- Books, Literature, and Writing»
- Books & Novels»
- Biographies & Memoirs
Memoirs of a Bikini Waxer
The conversation on a waxing table
Have you ever considered that that there are several professions that probably get more (perhaps even truer) confessions from clients than Catholic priests. Bartenders, taxi driver, and indeed beauticians. Perhaps breaking an unwritten rule, in this book, Caren Stein reveals what happens behind closed doors and how after hearing confessions of thousands of clients she has formed her own views of life, love, and people in general. It is a roller coaster ride from eyebrows to nether regions.
Image Credit: amazon.com
Hairs, Wax, and Tweezing...OH My!
If you are a male or have never been waxed the first chapter is going to have you truly chucking. Certain experiences will have you showing entire pages to whomever you are sitting next to (regardless of previous relations, in some cases complete strangers). Questions if hot wax will seep into a buttocks (no if you curious, we are pretty watertight down there), the man who would receive sexual pleasure by being waxed, or how to respond when a woman asks if her vagina is pretty. How a beautician can keep a straight face is beyond me, thank goodness she took great notes so she can regale us with these stories.
Caren next speaks how important it is to have a sense of humor. Nothing is probably tougher than having your hands all around the most private of places on another woman ready to pull cold wax (and whatever is attached to it) and be ultra serious. So a sense of humor to both relax the client and make the time go by can be quite helpful. Thankfully it sounds like Caren has this in spades.
Now Table Topic takes an unusual turn toward what is probably the most common topic at the beauty salon men and relationships. She shares her passionate views on everything from dating, to relationships in general and ultimately the untrustworthiness of men. My favorite is never ask a man what he is thinking, he might tell you and that is never a good thing. She shares her rules of dating including rule number 1, "STOP trying to figure out men.What you see is usually ALL you get."
She ends with a chapter on hygiene in general and final thoughts of the differences in sexes. Without revealing everything, the advice for men include shaving armpits and shoulders (nothing more revolting than hair in an armpit) but other hair is just fine. Men should learn to wipe better to reduce skid marks and finally never use a solid stick deodorant.
My Overall Review
This is actually one of the toughest books I have had to review. Clearly I am not the intended audience being of the wrong gender and without shared experiences, yet tried to approach this book with the right mindset and talking to others who are of the right gender. I confess there was a certain amount of guilty curiosity when I was first sent this book to learn what happens when women visit a salon. While this book satisfied a certain amount of that curiosity I was surprised and disappointed by some of the beliefs that the author has built over the years.
She speaks at length of how a heterosexual male can never be simply friends with a woman that is not his relative. He is secretly always thinking of how he could sleep with her. "Unless he is your brother or he's gay, how do I say it? HE DOESN'T WANT TO JUST BE YOUR PAL! Straight men aren't friends with ANY woman just for the sake of friendship alone. They have other people for those roles. They call them, 'Other Men'". While I believe there are many men out there like this and Caren does concede that many men will never act on these feelings, she speaks in absolutes. Perhaps a beautician see women when they have had their worst days, when emotions run hottest, yet it does feel perhaps a bit heavy handed by the 5th or 6th chapter. Perhaps I am a glass half full, or maybe just look in the mirror and say I am a man with female friends and don't want to sleep with them. To be fair, this is one person's opinion and I truly respect it, just know going in that there are some very strong opinions.
The author makes quite clear in the very beginning (and several times throughout) that these are simply her views and you do not need to agree with them. However, after a couple of chapters you begin to feel that this is a diatribe of someone who has been vented to for many years. This is not to say that all her opinions are right or wrong, merely that it feels like someone lambasting on a soap box over drinks rather than measured thoughts reflected upon with the benefit of time and perspective. It is hard for me to fully recommend this book given what the dirth of great memoirs available on the book shelves, but it is exactly what it advertises, a lighthearted book designed for women not to be taken too seriously.
If you are in the same profession as the author I would love to know if given your perspective if you share some of the same feelings.
Interview with Caren Stein
Q. What was the most favorite part of writing this book?
I've always enjoyed writing, although I never pictured myself writing an actual book. Filtering through my many journal entries to find "women-only" material was probably my favorite part. It was like going through an old diary and reliving the moments. I've been through some amazing things in my life. Work is just one part. Also, getting the proof-readers reactions was a blast and a learning curve as well.
Q. Did you find yourself concerned or troubled by any of the sections you wrote about?
There's was always a concern that I would hurt the feelings of someone I was talking about, if they ever figured out they were the subject. There were dozens of stories in the original manuscript that I took out. Though I would never use their names, it was important to me that nobody was embarrassed or offended in any way. To someone who has never been a hair removal client these stories may seem outrageous but for those who frequently get hair removed, it's all just business as usual. My clients have been very supportive
including the few who knew they were in the book before I published it.
Q. What are your goals moving forward? More books, other challenges?
I wouldn't rule out writing another book. Currently I'm still marketing this one, sending copies to my favorite comedians and letting some know that I'm working on other projects. My next project is going to be tackling the writing of a screenplay. It's not so much fun writing funny by myself but comedy is my passion so I'll give it a whirl. I'm open to writing with a group if the opportunity presented itself. It's what I would have wanted to do with my life, if I had just followed my dreams!
Q. Some of your views are of course quite strong toward men, have you received any backlash from readers?
Two of my top reviews thus far are from men, both book reviewers like yourself. Two of my worst reviews are also from men, one seemingly wanting it to have been more pornographic and the other who was bored after chapter one, which leads me to believe he wanted what the first guy was looking for. Listen, this book is most certainly not anti-man. I love men as I have many in my immediate life by way of my family. Much of the male subject matter (outside of my work stories) was run past several open-minded men just for reaction and they agreed with mostly everything, not that I was looking for permission...........just reaction.
Nobody likes to be poked fun of, especially for just being who they are, but let me remind you....this book was not intended for amusing men. Hence the: For Women Only on the back cover. The Kindle version doesn't show the back cover so unless it's read on the website, the only thing they can go by is the dedication or perhaps the subject matter itself. I find I defend men and their actions, several times throughout my book as I deal with women who complain regularly about husbands, boyfriends, mate potentials, etc. Some things will never change, which is why the subject matter is interpreted by so many. This book is purely my experiences and my opinions of those experiences and hopefully, I can give women a better sense of themselves and a laugh or two.