The Planet buzzed with its usual morning chatter, women, men, boys, and girls all gathered over mugs of steaming coffee and fresh baked croissant. This was where half-zombified folk rose from their crisp linens, bathed, dressed, and came to the place that they'd need to kick start their day, to quell their need for caffeine and morning gossip. Amongst those, was a particularly lively group, each noted as a regular, and each a bit notorious in the lesbian community and otherwise. Perhaps this was due to the fact that one of their members could single-handedly account for the conversion of 95 of bisexual women with her boyish charm and rough-around-the-edges good-looks. Perhaps this notoriety was from the renowned art-guru, the magazine writer, or even from the Lesbian tennis star, that had closeted butches cheering from coast to coast.
Despite their well-known reputations, one simple thing brought them together- friendship. Exes, girlfriends, and just honest to goodness friends, they were there, every morning. Alice was usually the first to arrive, with an almost-silent Shane in tow. It was a known fact that Shane didn't say a word in the morning until her caffeine boost, mostly because she hadn't gone to bed yet. The others filed in on their own time and the hours of 7:30-9:15 were spent in good company at their standard table on the patio- weather permitting.
On this particular morning, Alice was raking a hand through her choppy blonde locks and sipping on her usual Chai that Marina had made special for her. She was never one for strong caffeine and with the knowledge she had from reading every issue of Cosmo and Curve, she knew how bad caffeine actually was to a person. The heroin of the soda machine. Watching Shane wolf down another steaming espresso, she smirked and basked in her self-knowing power, having repeated the same mantra to Shane thousands of times, though the brunette never listened, and constantly told Alice that "she'd go when she was ready."
A familiar 'Good morning' alerted the two sitting at the still somewhat empty table and Bette and Tina filed into their respective seats, kissing each others' hands and stealing long, doe-eyed glances, acting as though no one else was around. Bette whispered in Tina's ear and Tina grinned, whispering back. Alice stared in amazement, brows lofted in only the way that she could.
Clearing her throat, she let out an agitated, "Alright, you fucked all night, we understand."
Bette smirked coyly and adjusted her perfectly tailored Gucci jacket, settling it over the crispness of the cream-colored blouse beneath. "Pardon us for displaying the semblances of a happy couple, Alice."
Alice rolled her eyes, "Display all you want, but, I'm trying to drink here..."
Tina laughed and got up from the table, patting Alice's shoulder as she walked by her. Bette watched as Alice's agitated face grew, if possible, more annoyed, and she interlocked her fingers, making a pillow for her chin. "I take it a one Miss Gabrielle Devaux still hasn't called you?"
"Nope, she hasn't called her, and she's surly as all hell..." Shane piped up, scrubbing a hand through her stringy black hair.
"It lives!" Alice proclaimed, sucking down the last of her Chai and beginning to take her frustrations out on a nearby bran muffin, stealing it from its safe haven on the basket perched on the table. Shoving a chunk into her mouth she sighed. "I mean...wha mor do I haff to do?"
"Dump her..." Tina said as she arrived back with two mugs of coffee, sliding one to her partner and keeping the other for herself. "She's no good for you Alice, look how miserable you are."
"Easy for you to say, you're like the fricken Lucy and Desi of the lesbian world." Alice said after swallowing the hunk of muffin and deciding her best bet was to remain cynical, especially when it came to love.
"Listen, Al, even Lucy and Desi had their problems. Rome wasn't built in a day. Dump her and move on, or you'll never find what's better for you." Shane gruffed out in her all-knowing way.
"Thank you, Confucius."
The lithe brunette grinned, "Anytime, Al. My infinite Zen wisdom extends from one end of the lesbian spectrum to another. Wax on, wax off...rub on, get off." Shane gave her best Mr. Miyagi.
The group erupted into a guffaw as Dana pulled up her normal chair, face pulled in a frown as she did so. She looked at each familiar face expectantly. "So, you've heard about it...huh? Great. I'm sure the message boards are crawling with freaks who are trying to download before and after shots."
