The lights overhead and behind flicker and hum, angels, she thinks, and short circuiting, and then quite slowly she reaches over the sink and plugs the electric razor into the socket where the tiles meet, and then the mirror over them, to the left the bath, right shower, tiles underneath as well and always the fan going whirr whirr but then the razor louder and it shakes her hand, connected to her arm and on down tits to belly and vagina and legs, then the feet, of course, where the hair will fall, onto the toes, onto the edge of the bench, sticks to the soap, she thinks, as it will, but first she had to cut her hair back short, this went shoulder to ear to eye and now ready for the razor, and this all came before with a towel to catch the strands and clumps not in the neck all itchy, she squirms, but now definitely, the razor and the first buzz as she holds it to the side of her face, then up, steady, out it all comes now and a matching spot on the other side, then across the fringe, wince as it catches, and over over, she turns and turns back, side to side, there’s a spot and there’s a spot, not very even, but still, across the top left left, center center, right right, the back next, which really is blind so she stretches around and around, from neck to crown up, from neck to ear up, from nape to fringe, no not possible, very very in patches, a long strand here and there, but all done. Out from the wall socket and brushed down with a towel, must wash that when all finished, and into the cupboard under the sink it goes, and under the sink there is some shaving cream, orange disposables with safety lids and she takes both the can and the packet and places them on the hair on the edge of the bench and fills the sink with hot water.

As the water hits, and steam rises up, and all the little hairs go roundabout the middle, she squirts some foam onto her hand and puts the foam on her head, then a bit more, and then making sure to rub it in she goes round about the spiked and prickly like the little hairs bobbing as the sink fills, to wash now she dips her hands into the hot water, can’t hold for long, and then to the taps to turn them off, and behind on the red and blue tops some hairy foam and drips of murky water. Thank goodness for the whirr whirr, keeping that nasty steam away, and then dips the orange into the sink and starts with the strokes, slowly, and at first not too many cuts, but then the thin bloodsnakes wriggle, and into the water with the orange razor, and a big shake, and all the little hairs go roundabout again, and more strokes, more blood spots and drips, down over her ears, this is going going, and the next razor already, and there into and there the shake and the top is done. Next the sides, like before, another razor, shake, hairs, and then the back, another shake, and hairs, razor, and now cuts here and here and here, with the towel for the washing she is very careful, not drying or scrubbing, just holding and turning, and all done, except for the face. So she puts foam on her eyebrows and then it’s off with them, underneath the red forms in thick lines, and no shake but the razor straight in the bin with the others.

Next comes the over and underarms, so the foam on thin over and thicker under, and plenty of disposables in the bag, so out one comes, into cloudy hairy water, and from the shoulder she strokes down. Long strokes now, then the water, long strokes now, and then the water, from there to her wrist, stroke, water, done. The next arm is the same, long strokes, all the fine little hairs, same razor, water cooling down but enough foam to keep the blood away, and the blood stays away, then they’re done all. Underarms is quick, different razor, but quick, and little strokes, fast, down down down, water, down down down cut water, towel for both and now smooth, runs a hand over both, then her face, then her head and now razor in the bin and ready for the next.

Should have used the electric razor first, she thinks, but foam on her hands and into her pubic hair. More. More. Until all white with black spots through, only then to put the razor in the water, but for this she sits, on the bath edge, and her legs open like that, one hand pulls the skin tight. Very slowly starts from inside out, down, insideout, down. Other side, insideout, down, inside out, down, and done. The rest goes now, always kept short, not so short as this, and the white and black comes away from the strokes and her skin underneath. Stroke. And across, slowly, stroke, and across. The first line done, and the same for the next, only even more careful now, and with it the water drips down and spreads out along her legs, slowly stroke. Another razor, very very careful, stroke, she doesn’t use the towel until all finished, and so even more careful, mostly skin now, and the sound of the strokes, very slowly. Almost all skin, and she bends over with her face very close, blinking more, wipes the murky sweat from her eyes, very. Slowly. And then the towel, and she stays sitting.

The legs as usual. Razor across, after foam. She goes up. Up. Up. And shakes. Not wetting. Just up and up. Arches her foot and turns. Up. Higher though now up. Stroke. Across her thigh then up. And then the drip of water. Same razor and she starts again. Up to her knees, quickly, but then higher and she. Slows down. Stroke. And again higher, to her thighs, and the water drips. Stroke. Very slow, towards. And. Away. Stroke. Then the razor in the bin, the towel against her and she stands and in the mirror she is.

And from her head to her face she strokes, and across her arms, and slowly down to her vagina, and then her legs, the top. She bends. Then to the bottom. And back. Up. The lights. Flicker. Str.oke. Stro

Title taken from the Diane Arbus photograph of the same name.

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