CT: Right now I feel like I was sunburned and applied aloe vera and then put a shirt on. It’s really sticky but then it’s kind of painful. It hurts but my pain level right now is only like a 2, it doesn’t hurt that bad.
WS: Do either of you have anything to promote?
KT: Everyone should watch How I Met Your Mother.
WS: Are you guys on twitter?
KT: I am not.
CT: I’m on twitter but I don’t tweet. But I am on twitter @ThePaperBadger.