The gains and pains of “beauty”

11th July 2017


By Keletso Thobega -

I once went for a wax and vowed to never repeat it. When it was my turn, I was given a bathrobe, told to strip to my birthday suit and asked to lie on the bed.
When I was asked to lie on the bed and spread my legs, I thought of bolting out of the door. I felt like I was caught in an act of lesbianism as the woman started touching me where the sun does not shine. She assured that the wax would not hurt and chattered away to try and distract me. However, when the first strip was removed, I yelped in pain. Waxing is surely not for the fainthearted! However, most people want to look cute and clean, so they just grit their teeth and get it done and over with once and for all!

Women endure all the discomfort and pain for the sake of beauty, from tweezing the eyebrows, waxing, relaxing the hair and plaiting, all of which come with their own set of headaches, literally and figuratively. For me, combing the hair is the least favourite and that is why I opt for hassle free braids and cornrows. Nna bagaetsho ke tshaba sekamo.

Most Batswana women are familiar with being told that bokgarebe bo a itshokelwa. And yes, Mosadi ke go ipaakanya. I’m a typical koko ya Setswana but I admire and respect women who fix themselves up regardless of their class, age or body size. Not everyone can be a Halle Berry or Taye Diggs, but it sure does help to avoid looking like a hobo. Fixing yourself up and making effort to look presentable not only makes a positive impression on those you interact with, but also giving you a confidence boost.

Yet in the same breathe, most women would agree that bokgarebe is expensive and uncomfortable – from taking care of the skin, the diets, fashion, make-up and dealing with “women issues,” among a host of other stresses that include hair and clothes. Even undergarments come with their own set of discomfort that I can bet that for a lot of women, the best feeling after a long day, is taking off one’s bra!

Another routine that can make one go through hell is wearing the body shaper, which I refer to as lekunutu because it is a secret garment but very powerful – it can make or break your appearance. With this garment, the chances of getting laid by or bagging a number 10 go through the sky. This popular garment is worn under the clothes, particularly dresses or skirts, to give the figure a slimmer and toned flat appearance. A lot of women wear it for special occasions like weddings, high-end dinners and parties etc.

Mme lekunutu le na le ga lone. On this one occasion, I attended an event with some hot guy and slipped on my dearest lekunutu. The jelly tummy and love handles were instantly smoothed out and I walked like a peacock enjoying the stares and passes as I slayed in my LBD. But after I used the bathroom and it was time to dress up again, the lekunutu kept slipping off.

I heaved and puffed until I felt like I was running out of breath. Frustrated, I took it off and stuffed it into my handbag. When I stepped out, I noticed the surprise look on my date’s face because the hourglass figure had disappeared and I now looked like I had swallowed a beach ball. When he asked, “What happened in there?” there sure was a lot of pun and irony in that question.

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