Alice looked inquisitively to her tennis-playing friend and shook her head. "What'd I tell you about those Boost bars...they're like taking a friggen upper. What's your beef?"
Dana's lower lip nearly quivered at this and she fiddled with the strings on her hoodie, all but throwing her keys and cell phone onto the cafe table. "Sports Illustrated wants me for a photo shoot."
Bette smiled and looked in the direction of her friend. "Congratulations, Sweetie, that's quite a reputable magazine."
"Yeah, Dane, why so sad? That's fucking awesome. I can like, put your picture on my mirror at work." Shane raised her espresso in the direction of Dana.
Dana lowered her head into her grey-sleeved arms and stroked at her ponytail, letting off a defeated sigh. "No, they want me in a swimsuit." Came her muffled response.
Alice whistled and patted Dana's shoulder, hoisting her friend back up to her normal sitting position. "Okay, come on...listen, Dana, you have a really great bod, and I'm sure, you know, they'll airbrush it all smooth and deity-like, so just calm down, it's going to be just fine."
Dana's eyes bugged a little. "You think I need airbrushed? Great. Great!" She slid her hands through her hair, mussing up the ponytail it was in. "First a bikini wax, then airbrushing...fantastic."
"Whoa, slow down there, tiger. A bikini wax? Is that what you're so worked up about?" Alice's head went from her own self-pity to the predicament of her friend.
"Yes...YES! Okay. I have an appointment in like a half and hour to get my wooter waxed."
"Wooter?" Tina asked, nearly choking on the coffee in her mug.
"You know what I mean." Dana whined in response.
"Dane, a bikini wax isn't all that bad, I got one done once...I mean, it's like a haircut for your pussy..." Shane said nonchalantly, breaking apart another muffin on the table, watching as countless crumbs rolled all over the surface.
Bette laughed at that and took a dignified sip of java. "Really, Dana it's no big deal, I get them all the time. As long as you tell your waxer it's your first time it'll be fine, trust me." The curly-tressed one shot her a wink and Tina nudged her gently.
"Lots of bush confidence, this one." Tina added in a sultry tone, making Alice grimace again.
"Do you want me to come with you, Dane?" Alice asked, rubbing her friend's slumped shoulders.
"Would you? Thanks Al, you're the best." Dana's mood seemed to brighten substantially at the fact her friend would be tagging along to help her through this trying experience.
"Sure, what are friends for- holding each other's hands while Helga the hermaphrodite waxes away your pubic hair."
"Oh, Alice!" Bette groaned and rolled her eyes. "You're supposed to be making her feel better."
"Helga?" Dana blinked and dropped her head back down on the table. "I don't even know why I bother getting out of bed."
Alice shook her head, collected her keys along with her cell phone and stood up, smoothing her hands over her ruffled white shirt down to the top of her shorter black skirt. Striding over to Dana she took her by the shoulders and helped her up. "Okay, sourpuss, it's time to go, where is this appointment?"
Dana stood wearily to her feet, looking more like a wet rag than a Class-A tennis player. "Hair by Sampson."
"Oh that place is tit, they have the hottest chicks working there, you're going to be in heaven, Dana." Shane chuckled and gave the girls a wave before checking the time on her own phone and flipping it open, most likely responding to a text message from the girl she left in her bed this morning.
Alice handed Dana her keys and phone as well and gestured to the street where she was parked. "Alright, I'm driving, so come on."
A few moments later, Alice and Dana were in the driver and passenger seat of the blonde's blue Mini Cooper, listening to Tegan and Sara, which always seemed to put Dana in a better mood- except for today, of course. The lyrics of 'Walking with a Ghost' reminded her of a shadow, which reminded her of stubble, which of course reminded her of the waxing. The brunette stared aimlessly out the window, eyes wide with anticipation, as if she were a puppy headed to the vets to get spayed. When they pulled up to the flashy high-rising building and Alice parked the car on the street, Dana let off a whimper.
