THE FULL BRAZILIAN
Copyright © 2001 All Rights
for a Red Deer College '91 T-shirt that was hitched up to my ribcage, arms and
legs flailing like a June Bug on its back, I oscillated between watching his
bespectacled approach with fear and wariness and barking instructions like a
"Remember to put it on thick! Check the clock before
Inches away from smearing my privates with toxic pink goo, he
"I don't think I can." He looked neither deep
into my eyes, nor deep anywhere, focusing instead, somewhere over my left
shoulder. "No," he concluded, "I definitely can't."
lowered my legs and propped myself up on my elbows. "Yes you can! You
have to help me. The last time I tried it myself I ended up looking like a
trichinosis victim. And I nearly zapped off my magic button."
He looked forlorn now. "I can't. I'd never be able to look at
you the same way again."
myself straight up I snapped, "Of course you can. How do you think
gynecologists do it? They have wives to go home to, you know."
"But you are my wife," he pleaded, putting down the paraphernalia like
it was an active grenade. "I'm not supposed to know how you get
beautiful, I'm supposed to just enjoy it. I'm certainly not supposed to
take part in it."
bull-tooties," I admonished, flopping back down. "Find me where
it says that in the Good Book." My poor young Reverend husband loved
me dearly I knew, and I him, but nothing in seminary school prepared him for
marrying a wife with a life long dream of lounging on a Caribbean beach wearing
three of the teeniest triangles of red Lycra possible.
had, however, since meeting and marrying him fourteen months previous, made my
position repeatedly and crystal clear. "Fine, get out then or I'll smear
some on you."
honey," he offered weakly before scuttling out the door. Shortly, I heard
the TV click on and strains of cheering fans in some arena. Even Preachers get
to a point of needing a testosterone boost, I supposed.
it was his first congregation, we were as far into Creation as could support a
church. It didn't help that our old Volvo had recently died and due to the
financial constraints of the imminent vacation, we'd opted to abandon Old Moses
in the church parking lot until a (much) later date.
the one shop in town that might have been able to fulfill my request was so
old-fashioned it still called itself a "beauty parlour." There was no
funky chrome and glass, only pressboard partitions. No techno-pop was
pumped in from unseen speakers; only good old Joe Ramsey, local DJ
extraordinaire, announcing Carpenters' songs from the AM radio in the corner.
Maeve cut and blow-dried - that is, stuck you under the big spaceman hood; Josie
permed and coloured, providing you wanted a blue afro and Ginny swept and poured
Nescafes. They were all over one hundred years old.
sauntered in later that afternoon and casually studied the board above the
simple cash register, having not set foot in the place since they'd done my
up-do for my high-school graduation dance. That was 1984, when I was a
fresh-faced seventeen, and I still managed to look like Jackie Onassis on a very
bad hair day. Ever since, I hacked away on my own and treated myself to a
city cut whenever I was in one. Any city at all.
to say, it was a pretty basic price and service list: cut and blow-dry, set and
comb-out, colour rinse, perm, long hair and perm, short hair. Manicure had
been added in felt pen at the bottom. Aaaah, I thought wickedly, somebody
went on course. God forbid the concept of acrylics be uttered in their
presence. "Other services by request", also in spiky, felt pen
writing, caught my eye.
I tried nonchalantly, "what are these 'other services' you gals provide
it's no kind of hanky-panky!" she answered vehemently.
hadn't occurred to me and I wish she hadn't brought it up. I would carry
around the vision of motley Josie in her fortrel pantsuit, baby-oiling a
towel-clad Mr. Peterson from the Chevron station for weeks.
sure it's not," I smiled brightly. "Just wondering what you've
added to your vast repertoire of beauty regimes."
narrowed her narrow eyes at me. "What are you looking for, Deidre?"
She obviously hadn't forgotten that I stormed out in tears without tipping her
in June 1984.
asking what you're offering, Maeve."
drug lords of Columbia couldn't be cagier.
sounded like a long and painful process, considering what I wanted
looked at hers dubiously. Hers were in perpetual, penciled-in surprise.
dilapidate unsightly hair."
Now we were getting somewhere.
think you mean 'depilate.' But what do you depilate?"
her answer would be, 'unsightly hair, I said unsightly hair', I quickly
where do you depilate?"
eyes were now mere slits. "Ladies' mustaches, of course. Where
mustaches!" I repeated, disheartened. "Of course." I
let a beat go by.
Legs. And such."
