Many moons ago I worked as a Beauty Therapist.
I went to college and with a bit of luck and a fair wind (OK, alot of study and hard work) I passed my exams, qualified to both GB and International standards and by the end of it I could name every bone and muscle in the body. I could tell you how all the major systems of the body worked (digestive, pulmonary etc), I could do every kind of facial practised back then, waxing (back, sack ‘n’ cracks were not common in those days, nor were Hollywoods and Brazilians!), pedicures/manicures, full body massages, could give make-up lessons and knew all about electrolysis.
Never heard of electrolysis? You insert a fine needle into the hair follicle, an electric current passes from the needle to the hair root to destroy it and prevent further growth. Although it can be permanent, it’s a very slow process with no guarantee that the hair is destroyed the first time. You also have to concentrate otherwise you can tear the follicle and cause scarring, which is permanent.
After I graduated I got a job in London and moved here. My company required all their staff to complete an induction course including electrolysis and waxing at their centre in Fulham. I stayed in a flat just off High Street Kensington (the house was owned by an eccentric American who lived on the ground floor and liked chatting to me most evenings when he was pissed!) and travelled to Fulham every day.
What we did not know at first was that the centre catered mainly for men of a certain persuasion including drag queens and pre and post-op transsexuals and what a cast of characters they turned out to be!
One chap who came in for leg waxing had wonderfully manicured long nails, better than mine have ever been and long glossy blonde locks that would rival any 1940’s Hollywood pin-up! He wore a hint of a tint of make-up; just a bit of foundation, mascara and lip gloss and always tried to get me to do his bikini line even though he knew he was not allowed to ask that.
Upon entering the cubicle, he would take off his trousers, enveloping me in a cloud of talcum powder and settle himself on the couch. When I had finished and was moisturising his legs, he would look at me slyly and whisper “Can you do my bikini?” whilst pulling up the sides of his knickers and spreading his legs.
No love, you presented with me your buttocks when I was doing the backs of your legs, now you are showing me your meat and two veg. I know that you are not in the
vagina business so am not trying to entice me, even so, please put it away! I would give him a Paddington Bear hard stare and whisper “You know I can’t do that” He would just smile.
Another client worked as a drag queen and was having the hair on his chest and back removed by electrolysis, an hours treatment each time. I told him he would probably be better off getting it waxed but he preferred to have electrolysis. He had alot of very strong black hair which he kept trimmed when performing. Luckily I’m not put off by hairy men as Dad was a furry bear so never grimaced when he took his top off.
His chatter about his act and his life was hilarious and scandalous in equal measure! Good grief, he used to make himself blush but I loved it! Yes, yes I know I’m a tart; I’ll be slipping into the corset later and I’ll get the whips and handcuffs out if you are good, or naughty…
He always brought a battered enamel mug with him and I thought it was strange the first time until I learnt why. A few minutes into that treatment, he reached into his bag, produced a bottle of brandy, poured some into the mug and sipped regularly topping up when necessary. Perhaps it numbed the pain as electrolysis can be very painful, especially for the more hirsute amongst us, perhaps he was just a pisshead, I don’t know. All I do know is that his speech became more slurred as the hour progressed, and more secrets tumbled out!
I have no idea what the tutors thought about this but they kept their counsel. I guess they knew that I wasn’t easily offended or shocked, so, they put him with me. He would always offer me a drink which I refused, of course. Can you imagine how good his treatment would have been if I had got as drunk as him! And sure enough by the time the hour was up, the bottle was empty and he was incapable of walking in a straight line.
Then we had the souls that were going through the sex change. Some were extremely confident and totally at ease with their path, happy to talk about themselves and their treatment. Others were still coming to terms with what they were going through and sad because their families shunned them being unable or unwilling to accept their lifestyle.
One chap liked me to treat him, I don’t know why. I guess he sensed that I would let him talk out his pain and I knew that he just needed someone to LISTEN to him. As I said before, not much shocks me so as I worked on his chest hair, he told me about his unhappy childhood, his therapy and medication in the run up to his operation.
I guess I should refer to him as female, because you have to live as a woman for a good year before the operation, and even though he tried to dress in a more feminine way, he still looked very much like a man. I also gave him make-up tips as he needed some advice in that direction. Ladies (and gentlemen), blend, blend, blend. If you do nothing else, do this as having a foundation line is never a good look!
Quite often after his treatment I would see him standing outside the toilets trying to make up his mind whether to use the gents or the ladies; sometimes he chose the gents, sometimes the ladies…
During my seven years working as a Beauty Therapist, my main clientele was of course female, but I was up close and personal with many men, and all of them had to take some/most of their clothes off in front of me *ahem*. Ah, the number of bodies I touched as I did facials, waxing, body massages and electrolysis on them! All in a non-sexual way you understand but some fantasies were being worked harder than others it has to be said!
However, I have never forgotten my time working at that centre. I still think about the people I treated and wonder what happened to them. I hope that wherever they are, they are happy.