"Please don't make me do this..." She pleaded, gripping onto the seatbelt.
Alice calmly reached over and unbuckled the belt, shaking her head. "Alright, but it's your ass when you don't get all this publicity. Think about how proud your lesbian fan base is going to be when they're flipping through their Sports Illustrated and catch you on one of the pages. They're gonna be all 'wow, Dana Fairbanks, she's a big lezzie icon now. Good thing I came out of the closet, just like her.'"
"Wow, you sure know how to lay it on thick."
"You can thank Lenore for that, now come on." Alice said as she put the car in park and fished for some quarters from her unused ashtray. Plunking about a half-dozen into the meter, the two made their way into the doors of 'Hair by Sampson' and were greeted by a flamboyant receptionist, whose pretty pink lip gloss matched the shade of the barrette in his platinum hair.
"Hello ladies, welcome to Hair By Sampson. My Names Lycra, and I'm just wondering your names and what you're here for. If you don't have an appointment you could jus-"
"I do!" Dana piped up, cutting Lycra off. "I mean, sorry, I do have an appointment, for 9:00 with Elsie, I think."
Lyrca bent his head, arching one of his perfectly manicured eyebrows and nodded, finding the appointment in the book. "Dana Fairbanks. Oh my God, Dana Fairbanks. My boyfriend is so a huge fan of yours." His hand splayed out over the tight material of black t-shirt clinging to his chest and Alice watched as Dana's eyes lit up.
"Really? That's awesome." Dana said timidly, though, Alice knew she was loving it.
"Oh my God...damn. Wow. Would you mind signing this for him? Make it out to Tate?" Lycra proffered a small slip of paper with 'Hair By Sampson' printed across the top, and the pen he was using to mark off appointments.
Dana accepted and quickly scrawled out a 'To Tate, thanks for being a fan. -Dana Fairbanks.' Lycra looked ecstatic and slid the paper into his pants' pocket, once Dana was finished.
"Sorry, that is so not like me. Sampson'd kill me if she found out. But you two ladies have a seat, and I'll have Elsie come out when she's finished." Lycra gestured to the waiting area in close proximity to the desk.
The two girls made their way over to the plush looking chairs circled around the retro coffee table, littered with new age, artsy magazines. Plopping down next to each other, Alice picked up a copy of 'Razr', a magazine she'd never seen before, and began flipping through the pages. Dana fiddled with her cell phone before glancing to Alice.
"That was weird, huh?"
"Why? You're a star athlete, Dane. You're bound to be recognized somewhere. Just like every time we go past the Gay and Lesbian center girls hiss at Shane."
"No, I mean, Lycra said Sampson was a she, I just assumed he was a...well, a he." She looked baffled. "I mean, Sampson. Sam, Samuel."
Alice looked dumbstruck by her friend. Was she really not phased by that? Deciding not to press the issue she glanced at the wordless magazine, studying an abstract photo of a light switch and a mouse trap and wondering who in the fuck decided that was art.
A few moments later, as Dana was still pondering the gender bender and Alice was still staring at the mouse trap photo, a tall, leggy brunette came into the waiting area. She handed Lycra a business card and also a fifty dollar bill, which he stashed for her. Walking over to where Alice and Dana were seated she flicked a long strand of onyx behind her exposed and tanned shoulder. Sliding her hands into her pockets she glanced to the girls.
"So which'a one'a you is the Dana Fairbanks?" She asked, accented by Italian tongue "I am Elsie D'Onofrio."
Dana glanced up from her cell phone and took in the sight of the exotic beauty, from her perfectly chiseled face all the way down her tailored pant legs and stopping at the toes of her pointy Italian shoes. "I'm her...she's...I'm Dana, this is Alice." The brunette stumbled to her feet and put out a hand, which Elsie delicately shook. Alice looked up from the photo and felt her eyes widen. What a gorgeous girl.
