It always begins at 12:00 PM on a Monday. Or 12:05 PM, rather.
I’m anxious because I’ve missed the official Go Time to sign up for the SoulCycle class that my friends are taking (we have to get Parker or else the world allegedly ends). The reason I was five-past is because I was on hold with the receptionist at Benefit, nervously biting my nails, waiting to hear if Nicky was available for a Brazilian wax on Friday. Same rule applies: get Nicky or else.
I always secretly hope all of Parker’s spots will fill. I also always pray Nicky will be booked. Not today. Today I got un-lucky and booked both. This has shed light on a crude 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 have no tolerance for pain, I am chronically tardy and a woman of many totes. Being late to Soul Cycle means that I don’t take a storage locker so all of my stuff just sits there — and sometimes I get side-eyed for it. Being late to a wax means leaving my coat on then apologizing profusely, already sweating three minutes too soon.
The instructor or waxer — effectively one and the same — then patiently waits as I get myself situated. Both instances are awkward, because one requires straddling a tiny seat while adjusting the handle bars (try not to fall face forward and die!), simultaneously “clipping in” to stirrups (try not to fall face forward and die!); the other requires that I take my pants off and lie flat on my back. The latter is simpler in practice but just as awkward in theory, and both beg the very same question: do I keep my socks on or what?
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 pass out.
Drip, pat, rip, scream.
That was strip number one, song number two and there’s still an entire ladyhood to cover.
Left, right, left, right. Stupid Jenny up front is messing with my groove. I’m trying to keep my pedaling in sync with my inhaling and exhaling but it’s a hard task when Missy Elliott’s “Pass The Dutch” is already too fast for my breathing. “Inhale,” shouts the instructor, “Here comes the hill!”
Just as I am preparing to catch more breath, another glob of intolerably hot wax tears hair from its follicles. Abs crunch inward with the lower back flat, just like the instructor wants. The hill is always the worst.
With the most painful portion of the activity behind me, I’m finally able to relax. I’m chugging mantras like The Little Engine That Could. I think I can, I think I can — OUCH! SHIT! I know I can!
We’re toward 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, always just a bit confused because — shouldn’t my butt hurt more?
Keep pedaling, keep breathing, it’s not over ’til the bald lady sings.
Just as 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!” Here’s me pushing through the final minute, teeth clenched. Almost done.
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 promise,” I vow. I promise.
But one weeks, two weeks, three weeks go by…and just as fast as waxed hair grows, it’s 12:00 PM on a distant Monday.
Or 12:05, rather.