Today's story is a continuation from yesterday's post about letters to my teachers around sex and sexual energy. I sat down yesterday evening and wrote this story, and it came through for me out of nowhere. I felt inspired to share it on my Facebook blog page, which is different than my main profile page. It's a space where I write more personal stuff. The responses from people over there made me cry, and are giving me courage to keep speaking up.
Below is the story I wrote yesterday, but today I've included a new perspective for my hour writing practice. I inquired to myself why I didn't report Da** back in 1997.
May this story be of benefit to you, or someone else, and may it remind you that every experience matters and needs a witness in order to heal and release it. So keep speaking up.
I wonder sometimes what happened to you and if any young woman got the courage to speak up. Then again, I wanted to, but didn’t know what to say and to whom.
It was 1997, and I was 19, a sophomore at University of Colorado at Boulder and you owned a waxing company on the outskirts of town called Li***** L***. So many girls from University of Colorado went to you to keep their feminine area looking landscaped because your fliers were everywhere on campus. Your office was in a strip mall looking complex off of Arapaho Blvd but it had both residential and businesses in the complex which seemed bizarre.
In your 10x10 office you had cd’s, music records and posters nailed all over your ceiling and guitars all over the walls and there was a fridge, microwave, cabinets and a small tv on the counter. You were in your 50’s, had a grey haired crew cut and you were kinda pudgy in some parts. You’d answer your office door after my knock looking like you’d just woken up or I’d just rang the doorbell of your house unexpectedly.
You’d wear awkwardly short 80’s running shorts, showcasing your hairy muscular legs, and you’d be wearing white socks that went up to your knees and had thick stripes around the top. You’d be in a tank top and it didn’t matter what the weather was doing outside, your outfit remained the same; the only difference was you’d have a bathrobe on if it was winter. The common bathroom and waiting chairs for the business complex were down the hall, so sometimes if I arrived a minute early I’d see you or another young girl in the hallway coming from the restroom and you’d sometimes enthusiastically greet me as Hilary, which I hated. But I didn’t correct you. I sometimes wondered if you slept there which I guess didn’t matter, but I thought for a moment was weird. I think what made this office scene more normal was how nonchalant you were about it. You didn’t make your office come across as an out of the ordinary waxing office, so I didn’t either. And somehow it wasn’t awkward when you’d ask me to take off my pants and underwear and get on the waxing table that had stirrups and looked like it was from my obgyn’s office. Wasn't I supposed to get paper underwear of some sort? Again, you acted like this protocol of being naked waist down was totally normal, so I did too.
There would always be a show like “Price is Right”, “Peoples Court” or “Jeopardy” playing on the small antenna Tv on the counter next to the wax pot. The tv had your attention even during our waxing appointments, so it made me feel like you could give a shit whether or not I was naked waist down lying on the table. So I got oddly comfortable with it. And pretty soon I’d be walking into your office, putting my purse & keys down, stripping down and hopping up onto your table like you were my friend and we were about to have coffee and catch up. Next to the wax table, was a narrower table that looked like a shallow bathtub. It had jets. I never asked.
You had several different options for your waxing services; it could be just the underwear line, just the butt crack, you could leave a landing strip (a thin strip down the middle), you’d take it all off in a Brazilian, or you could do a shape, like an X, or an H (I tried both over the extended time I went to you for waxing). It was fun and you were fun; because you were so innocently weird. I trusted you because you seemed harmless.
I kept going to you because it was a service I needed and it felt fun to have so many waxing options. Plus, after 20 waxes I’d get an upgrade to a free body treatment. I didn’t know what that meant, but I plugged along towards my 20 waxes for the pot of gold at the end. And when the time came for me to make my appt for my bonus prize, you told me to wear a bikini to the appt, which seemed totally fine. But when I arrived for my appointment and stripped down to my bikini, you told me it would be easier if I wasn’t wearing my bikini. At that point I felt my body get tense in confusion. “But then I’d be naked” I said. And with your eyes on the television, you mechanically told me it’s less messy and easier for you without the bathing suit. And so I took my bikini off and stood in front of you totally naked suddenly aware of how fucked up this scene was.
But it wasn’t like a scream and run out the door kind of fucked up; it was quiet and chilling. It felt too late for me to express that this wasn’t what I wanted anymore and grab my clothes and run out the office door, so I followed your instructions and stepped onto the stool beside the narrow metal table that I'd wondered about, that now had water shooting into it from the jets. I climbed onto the wet table that had a pillow and I laid down. You thought I was shaking because I was cold but I was shaking because I was so scared and unprepared for what was happening. I felt like I wanted to cry when I felt your cold hands make contact with my body, and you rubbed the heavily perfumed exfoliant wash all over my body in slow circular motions. This included my breasts, my torso, all around my legs, my thighs, all around my vagina and around my butt crack after you told me to go on all 4’s.
I wanted to fast forward to the end of this hell and get the fuck out. I was 19; I trusted you, but this was violating. It was as though you’d betrayed a relationship you’d been building with my private parts through waxing, and you finally became the creepy old man I hoped you weren’t when you first asked me to take off my underwear and put my legs up in the stirrups for my wax.
After the experience was over and I was all rinsed off, you gave me a towel and then went into the corner and stared silently at the tv. What the fuck was that?! It felt like I’d just been raped, but by your hands, and now you were waiting to see how I liked it. But that conclusion also sounded insane to be yelling at myself in my head. I didn’t bring my purse or wallet into this session because this was my free bonus treatment for reaching the 20 waxes. But there you stood so awkwardly; like a doorman who’d helped me with my luggage and was now waiting for a tip. I didn’t want to tip you; I wanted to call the police on you, or put up a sign in the women’s bathroom on campus warning everyone about you. Because I knew there were more women out there with a waxing punch card. And I couldn’t have been the only one who tried multiple designs of their pubic hair in order to achieve all the 20 punches.
But instead of speaking my mind and expressing my confusion and outrage at what had just happened, I ducked my head and left your office. I didn’t say thank you and I didn’t reschedule like I always do; instead I ran-walked to my truck, raced out of the parking lot and pulled over far enough down the road that I knew you couldn’t find me in your sock feet. And I cried.
After that experience I was terrified of letting any professional go near my private parts again. I let all my pubic hair grow in fully and I did my best to heal from any memory of you, and many years later found laser hair removal from a professional doctor's office, where I knew I'd be safe. I hoped some other woman had the courage to speak up if you did this to her and let you know something was very off and quite fucked up about your bonus body treatment.
Why didn’t I report you? Because I was 19, I was in college, I was alone, I was confused, I was scared and I didn’t think anyone would care. There were much bigger problems happening in the world and in Boulder than my little discomfort. And it felt like I’d be laughed at if I went into the Boulder County police station, where serious crimes are being processed, and I tell them about the eccentric wax man who I'd let wax me for over a year, go too far. Shame and embarrassment kept me quiet and I turned unprocessed anger in on myself that I soberly let it all happen.
Thankfully it's time to release it. And that's what this writing space is for.
So D***, from Li***** L*** in Boulder, Colorado, I forgive you. And I release you and our experience.