Bikini Lines

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Painting by Claire Whitehurst

I am frantically shaving my bikini line with a dull razor. Coarse black pubic hairs and blood everywhere, but I keep going. Have to hurry. He will be here soon to pick me up.

I am changing my clothes (need to remind myself: try not to try too hard) but can’t look like a slob. There are bits of tissue stuck all over the nicks where I shaved. I am so itchy down there, I did not do this properly but it’s too late. I am throwing something lacy over the bloody, stubbly rash I’ve created. College is hard when your parents are Asian immigrants and frat boys in the south think you’re a foreign exchange student. This guy was wasted when we met; he thinks I was a white girl that dyed my hair black, but I have to ignore that and seize the moment cause this is what youth is supposed to be like, right? Carpe Diem, like they said in Clueless.

Girls in the sorority house living room are giving me advice. They are telling me to not tell any of my long-winded stories or talk too much. Also, laugh so he knows I know he’s funny. Don’t get offended and bitchy if he tells a racist joke. Use a condom. Open up my throat. Take a Claritin for my allergies so I won’t snore. Steal one of his t-shirts. I tell them, don’t worry, I shaved my bikini line.

tumblr_m5l2etyVvi1rwgbgfo1_1280I don’t tell them that I don’t understand how to “open up my throat” and that my orthodontist says I have a small mouth and low-producing salivary glands. I silently wonder if that will really be an impediment. The one time in high school with my ex-boyfriend, I didn’t know about opening up my throat and I was drunk so I think my teeth hurt him but I couldn’t feel anything and all I could think about was this Cosmo article about imagining eating a popsicle when you’re going down on your man, but he just kept saying, Ouch, and then my jaw got tired because it’s really nothing like eating a popsicle, so I stopped and went to sleep. But I was seventeen then, I was young, dumb, and you know the rest.

I am chugging a solo cup full of boxed wine and popping a Claritin for my allergies. Sarah Beth said it would be more fun if I am buzzed. Now I am racing up the stairs to brush my teeth. Crest’s spearmint and Franzia’s Chillable Red taste so terrible together. I gag while brushing my tongue.

We drive to his apartment in a giant black F150 truck. At his place, he tells me a joke on his couch about cows, or at least I think that’s what he said.

Painting by Zoe Carnes-Douglas

Painting by Zoe Carnes-Douglas

I ask, What? twice and then say, I don’t get it. I can’t understand his southern drawl. He calls me a city gal. There is a moment of uncomfortable silence, and then I kiss him to distract from my terrible misstep of not laughing at his joke about maybe-cows. His saliva is on my chin, I mean, I know its not mine because I don’t produce that much saliva, and I want to stop to wipe it but I think that might derail the make out and he’ll start telling jokes again that I’ll forget to laugh at.

We move to the bedroom. His sheets are green and brown camouflage. Before I can stop myself I say, Where’s your bed? I don’t see it. He doesn’t laugh but says good one. He says he’s surprised I can see anything with those chinky eyes of mine. I guess this means he knows my hair isn’t dyed. He says ching chong ching and asks if I know what he’s saying. I tell him no. I wish I could say something more cutting, but it is all so cliché that I can only say no.

I ask him where the bathroom is because I suddenly feel disgusting and need to look at myself in the mirror, and he says last door on the right at theend of the hallway. I walk to the end of the hallway but don’t stop and walk down the stairs. I am walking in the dark along Nicholson Avenue. I am walking, my legs are mechanical. I am walking away and I feel embarrassed but think, maybe I shouldn’t feel embarrassed, but that doesn’t help the embarrassment. I am disappointed I did not steal a shirt, I am disappointed I wasted a Claritin, I am embarrassed, I am disappointed, disappointed.

I stop at the pharmacy to buy Neosporin for my bloody bikini line and walk home.

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