It always begins at 12:00 PM on a Monday. Or 12:05, rather.
I’m usually anxious because I’ve missed the deadline to sign up for the Soul Cycle class that my friends are taking (we have to get Parker or else the world allegedly ends). The reason I’m late is because I’d probably just been on the phone with a receptionist at Benefit, nervously biting my nails, waiting to hear if Nicky will be available for a Brazilian wax on Friday. Same rule applies: get Nicky or else.
As is the case with both, I always secretly hope all of Parker’s spots will fill and that Nicky will be booked. But despite my consistent tardiness and the subsequent good karma, today I have booked both spots. For the same day. This has shed light on a crude, new reality: Soul Cycle and Brazilian waxes are alarmingly, if not conspiratorially, alike.
I’ve never walked into either scenario and felt at ease. Which isn’t to the fault of Soul Cycle or Benefit — I am chronically late and a woman of many, many totes. Because I’m late, I don’t take a storage locker at Soul Cycle and allow for my belongings to languish in a corner. When I’m getting waxed, I leave my coat plus tote and pack of mules carrying who knows what to sit unceremoniously next to me while I apologize profusely, already sweating three minutes too soon.
The instructor or waxer — effectively one and the same — then patiently waits as you get yourself situated. Both instances are awkward, because one requires that you straddle a tiny seat while adjusting your handle bars (try not to fall face forward and die!), simultaneously “clipping in” to your stirrups (try not to fall face forward and die!). The other, reversely, requires that you take off your pants and lay on your back. The latter is physically simpler in practice but as awkward in theory, and both beg the very same question: do I keep my socks on or what?
At Soul Cycle, the class has begun and we’re starting to pedal. There’s no mercy. No gentle warm up, no easing into the swing of maniacally moving legs, just full force ahead, chants of positivity — one minute in and I’m ready to die.
Drip, pat, rip, scream.
Guess what muchacho, that was strip number one, song number two and you still have a whole ladyhood to cover.
The instructor has the tempo up. Left, right, left, right, and stupid Jenny in front of you is messing up your groove. You’re trying to keep your pedaling in sync with your inhaling and exhaling but it’s hard task when Missy Elliott’s “Pass The Dutch” is already too fast for your breathing. “Inhale,” shouts your instructor, “Here comes the hill!”
And just as you were preparing to catch your breath another glob of intolerably hot wax tears hair from its follicles, abs crunched, back flat, just like the instructor wanted. The hill is always the worst.
With the most grisly portion of the activity behind me, I’m finally able to get in the grove, chugging mantras like The Little Engine That Could. I think I can, I think I can — OUCH! SHIT! I know I can!
Towards the end of the class, I’m seated but still pedaling with weights in both hands. I’m exhausted but feeling triumphant because I’ve made it this far, though thoroughly confused because — shouldn’t my butt hurt more?
Keep pedaling, keep breathing, it’s not over ’til the bald lady sings.
And just when I think that this must be the end, the instructor tricks my relaxed state of mind into handling one more lap that spans the world’s longest song. I’m encouraged by the reminder, “You’ve made it this far!” And I push through the final minute, teeth clenched. Almost done.
Then finally, it’s over. I’ve never been so happy. I feel strong and jovial, ripe with a sense of accomplishment and overcome with pride. I’m a warrior. I’m fit. I am sexy. Why don’t I do this more often? I vow to drink green juice exclusively and wax every third week on the dot. I say I’ll go to classes at least eight times a month and that I’ll stop eating fries. I’ll reserve my razor for my legs only and remember to take an Advil 30 minutes before the next session. “I promise,” I vow. I promise.
But a week goes, two weeks go by and just as fast as waxed hair grows, it’s 12:00 PM on a distant Monday.
Or 12:05, rather.
-Edited by Leandra Medine