Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Island Misadventures

WARNING: If you are squeamish about lady troubles you might want to just read through the archives and skip this one.

I'm going to hate myself for this later I thought standing in the empty stall of a public bathroom tucked in a half-abandoned strip mall between the Maddog saloon and a men's swim wear store called Over Easy Down Under that sold one too many speedos on one too many crotch mannequins to convince me it was just a men's wear store. I clutched my razor blade and took a deep breath.

This story really began a few days earlier. I was preparing for my trip to Hawaii and scouring the Cherry Creek mall looking for a bathing suit. Not an easy task in Colorado in October. I had a very specific idea of what I wanted. Board shorts and a bikini top. I didn't think that would be too hard to accommodate but I was wrong. The few places that still sold swimsuits were completely shortless. I figured I could find some in Hawaii.

Our first full day there sent my boyfriend and I trolling through the downtown streets of Waikiki looking for something that would work, but somehow everywhere we went we hit a dead end. Things were too expensive or too big or too small or too plain ugly.

On about our tenth store I was tired and since the prices were reasonable I was determined to make it work. Things seemed to be looking up when the sales woman said she'd sell me the tops and bottoms individually. Finally I was getting somewhere. I picked out a top, and after trying it on, I handed it to Phil who held it as far from his body as possible and waited patiently as I tried to find a pair of shorts that would fit the butt that derby built.

After trying on several pairs, the sales lady then informed me that the top I had chosen was one of approximately three in the store that she could not sell separately. When she offered to knock ten bucks off the price I caved. I waved goodbye to the dream of shorts and walked out with a nice regular bikini.

This presented a new challenge,however,that reared its ugly head as soon as Phil excitedly suggested we now head to the beach.

"I have some serious cosmetic maintenance to do down in the borderlands," I told him, "before we get anywhere near the beach."

This is mostly why I wanted shorts in the first place. Because while my Italian ancestors gave me excellent genes in the skin department, they also passed along the DNA which makes my hair grow at a speed and thickness that is rather alarming. I looked around and noticed a dinky little nail place and suggested we pop inside.

A formidable Chinese woman sat behind a station massacring a lady's cuticles. She stared at me without saying anything until I stammered out:

"How much for a bikini wax?"

She then asked me a question in a thick Chinese accent which I didn't make out and began shouting for me to look at the sign on the door. When I finally found the sign my eyes popped out. $40 and up! There's no way that was happening, especially since I would almost certainly be in the "And Up" category.

I scoffed and then we wandered into an ABC store and purchased a three pack of bic razors and a small can of barbasol. While lunching at Onos Philly Cheese Steak Hut, I calculated the odds of contracting meningitis from the bathroom of the dive. I'd put money on it in Vegas. Phil, who is on the short list for sainthood, suggested we go to the Starbucks next door. Perfect. They have individual bathrooms there. Except this one apparently. My query as to the location of the restroom resulted in the answer:

Across the street, up those green stairs and to the left.

And that's how I ended up in a deserted public bathroom, razor clutched in one hand and thinking to myself that I'd never felt more like a crack whore. The shaving process was difficult and unpleasant without water but by God I did not shame myself on the beach. When we finally made it to the water, Phil and I shared a touching moment reenacting the last scene from Titanic on Phil's boogie board. I'll never let go. Until the board shot out from under me and struck Phil in the jugular and while flailing he punched me in the left ovary.

You'd think I was done being awkward for the day but no. After walking along the beach we decided to meet Phil's brother for dinner. My bikini top still hadn't dried so we went back to the car so I could change. Phil waited outside while I switched out of my swimsuit top. After several minutes of patiently waiting he turned on the car alarm, I presume to alarm me, and to not so subtley ask what was ask taking so long.

Inside the car I was fighting an epic battle with the strings of my swimsuit which had gotten wrapped around my neck like the umbilical cord of a stillborn baby. I tried to do the old switcheroo where you put one bra on without removing the other, you know in case anyone is lurking about. Turns out this is not a great idea when there are multiple strings involved. I fought for a good five minutes to untangle it before giving myself up to the inevitable humiliation that seemed to characterize this day. I threw my shirt on and emerged from the car with mt bikini wrapped in a Gordion knot around my neck, and gruffly asked Phil to help me untangle it, while he smothered his choking laughter.

Next time I'll find one of those old fashioned suits that cover you all the way to the toes.


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