The Brazilian By Rosie Millard
Published By: Legend Press 14/06/2017
Blog: Kelly L
Rosie Millard is a freelance journalist and writer. She was
BBC Arts Correspondent for ten years, and has been a profile
writer for The Sunday Times, columnist for The Independent,
arts editor and theatre critic for The New Statesman.
She is Chair, Hull UK City of Culture 2017.
The Brazilian is a sequel to her first novel The Square,
“a waspish portrait shot through with wit and insight”,
published by Legend Press in 2015. She has also written The
Tastemakers (2001), an exploration of how the UK fell in love
with contemporary art, and Bonnes Vacances (2011), a comic
memoir set in the French Overseas Departments.
She has four children, runs marathons and lives in central
Visit Rosie at
or on Twitter
Following a sensational scandal at one of London’s most desired postcodes, Jane and Patrick decide to escape the gossip with a family holiday to Ibiza, their eight-year-old son George in tow.
Also on the island that week is a TV reality show involving an eccentric artist, a horny It Girl, a Brazilian footballer and a famous magician.
As hapless celebrities are picked off one by one, Jane is desperate to be on the programme, leaving childcare in the not so capable hands of a teenager.
One lesbian escapade and an explosive row over hair removal later, the contestants of Ibiza or Bust leave the island with more than sand in places they never knew existed…
Sneak Peak of Chapter One
Jane is lying on her back. The beautician in Love Your Body asks her to make a number four shape with her right leg. She is naked from the waist down, save for a pair of paper
knickers. Soft pipe music plays hauntingly around the tiny room. There is a bowl of hot wax bubbling in the corner. The beautician looks at her enquiringly, her raised eyebrows
suggesting, briefly, that Jane needs to make her mind up. Should it be a Hollywood? Totally hairless? She’s got a new swimsuit. She envisages the horror of looking down and
seeing a single corkscrewed hair jutting up at her. However, the thought of a completely naked pubic triangle makes her feel queasy. No, it must be the usual. “Yeah, a Brazilian,
please,” says Jane.
“Going on holiday are we?” says the beautician, as she smooths the wax over Jane’s groin with a large wooden spatula and pats the brown viscous gloop down. Jane tenses herself for the moment. Thinking about it is always far worse
than the actual experience, but she can’t help seizing up. “Yes, yes I am, I mean, we are, huoooo…” she says, half-squeaking and sighing as the beautician swiftly rips off a wide strip of cooled wax with an expert hand. The hairs rip out of the skin, each pulled out from its root. “Ibiza,” she manages to tell her white-coated torturer. The beautician puts her hand over the red, naked area.
“It’s in the Med, you know, just below Spain. One of the Balearics. Next to Majorca and Menorca.” The beautician pastes more hot wax onto this most soft, tender skin. She
smooths it down and then once again, scorchingly rips it from the tender flesh, putting her hand down on the angry area. “Oh, I know where Ibiza is,” says the beautician. “Now, put your other knee across, love.” One side of Jane’s groin is now bright red, speckled with small raised spots. She thinks about the beautician. Smearing wax all over the pubic region of other women and then ripping it away. All in a day’s work. Jane doesn’t know how she can bear it. Yet it is addictive. Once you start, you can’t stop. Furthermore, she loves the complicity of the room, its quiet intimacy untroubled by text messages or Wi-Fi. She wonders how many women come in here a day. The beautician knows there is a particular person who gets waxing done. This is the fourteenth client she has waxed
this morning. She sometimes looks at women on the bus and wonders which of them voluntarily undergoes it. What style they go for. She can usually tell. “My oldest son is going there too this summer, what a coincidence,” she continues nonchalantly. Jane isn’t very interested in where the beautician’s son is going on holiday. She wants her time here to be wholly about her. She focuses on her holiday. Ibiza. Hot. Delicious. Always sunny, no mosquitos, still fashionable, yet, not too trendy. So no need to bother about all those silly nightclubs and digitally streamed music by bands and singers of whom she has never heard. “Did ya want your bottom done?” says the beautician. “Roll over then and hold your cheeks open.” She lies face down on the bed and obeys the instructions. The paper knickers have a G-string at the back. Why bother, thinks Jane. Life is rather tiresome at the moment. Jane is living out of suitcases, away from her large London house where she and her husband Patrick have lived for, oh, ages. She can’t even
remember when they moved in. Feels like years. It’s being redecorated from top to bottom after a burst tank connected to the water main drilled down through each of the four storeys. They had to move out into a rented flat in a much less smarter
area, around the corner. Jane dislikes the arrangement. So much so that she has
started to deliberately keep herself busy. She peppers each day with a series of treats. Coffee with friends, lunch with better friends, cinema trips. Self-improving appointments. Chiropodist, hair, waxing, mani/pedi, GP, opticians (eventhough she doesn’t need glasses). Shopping. Anything to get out of the flat. There’s so many opportunities to make life nicer, thinks Jane. “Right, that’s it. I’ll leave you to get dressed. Here’s some cream to put on if you like. I’ll see you by the reception outside,” says the beautician. She goes out of the room and shuts the door quietly. The music continues to tinkle. Jane eases off the bed, swings her legs round, forces herself to inspect the poor, erased skin. Once it has calmed down, turned into an approximation of marble with a single strip of hair, she’ll appreciate it. Even if Patrick doesn’t. She’s been doing
this for so long she can’t even remember when she started, or even why. She just knows it is something women of her age and class should do.
Thank you to Rosie Millard and Legend Press for the Sneak Peak content.
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