I have this friend who is literally the funniest person I know, and I have some pretty funny friends, such as Marcy, JPEG and D-Chase, so when I say this, I am not even slightly exaggerating. In fact, I am not ashamed to say, that throughout my teens, she made my pee my pants laughing on at least 10 different occasions (my mom told me that I was particularly vulnerable to this because “my bladder was still growing”, which sounds super made up when I think about it now). Her wit was, and continues to be razor sharp, and this woman can manage to make anyone crack up.
For our intents and purposes, she shall be known in this post as “Veruca Salt”. I deem her this for 3 reasons:
When I first met her, she reminded me of the stuck-up girl from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, named “Veruca Salt”
Related to reason 1, this friend has a particularly troubling relationship with the 1971 film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, in that she is terrified of it… well, more specifically, this.
And, finally, since our friendship really blossomed in the 1990’s we can consider her name as a nod to the mostly female grunge band “Veruca Salt”, and also because, we, like every teenage girl in the 90’s loved this.
In addition to being hilarious, Ver is incredibly confident and comfortable. She’s just as content when she gains ten pounds as she is when she loses ten pounds. She eats what she wants. In fact, she once had a “Mac-off” (which entails eating Big Macs competitively) with her brother, and won, consuming 7 burgers consecutively. Another time I went to grab lip gloss out of her purse and came up with a sour cream glazed donut, because she threw it in there earlier.
“What? I always get a donut when I get a coffee, and if I’m not hungry for it yet, I throw it in my purse for later…” (muttered to me indignantly)
Because of this level of comfort, I feel that she’ll be ok with me sharing the story of her journey towards realizing that she had a bit of a moustache.
I always noticed that Ver had a little upper lip hair, but figured that she was aware of its presence, and genuinely didn’t care that it was there. It seemed consistent with her general attitude towards herself. She is one of the only women to effectively resist the impact of a culture that makes most of us scrutinize all of our body parts. In fact, I think that she is the sole survivor. But, it turns out that it wasn’t the case that she had come to terms with her upper lip hair; she was just in denial. I discovered this one day when we walked by the place where she gets her nails done.
Veruca: “This is where I get my pedi’s done. They don’t do a bad job. But, they always try to up sell me. When I was there yesterday, my pedicurist asked me if I wanted them to wax my moustache. Can you believe it?”
Me: “Yeah! You’re happy with the way you look, and you accept your moustache. If she doesn’t like it, then that’s her ish.”
Veruca: “What? Wait! ‘My moustache’? I have a moustache??” (she is shocked and visibly rattled)
Me: “Well… yeah.” (there’s no turning back. It’s time to level with her)
Veruca: “Why would you say that?”
Me: (pulling out a compact, and lifting it to her face, in the natural light of the outdoors) “Because you do.”
Veruca: “I have a fucking moustache!!!” (she admits, while stroking her upper lip hairs, looking horrified into my compact)
Me: “I thought that you knew. I would have told you sooner otherwise.”
As we walked home, I helped Veruca come to terms with her facial hair. She understandably had a lot of questions. I assured her that I, like many of our other friends occasionally use Nair. She even made me mass text them “You have a moustache that you Nair. True or False?”, and when the results of our poll came in, she forced me to go to the drug store with her boyfriend, and spend my money on Nair. Her logic was that since I broke the news, the least I could do was pay.
That evening we drank wine and Naired our upper lips.
By the next morning, she had gotten over the trauma.
Me: “Good morning! How are you?”
Veruca: “I’m great. I feel like I can do anything. There’s no moustache holding me back!”
Although I was sad to see that Ver hadn’t eluded this form of bodily shame, I was happy that I was able to be there for her throughout this process.
To this day, she texts me whenever she uses Nair.
But, I miss her moustache and what it symbolizes.