YOU PERFORM BIKINI WAXES?" I exploded, suddenly not caring what the request
did to my reputation as the Good Reverend's Wife.
occccccccupants of in-ter-pla-ne-tar-y, ex-tra-or-din-ar-y, craft"
pursed her lips. "No. We don't do that type of thing
here." Her lips then totally disappeared inside her face as she
explained the salon's stance on such capital offenses. "We don't have
anyone who wishes to become that intimate with anyone, it being such a small
town and all. You would have to go to the city." if you want
to be violated by a depraved mind in such a way, went unsaid.
I chirped, suddenly feeling my Levis were made of Saran Wrap, my sweatshirt of
loose mesh. "Just thought I'd check. Bye-bye now, Maeve."
Giving a chaste nod to Josie and Ginny who were peeking out from their
respective cubicles, I backed out of their Mecca of propriety-in-beautification.
was the Devil incarnate who said through Maeve's mouth, just before I was out of
earshot, "See you in church on Sunday, Deidre. In that front pew for
the Reverend's wife."
so, my botched self-job, the archaic salon and my husband's squeamishness left
me as cranky, not to mention, wooly, as a bear in March. We were leaving for
Bermuda in two days. I hadn't worked out and starved all winter to wear a
sarong, bike shorts or stay wrapped in a towel with my knees pressed together.
I was going where no Reverend's wife had gone before and I wanted to be
little-red-bump-free to do it.
wore my most pristine dress on Sunday morning, knowing the preacher's wife's
wish to deface her God-given body might have spread through the three counties
that arrived for services. It may have been my imagination, but it seemed
the old biddies pursed, the mid-lifers looked on in bare tolerance, the young
mums commiserated and the older teens looked at me with a whole new respect.
A respect I hadn't managed to draw out during the leading of my six-week Teen
Crusaders course last fall. It was after the sermon that young Chelsea
Durham sidled up to me.
Lithgow?" she whispered urgently. "Mrs. Lithgow! I need to talk
she needed a chat about the ramifications of self-pleasuring or perhaps that a
boyfriend was responsible for one of the town's four unsolved crimes, I led her
quickly into my husband's office.
her Bible -- somewhere between Leviticus and Deuteronomy guessed my practiced
eyes -- she pulled out a slip of paper.
she said conspiratorially. "It's the number for my cousin Shelly.
She's an esthetician in the city. She can do the job." Chelsea
lowered her voice even more. "The job you need doing."
studied her solemn eyes. "Ah, that's very kind of you to look into,
the job, for me, Chelsea, but I'm afraid I don't really have enough time left.
Joey Sykes is driving us to the city tomorrow afternoon, to an airport hotel and
the flight's the next morning."
got her own shop. She'll open it up for you if need be, I already
the number of people envisioning, in one way or another, my scalped or bushybush,
was most disconcerting. "Chelsea, it was just, well, just so darn
kind of you to look into this for me, but I'll just, um, take the Bic to my, er,
no, Mrs. Lithgow! You'll have little red bumps for days and then regrowth
before your vacation's even over!"
didn't know whether to hug her or demand she burn all her Cosmopolitan
back-issues, her only readily available source of such information that I could
think it's really important, Mrs. Lithgow. All the girls do. We
think you've just got an awesome body and you're pretty cool too, for a
Reverend's wife and well, you should do it for all of us stuck in this winter
Hell-hole. Heck-hole," she quickly corrected, flushing.
"I'll call my cousin back and she'll come right to your hotel
okay, she'll do it no problem. She owes me because I'm the only one that
knows why she went to Seattle so suddenly that summer."
sighed, my forays into thong bikinis now utterly tame in comparison to what else
went on behind closed doors.
it, Mrs. Lithgow! Do it for all the young people who Maeve made look like
those Golden Girl chicks for their first dates. Do it!"
right. All right! Make the call, Chelsea Lee. We'll be at the
Ramada Airport Inn anytime after six tomorrow. I'll be waiting."
legs splaaaay" she started in a singsong voice.
Chelsea," I warned.
she added authoritatively, "I'll tell her you want the Full
what?" I asked, feeling weak in the knees and vulnerable in the crotch.
Full Brazilian! It's like, the only way to go. One inch by
two," she crowed knowledgeably, drawing the auspicious shape in the
Full Brazilian," I breathed, thinking about getting stoned by the Elders at
some point down the road, if not for this, then something else. "Yes.
The Full Brazilian it is!"
Lord works to bring our dreams about in mysterious ways, indeed He does.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Cutler has an electic background which includes time as a uniformed
police office, lentil seller, hotel manager, world traveller and ESL teacher.
She is eagerly awaiting the fall publication of her first collection of short
stories called "Out of Her Backpack" in October 2001.