Lies and Fuzzy Legs

Delta Winds cover 2002Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College


Lies and Fuzzy Legs

Sarah Pope

Not so long ago, perhaps six months, I was robbed in my own living room; I was watching television. The thief did not have a gun or a knife, and she wasn't wearing a mask. Instead she used a message of hope and six lucky volunteers. Yes, sad to say, I was suckered by an infomercial.

Now I consider myself an intellectual person, someone who is not fooled by psychics and snake-oil peddlers; but this was painless hair removal! I am that woman with the razor burn, the princess of pain, the maestro of shrill screams and swear words. I can draw and paint in intricate detail, but apparently that gift does not extend to shaving. This evil commercial appealed to me on the most basic level. No pain . . . with gain.

The commercial started off with six average, smooth-legged women, sitting on a raised platform, smiling. Their messiah walks in and sits next to them in a short skirt and bleached blond hair. She says her name is Sue Ismiel and she has a wonderful product that she wants to share with the world named "Nads." (Nads, by the way, is named after Sue's oldest daughter Nadine. I never saw her in the commercial, possibly because she didn't survive the testing process; yes, I thought the wax was named after another shavable body part too.) This fabulous product started because Sue's darling little angel was a wolverine, so "Mommy Dearest" decided that little Natalie (the wolverine) needed to shave. Or something to that effect. To quote our sweet, lying promoter, "She could see in Natalie's eyes how much the excess body hair distressed the pretty girl." Poor fuzzy child.

Sue also says, "Although she said she was never teased at school, I knew she had low self-esteem . . . . She wanted to be a model, but I knew how self-conscious she was. She insisted on wearing long-sleeved clothing." My favorite misleading statement is, after Mommy Dearest experiments on her child, "That didn't hurt at all, Mummy," a delighted Natalie told Sue. "Her arm was lovely and smooth," Sue says. "We did it every three to four weeks to start with. We used it all over the body and soon her hair growth was less strong. It worked marvelously."

Good job, Sue. Great way to get customers -- exploit your own children. What a wonderful mother to rip the body hair off of your little darling so that the kids at school stop making milk-bone jokes.

However, at the time I was watching the Nads commercial, I was touched at Natalie's mother's selfless behavior. I watched the entire commercial without turning the channel back to "Ricki Lake's 101 Ways To Ruin Your Marriage." I was mesmerized by endless models ripping white cloths off of their legs and proclaiming it painless. I was enchanted by the little wolverine thanking her mother. I was brought to my knees with the "Super low price." I was bludgeoned to death with rhetoric and sent to call the Nads' hotline instead of 911.

I made my fantastic purchase in thirty seconds, completely secure in the knowledge that I would be fuzz-less and fancy free in only six short weeks. And then Satan's package arrived. Innocuous in a brown cardboard box, it was only about one foot cubed, and it weighed less than a pound. It could have been a bomb, but I ripped it open anyway. Inside was a small round plastic jar with "Nads" proclaimed proudly on the front, a set of white cloth strips, (the better to show the blood, my dear) and an instructional video.

Uh oh. An instructional video. The first red flag. An instructional video means that A) I am about to embark on a journey that is akin to brain surgery, or B) the Nads' executives assume that I'm not the swiftest Greyhound in the pack, so I need them to spell it out for me. Well, I was only going to watch "Ricki Lake" anyway, so I plugged in the video and got ready to be tortured.

As I sat on the couch watching the video, I began to get worried. There was only one lady demonstrating, and she kept saying little things like, "Now if you don't get all the hair at one time, re-apply the cloth." What? Re-apply? That doesn't sound like the commercial, but then I thought, maybe some people just have really thick hair, and she has to say that.

Second red flag, making excuses for the product. If you have to make excuses to justify what the instructional video says, as opposed to what the commercial said, you are in denial. You were sold a bad product.

Once the video was over it was time to try my new modern miracle. I followed the instructions exactly. First, I spread the goo on my leg in a small patch. Second, I pressed the cloth firmly onto the goo. Third, I smoothed out the cloth for optimal hair removal. Fourth, I took hold of the far corners of the cloth and ripped it off with a quick jerk. Last, (once my vision cleared and I stopped screaming) I realized three things: The models on the commercial were on morphine. Sue Ismeil needs to be paid a visit from Child Protective Services. I did not check to see if there was a "Money Back Guarantee."

I staggered over from the sink to the toilet and sat down to contemplate my folly. Even if I could take the pain of completing the procedure for both legs, I would have to be a masochist to use it on my bikini area. I did not really need it for anything else; who actually spends thirty-four dollars to wax their eyebrows? I looked down to make sure my leg was all right and discovered the next unpleasant surprise. That evil wax had only removed a little of the hair under the patch. I think I had a psychotic episode at that point, but I don't remember much.

Needless to say, I am never going to buy anything from the television again, unless GOD endorses it. I mean, how can people get away with ripping off the consumer like that? Even after all my attempts, it still would not remove my hair.

So I ask you this: Don't the people who place these commercials on television ever use these products? Can you, as a consumer, really believe that at least one corporate executive has not tried something of what they sell? Of course they have. But they are not responsible for the product on their shows. So as long the networks that broadcast these infomercials get paid, who cares? Well, someone needs to, but not I. I'm going to call my sister and see if she needs a "fantastic new way to remove hair." After all, Misery loves company, especially if Misery charges the mark-up price of forty-four dollars.