By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Sarah: "I realize I spend a good deal of my idle time -- on the freeway, or peeing -- trying to figure out whether I'd have sex with him. I can't decide whether he turns me on or not, but I think the fact that I spend so much time thinking about whether I'm attracted to him means that I'm really attracted to him."
Cassie: "Absolutely [I would have sex with him]. He's really attractive but in that way that makes you feel like it's a personal discovery, and he seems like he needs a girl to help him along."
Natasha: "I do not like green eggs and ham."
Mike: "Maybe I do want to fuck him. He has that dangerous thing, but he's more likely to hurt himself than you. You feel like something could happen with him. You think, 'Something could happen to me when I'm with this person.'"
Colin: "I think he has the 'boy in high school you never got to fuck on the overnight band trip even though you were both drunk and clearly wanted to' appeal. But the alienated thing only goes so far for me."
Dennis: "I do not want to fuck him, but I completely understand his appeal. He is dark and brooding and unsmiling, and there is a segment of the population -- be they straight, gay, bi, transgender or questioning -- that absolutely cannot resist a sourpuss with great hair. It's people exactly like Jake Gyllenhaal who have been getting in my way since I hit puberty. Of course, he must be stopped, but you can't stop someone who isn't doing anything. JG could stand on a street corner and chew gum and someone would find him attractive. As for me, I wish him well. Chew away, Jake! Chew away." --Nancy Updike
SKIN DEEP: The Waxer
"I WISH I'D LEARNED ABOUT WAXING when I was younger," she says, running her hand over the stubble on your thigh and waiting, it seems, for you to ask when she learned the art of removing hair from the crotches of women's bodies.
"Not until I competed in beauty pageants, at 19," she answers when you do ask. Her statement is impossible to ignore, coming from who she is now at 36 -- tall and thick-waisted, with a florid, pretty face and a brown unkempt ponytail. Hers is a job where she is so not in the spotlight that to seize your attention, she chatters nonstop.
She tests the temperature of the wax on her wrist and tells you that she won local pageants, moved up to state competitions, and "probably would have won California but my dad was very religious."
Another bomblet of information that, in another social situation, would set off a conversation. But in the tiny Beverly Hills salon treatment room -- which is barely big enough to hold her, the waxing unit, and a toweled table to hold you, naked from the waist down -- it becomes clear that this session is not about you.
She mentions her many siblings, the fights with her father, the spankings and the dogmatic inflexibility in the house. "My mother, she never talked back to him. She was weak," she says as she smears warmed honey wax on your groin and barks out a laugh. What she says is perversely fascinating, but also, you realize, a fevered monologue from someone both livid and impotent to do things over, to reinstate order. This she can do for you. For $65 and 60 minutes, she can make you -- or the genital representation of you -- hairless, youthful and perfect.
The talking continues, a wave of words that modulates between giddy and narcotic.
"I won't wax until I get a date!" she suddenly announces, then straightens up. She says she's "bored" by her job, tells you about past employers and a sketchy-sounding lawsuit and the trouble she's having with her car.
"Turn over," she says, and proceeds to wax the back of you. She tells you about the book she wants to write, "a coffee-table book about skin-care advice for the average woman," and that she's been dictating her thoughts into a tape recorder. She is spreading your cheeks, and the truth is, you appreciate the effort she is going to, though you sense that each wax-and-hair-covered muslin strip she pulls from you scrapes something from her soul. Still, you are selfish, and begin to think of your boyfriend, and whether he will notice how smooth you've been made, and whether he will like it.
"Hey," she says, loud enough to startle you. She's detected your reverie; there will be none of that, not on her time. She tells you to turn back over.
"For your next appointment, I can sculpt you, like this," she says, drawing a vague heart shape on your pubic region. But her eyes are far away. Once you are dressed, she walks you to the lobby, gives you two business cards and with her hand on your arm asks if you want to make another appointment. And you'd like to tell her, but you sense that seeing her again will be like seeing a friend constantly in crisis, and you don't know if you want to pay for that, or if you can take it. You tell her ä you'll call. She nods and, with a bottle of cold water in one hand, lumbers back to the treatment room to wait for her 3:45.
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