I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
“Can you do me favor?”
The other day, my friend asked me this question just as we were about to cross a busy Los Angeles intersection. Without asking what that favor would be, I agreed with no hesitation. Then she uttered the words so many of us dread hearing.
“Can you help me pop this zit?”
OK, so, none of my other friends have ever asked me to do this. Ever. And frankly, I was appalled that she’d even ask. The idea of pus erupting from my friend’s back volcano revolted me.
What if she had no tissues? What if it smelled? What if it squirted all over me? WHAT IF IT WAS CONTAGIOUS?
I personally have never thought to include any of my friends in such an intimate and foul act. Especially not on a street corner in the middle of Hollywood. And especially not after just making plans to see each other again in a few days. I mean, honestly, could you ever look me in the eyes again?
“It’s not ready yet!” I said.
It was the only excuse I could conjure up to rescind my offer; a knee-jerk reaction to my disgust and unwillingness. I took one look at the small bump on her back, devoid of any whitehead or other telltale sign of ripeness, and I knew I was actually right.
Still, I felt a gnawing guilt about my reaction, not because I didn’t want to come within 10 feet of her pus grenade, but because I, myself, am a premature pimple popper.
When it comes to my own skin, I can’t help but squeeze at the first sign of a zit for the same reasons I pick at my scabs and skip to the endings to books. However, the relief I get from eliminating dead skin or knowing that (SPOILER ALERT) Charlotte dies remains elusive. I’m left to face the pain and shame that comes when one inevitably fails to pop an unripe zit.
In fact, that one moment (OK, yeah, multiple moments) of impatience almost always leads to a smattering of new and equally unattractive clusters of zits; not to mention, the original bump angrily morphs into an even harder, redder, meaner version of itself. Instead of being a minor nuisance I can forget about for hours at a time, my Bruce Banner blemish hulks out to an itchy, throbbing monster.
Anyway, I have tried various methods: dabbing on toothpaste to dry the sucker out, over-the-counter spot treatment from the local pharmacy, hot towel on the face. But now, in my old age, I think I have finally found the cure!
Oh, you were expecting better advice from the girl who obviously has no patience at all whatsoever?
I’m sorry to say, I got nothing, except maybe winning the lottery to fund consistent facials and microdermabrasions. Sure, it’s possible that at least one of the millions of methods and products out there can help your particular skin. But as the old saying goes, patience is a virtue, as is having a blemish-free face.
Have patience and faith that you won’t end up with a giant pus bus under your skin for all of eternity, like those poor, unfortunate fellows with decade-old cystic zits that Marci told me to look up YouTube (warning: NOT for those with weak stomachs).
Patience, friends, and your fresh face will prevail. Maybe enlist the help of a concealer, too, while you’re at it. And a really good friend. Like me.
As I hovered over my friend in the dirty bathroom of a random bar, huge clumps of toilet paper in both my hands, squeezing the hell out of a zit that refused to pop, I thought, I may not have much patience, but you can’t say I’m not a good friend. Even if I cancel our plans and avoid you for the next six months.
So what about you? Have you ever helped a friend pop a zit? Are you impatient about popping your own?