"If you are a...how you say, ready for this, I will take you back'a to the waxing room." Elsie smiled, revealing a full set of pearly white teeth.
"Yes, I'm ready. But, if you don't mind, I'd like my friend to come in; I've never had this done before."
Alice nodded, closing the magazine and getting to her feet as well, extending her hand she said professionally, "Alice Pieszecki, La Weekly."
"Ah, you wrote the article on the...ah, the vagina rejuvenator." Elsie said, taking the woman's proffered hand.
"Yep, guilty." Alice deadpanned and watched Dana, who was all but foaming at the mouth watching the beautiful Elsie.
Elsie nodded again and turned on her heels. The girls followed the pertinent clicks of them all the way down the hall and into the back, past a door where a long padded table lay with a fresh lining of thin paper for sanitation, close by was a counter of waxing equipment, towels, and cloth. The room was softly lit and playing a track of ocean sounds; an overall relaxing ambiance, to the veteran waxee.
"So...do I just get naked or, is there a procedure...I'm not sure...I usually just shave at home." Dana sputtered out, unzipping her hoodie and slinging it over an arm.
Alice's eyes widened and she leaned against the wall, glancing up at the ceiling for some kind of reprieve. She'd had this done, and it really was no picnic. Dana was in for a real surprise, but she wasn't about to say anything.
When Elsie finished thoroughly washing and drying her hands she nodded to Dana. "Yes, you ah just take off your pants and panties, put them on that chair...and lay down, the wax heats now."
Dana blinked a few times and slowly began to unzip her pants, undoing the button on her jeans. Turning credulously to Alice she shook her head. "Turn around, I don't want you to see this."
Alice scoffed, wondering how Dana trusted a complete stranger to her 'wooter' over an old time pal but decided, once more, to shut her mouth and did as she was told. A few moments later, Dana was on the table and Elsie began applying the wax. Alice made her way over, backwards, and stood facing her friend at her side, taking her hand for moral support.
"That feels so weird." Dana said and squeezed Alice's hand. Alice idly wondered what the intensity of the squeeze would be after Dana actually had any hair removed.
"Yes, it is ah, hot. Harmless, though, we use special ingredients, au naturale, as they say." Elsie said, though concentrated on the task, laying a strip of cloth on the spot she just waxed. "Ready?"
Dana nodded. "Ye-OUUUCHHH." Before she had a chance to complete the statement, Elsie just went ahead and waxed.
"The anticipation would've killed you!" Elsie laughed and smoothed some cream over the area.
"Jesus Dana, I think you drew blood." Alice said, noting the death-grip on her good hand.
"Sorry," Dana managed out through clenched teeth, feeling as Elsie began cleaning up and doing a repeat performance on the spots not previously waxed.
"It's okay," Alice mumbled. "I can operate pretty well with my left hand."
Dana smirked and looked down at Elsie whose brows were knitted in concentration. "So, Sampson is a girl, er, a lady."
"Yes, lots of these clients, they say, 'Oh I no know that Sampson is a girl' and I tell them, 'yes, she is my girl friend.'"
"Wow, you're dating Samspon?" Alice asked.
"Si, we are...how you say, non-exclusive though. Sampson does not believe in monogamy." Elsie said off-handedly, applying more wax and then a cloth on top of it.
Elsie tugged hard at the cloth again and obliterated any hair trying to grow in its path. Dana yelped and the Italian was there once more to clean up her handiwork, also to apply some soothing remedies to the probably burning areas. "You are done, Dana, your hair was not so bad. When you get home, apply some a'aloe vera to the spot, and it will not sting so bad, okay?"
"Thanks, I try to keep up with it. And I'll do that" Dana smiled some and pried her hand away from Alice's who took the time to answer her ringing cell phone.
"Shane, hey. No, she's fine. Yeah. Elsie. What? Elsie D'onoFrio. You're joking. What? She's good, yeah, she's getting dressed now." The blonde muttered into her mouthpiece while the other two in the room exchanged discourse.
