Certain women of my vintage will recall that before stealing your dad’s razor to shave your legs the first time, you looked for something… something a little less prone to involuntary bloodletting. Not wax – I don’t even recall waxing being on my radar – no, you went and poked around in the chemist and discovered the SilkyMit.
A glorified sandpaper (for those familiar with sandpaper it looks and feels like a fine wet and dry 600grit); it was in the form of a hand warmer, slipping over your four fingers. The sandpaper was on both sides of the ‘mit’ so that when one was exhausted by hair, you could turn it around to the unused part.
It seemed to me to be a fantastic idea. Sandpapering your leg-hair away! Awesome! I could have hairless legs and be like the cool girls who smoked Alpine Lights around the back of the building and had actual conversations with actual boys. No re-creating the shower scene from psycho with one unfortunate slip of a Bic disposable.
I assume that the way the hair disappears is the same way bumps on wood disappear – smoothed away by an abrasive surface. The packet requests that you rub that uncool hairy bit of skin clockwise, and then counter clockwise – so I think, in addition to the general sandpaper smoothing theory, the SilkyMit is also doing that thing that happens to a loose tooth hanging by a thread: when you turn it one way with your tongue, and then the other way, you’re weakening the strand/gum and the tooth departs the confines of your mouth.
So while polishing your hair away, the circular movements assist in it parting ways with your leg, thus saving you from potential skin-easement.
Either online somewhere or out and about, I read about the re-emergence of the SilkyMit. Had I been a smarter person I would have queried why on earth such a fabulous invention had ever dropped from everybody’s weekly self-maintenance list in the first place. Had it ever been seen in the wild after 1991? But being not-so-smart, had I happened to consider that scenario I would have presumed that people were now using laser technology to defuzz – millennium-stylez.
Obviously I am the white pasty result of my first Tasweigian winter and this means that the bits of hair I now – at age 47 – object to on my legs (the bits in the three inches of leg above each ankle) have not had a chance to be sunbleached to a palatable hue, but instead look like I am actually part yak. It’s unfortunate, I know, but why should I care? Who is there to see it? It’s not people seeing it I care about – I care because I KNOW IT’S THERE. So of course, I bought a packet of SilkyMit that I planned to use in an opportune moment of solitude during my Holiday of Me (and all the animals that live on the vineyard).
What possessed me to try it out on the first night of my solo-stay I am not sure. Possibly I felt that smooth, yak-free shins might heighten my solitary experience. It may well have done, but then I typed in a google query that is neon in its wrongness:
“Can you use the Silkymit on other parts of your body?”
First thing that comes up is some woman ranting about how the SilkyMit is an instrument of torture. I discount that in view of the other eleventy thousand places that say “Yaaaassss!! SURE!”
A major tactical error. Not only do I attack the yak – being immediately twanged back to 1987 – I also have a go at my underarms, which have been cloaked in their wintery tendrils. Never fear! SilkyMit is here!! So this is what happens; ten minutes later my ankles are quite silky and 80% less yak. My underarms, on the other hand, are stubbornly furry and sting like I’ve just poured hot wax over them.
I dance around the very tiny bathroom with my hands up in the air like some Hillsong protege, hailing the lord. I. CAN’T. PUT. MY. ARMS. DOWN. It’s hard to search for some kind of soothing cream to apply, but I manage. I smear it on. It takes a nanosecond for me to start screaming because if I thought it hurt before? That was NOTHING.
ARRRRRRRGGGHHHH! The dogs start barking in response to my shrieking, and all I can do is smoosh a cold wet face washer under one armpit and then the other. It hurts like a very unprintable rude word. I keep repeating omigod omigod omigod omigod while moving about – must keep moving about – I remember that feeling during my first labour.
The pain Did. Not. Calm. Down. I eased my sad stupid self into bed and lay there with throbbing pits and anxious ankles. In the morning, there was no improvement. My underarms hurt like buggery. They were bright furious red and agonisingly sensitive. It took three days for them to become tolerable enough that I could forget about them a bit more. But then my ankles started making themselves known. They too turned red and angry and SO. GODDAMN. ITCHY.
I’d get halfway through the day, or return from dog walking, and have to rip off my shoes and socks. Thank god for the Holy Hydrosol. Friend of rashy people everywhere. If I applied it twice a day I was able to stop thoughts of scratching my lower legs until they bled. It’s now been six days and I still have bodily evidence of SilkyMit trauma. Don’t go there. Sandpaper has no place on your bod.