Is it weird if I say that I think my bikini waxer is one of the most interesting people to listen to? Let the wincing begin (in more ways than one!)
She’s a middle aged Russian lady with stylish coiffed blonde hair, working out of a suite of offices in Beverly Hills with very reasonable rates.
Some people say she can come across a bit like a military commander, barking out orders, and if you’re not used to it, I could see how it would be a little off putting “Slide more to me!” “Turn over!” “You done!”
But all I do is ask her questions, just so I can listen to that gloriously thick Russian accent roll off her tongue. I’ve listened to her vent about how she hates clients who are late, how she has people who come up from Orange County who grab the early appointments on a Friday morning because they’re continuing on to Vegas and wanna be poolside ready, and how the Maui poster plastered to the ceiling was something her daughter sent her.
She had closed the office for a few weeks while she went on vacation so when I arrived for my appointment yesterday morning, I wanted to hear all about where she went.
Turns out she had taken one of those two week Viking river cruises that I know more than a few people have done. And she eagerly dug the cruise book out of the drawer and gave to me to page through while she worked.
She went to Paris, Italy, Germany and Prague, among other places, and she was all “Ech” about Paris. It’s not the same anymore as when she was there twenty years ago, I guess it’s too gentrified for her now. Though she didn’t say the word gentrified, she said, “Ech” which, coming from her, rolled up from the back of her throat and swirled around for at least five seconds.
But she loved Prague. LOVED Prague. “Everyone there speak English. English like you, not like me.” She showed me pictures on her Iphone of the architecture, of the flowers, of the farmer’s market, “Nothing frozen there. Everything fresh. Fresh meat, fresh vegetables.”
The wax is cooling on my inner thigh, but I don’t care because it’s a kick to hear her clucking about the churches and cathedrals. She’s trying to express how magnificent they are, how the pictures she took with her Iphone look exactly the same as in the guidebook I’m holding, and she ends up with, “Prague...I get in love.”
She’s trying to say, “I fell in love.” But that’s what came out.
“I get in love.”
I love the imagery that comes from that.
Sure everyone knows “I fell in love.” We all understand what that looks like, being taken off guard, unaware, hey, I was just walking here and I tripped over what I thought was a root in the ground and I fell in love. I wasn’t trying. It just happened.
I get in love.
Like a pool of water. I dipped a toe in. I tested it out. It was alright. Something I could handle. Maybe I thought the water would be too cold. Maybe it’s the hotub at Basil Diva Dog and Ginger Puppy’s house, and I think it’s gonna be too hot.
But it’s fine. So I get in.
I get in love.
I relax in it, I let it swirl around me, I let it lift my body up, I let it support me. I float weightlessness in it. I stare up at the sky and I close my eyes. And I’m transported, if only for a moment, maybe more, maybe less, to something bigger than me.
I’m beginning to think more and more that love is a choice. When you’re younger you’re powerless against the rush of emotions, of hormones, you’re swept away by feelings, you do irrational things in the rush of the moment.
But I don’t think that’s love. I think that’s lust. When you’re young, you don’t know the difference. When you first experience it, you have no idea what it is, but what culture, movies and the songs tell you is that it’s love, so that’s what you think love is.
Now that I’m (slightly) older, I value my time far too much to waste it. I recognize that rush of emotion, the yearning to be swept away and carried off to the land of irrationality can turn on you in an instant and cut you to the bone.
So I think love is a choice. Not tripping. Not falling. Not helpless against it.
You check it. You feel it out. You weigh your options (do I get in the hotub, or do I go watch a movie.) You make the choice to get in it. And then you let yourself be submerged and surrounded in it.
Does that sound too rational? Too guarded? Too coldly dispassionate? The least romantic thing in the world? I don’t know. I’ve never been in love, believe it or not. I’ve been swept away by lust I couldn’t control, and I’ve been cut to the bone. I know every jagged despairing edge of the Slow Fadeout, which is the Modern Man’s Cowardly Goodbye Of Choice.
But one day, it’s going to happen. I’m gonna get in love.