House of Wax

Finding a great stylist is damn tricky. Look, I am far less fussy about my hair in comparison to my PFB (PERFECT FULL BROWS) obsession. It took me two and a half years to find a stylist. I had an amazing (award-winning) stylist for YEARS. Look, it`s like he gave birth to my hair and watched it grow. And then he discovered fame and fortune and I was really not “fabulous” enough a client for him anymore. I got farmed out to his protégé, who is really just a mini-me wannbe. Hey, I`m a friggin princess and I don`t get farmed out to ANYBODY. So, I dropped the ungrateful little bastard, his salon and the motormouth protégé. And off I want, bravely into the unknown, in search of a new hair nirvana.
After three lopsided chops from a psychotic self-confessed junkie, I jumped ship, oddly enough to another junkie (what IS it about stylists and drugs??). He became known as the Edward Street Butcher and we must never speak of him again. And then there was a third stylist in George, who was a genius and restored my faith in her people. But I disappeared after three months, deciding that the grass was greener back in Cape Town.

So I moved on to Lesley, who was quiet but deadly fast and accurate with the scissors. Which suited me fine, because I don’t go there for the banter. It was all going beautifully until I showed up for a colour one day only to be told abruptly that he, “No longer works at this establishment”. After sobbing briefly that the good ones always leave me, the head stylist (Antionette) assured me it wasn’t personal and tended to my locks herself.

It wasn’t until a few months later when we’d built up that inane hairdresser/hairdressed repartee that she casually mentioned that my former stylist had been fired for repeatedly showing up drunk. And by the way, he was now in jail for attempted murder! He’d stabbed his boyfriend! How deliciously sordid. My little rush of adrenalin for the day

I am a “raised eyebrow person”. Well…I`ve been told a trillion times I am a “raised eyebrow person”. Throughout my short, eventful life I`ve been peppered with… “Stop sassing me, young lady…and drop that eyebrow!” or “you don`t have to raise your eyebrow like that” and my personal favourite, ” What the F*ck are you raising your eyebrow for…” Yes, ladies and gents…I raise the eyebrow constantly: in Surprise, bewilderment, anger, sarcasm, happiness, cockiness you name it and I`ve got a left brow for it.

Problem with this little personal habit is that I don`t have perfect brows. Now I know women usually say stuff like that and it`s not really true and they`re just being overly critical. But I REALLY don`t have great brows as a result of a botched brow wax in 2000. Now every woman knows about going to a salon / hairdresser and the trails and tribulations of finding the perfect stylist or beauty therapist. Someone you could have a lifelong relationship with… who will be there through brunette and blonde, fat and thin, bad skin and good skin bad boyfriend and wedding jitters. It`s very hard to find your beauty soul mate and it`s often a journey that lasts for years.

Anyway…During the early years of my search for a perfect therapist I walked into Matis in Cape Town`s Sun Gallery. They assured me that they had the time and expertise to deal with me right now, really fast. And it`s not like I wanted them to shape my brows into something to rival Picasso…No, I wasn`t high-maintenance at all. All I wanted was to remove the straggly and untidy brow hairs growing out of place (dastardly little buggers!). To cut a long and very painful story short. The therapist (aka, Mavis, The Butcher of Cape Town) managed to remove half of my outer brows on either side. I looked like the grinning cat from Alice in Wonderland with half my eyebrows stuck up in the air in a look of permanent surprise.

My brows have never recovered. In fact, to this day, it takes months for them to revert to their usual feralness. I painstakingly grow the puppies back to some kind of substantial state and carefully ask for it to be waxed “tidy”, keeping one anxious eye on the mirror and one anxious hand on the trigger of the gun pointed at the therapist. Kidding. Nobody likes to work under pressure. I have, however, found my beauty therapist soul mate who coo`s at me and treats me like an absolute queen. She understand my “special needs” and knows the in`s and out`s of my very strange social life.

Anyway, there I was last November in the waiting room of my chosen New Place. It was very charming, and uber-decadent. Stunning couches and chairs, wooden floors, magazines and ladies with cotton wool stuffed between their toes as they waited for polish to dry. I would have been content to sit there all day reading, and was almost annoyed when the Wax Mistress called my name.

She was smiley and looked the epitomy of professionalism in her cool white coat.

“So what can I do for you?”

“It’s the eyebrows. They need to be cleaned up. They taper into nothingness. It`s a very weird shape. I wasn`t born this way, you know. I have to cultivate fresh hairs over a six-months period because they just won`t row back. and then they switch from neat and tidy to pure mental overnight. I can never catch the bastards!” (I realised now I was babbling)

“Tell me about it!” She pointed to her own brows.

This Wax Mistress certainly understood her own kind.

“I had a bad experience before,” I said.

“Oh? What happened?”

“I was butchered. I looked like the headlights on a SLK Mercedes. My expression was locked on ‘surprised’.”

“How surprised are we talking?”

“Like, surprise tinged with alarm.”

“Like, surprised like the plot twist in “Sixth Sense”


“Well I won’t let that happen again,” she soothed, “You’re more suited to a slightly thicker brow anyway. Now just lay back here and I’ll sort everything.”

Every other brow wax I’ve had was over in a minute. A perfunctory brush, a slap of hot wax, a rrrrrrip, then a brief exchange of Rands. But this woman took her time, all seriousness as she combed and measured. Did she brutally rip the stray hairs with wax, or did she just coax them out with some sort of musical interlude, a la the Pied Piper? I can’t recall.

“Your brows have a fantastic natural arch to them,” she cooed afterwards, massaging lotion into my flaming forehead, “They’re really lovely.”

“Oh cheers,” I mumbled. Take that, cows! Finally, something to feel superior about. Bums may shrink or widen, and breasts will rise and fall, but eyebrows are forever!”

The whole experience was magic. My brows were tidy but not anorexic. And instead of dismissing me with a bored wave then slipping out back for a fag, the Wax Mistress helped me with my coat and waited politely while I fumbled with my hat and scarf. She even held the door open and wished me goodnight!

So, today after work will be brow day. I`m positively giddy in anticipation.

Almost to the point where I am contemplating taking “before and after” shots. I can almost hear it…the faint tinkle of the bell and my Wax Mistress saying, “Come inside and welcome back to the House of Wax”.

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