"Mhm, wooter, I don't think it's that weird, but everyone else does." Dana said as she clothed herself once more.
"Wooter." Elsie repeated. "That is cute, my girlfriend calls it Peach." The Italian chuckled as she washed her hands again.
As Alice hit 'End' on the call with Shane she looked to Elsie with a lofted eye brow. "For all extensive 'Chart' purposes, do you know Shane McCutcheon?"
Elsie's face became a little redder as she heard the name and nodded slowly. "She...I just saw her last night. She is the only'a girl in L.A. that my girlfriend forbids me to see...but that is our secret."
Dana's mouth made an "O" shape and she looked between the two. "Whoa, what'd I miss? I was standing in the room with you both, how'd I miss this?"
"You wouldn't mind if I added your name to my six-degrees chart, would you Elsie?" Alice pried, always finding an addition to be thoroughly titillating.
"No, but, put it under some other name, I do not want Sampson to know." Elsie laughed and ripped a tab slip from a pad on a little table by the waxing equipment. Handing this to Dana she watched as her eyes widened.
Alice took this into consideration and opened the door to the darkened room, smiling at Elsie as she went. Dana gave her a distracted wave, still fixated on the bill. As the door closed, the brunette gasped. "One hundred-and-seventy-five dollars for a freaking WAX." She scoffed. "I'll just stick to Nair."
The blonde began singing the catchy "If you wear short shorts" jingle and Dana walked over to where Lycra was seated behind the high desk, chatting on the phone. When Dana approached he grew stiff and his speech quickened. "Okaygottagoshe'sstandinghere...bye.Love you too." He said and smiled up at the women, as if nothing at all were wrong. Dana handed him her pay slip and a Visa Card and shook her head, starting to feel the after-pains of the wax. Lycra rang her up and Dana gave him some money to give Elsie for a tip.
"You all have a fabulous day, and make sure to come back!" He waved, "Toodles!"
Alice and Dana left the salon and into the smoggy, air-conditioner-free-air of Los Angeles. Alice grinned as she looked at her friend. "See, that wasn't so bad."
"Easy for you to say, you're not the one with rug burn." Dana shifted uncomfortably as they arrived at the car, opening the door as Alice unlocked it.
Sliding into the seats, Dana felt her cell phone vibrate in the pocket of her jeans and fished it out. Alice turned down the stereo for her friend and began driving away from the salon deciding to drop Dana off before heading to work herself.
"What? Please tell me you're kidding…no…I didn't, I mean, why? I just spent like two-hundred bucks…" Dana argued into her phone, sounding quite agitated. "No, alright, no you don't have to reimburse me." She sighed and turned her phone off, looking to Alice.
"What was that all about?" Alice asked, putting the sounds of Tegan and Sara back on.
"Subaru thinks it would be a bad message if I posed in a swimsuit, Sports Illustrated agreed. So, they want me just in a regular tennis skirt and shirt." Dana groaned and buried her face in her hands.
Alice shook her head, manning the wheel with one hand and patting her friend's back. "Hey, hey cheer up, just think; now your wooter is freshly waxed and you can paint the town red."
"Thanks, Al." Dana muttered insincerely.
Ecstatic "Anytime, my friend, and at least you got to get that done by a sexy Italian girl, who's also non-exclusive." Alice winked.
"Oh please, one toe out of the closet and you want me to screw anything with legs and an accent." Dana scoffed.
"No, my fair Dana, you are not Shane."
Dana laughed. "Well, Elsie knew Shane pretty well."
"Leave it to us to have the most fucked up circle of friends in the world, or at least all of Los Angeles." Alice mumbled and fiddled with the air-conditioner vent.
"Gotta love them though…so, Planet?" Dana asked.
"Planet it is." Alice made a U-Turn, much to the displeasure of the other drivers, and the two headed back home.