My husband is a talker. He talks to anyone and everyone about any and everything. At times, he will impart knowledge from these conversations and then bring these new found tidbits of information home to me.
One day, whilst out shopping for important items such as a new Britta filter and deep-pocket king-sized sheets, he casually mentioned to me how HE wanted to try ear candling, as he’d heard it mentioned from a few good friends how well it works.
“Really?” was about the size of my response to this news.
He looked perplexed. “Well, yeah! I mean, I know it sounds odd, but apparently it sucks ALL THIS WAX out of your ear.”
“Using fire.” I was skeptical to say the least.
He cocked his head. “Are you saying you wouldn’t try it?”
“I don’t know. It sounds dangerous. Is it safe?” Images flitted through my brain. Melted wax dripping haphazardly into my ear canal. My hair catching a stray wind blowing through the house and burning. I didn’t want to end up like Michael Jackson did that time he tried to film a Pepsi commercial.
“I would think so.” He looked at me as if I was absurd to even ask about the safety of an open flame shooting out of my ear. “I don’t think it’s a ton of fire.”
An hour later, we made our way to the local natural-foods grocery store. I had to buy some toothpaste, and as we were perusing the body care aisles, my husband asked one of the clerks if they sold ear candles.
The clerk he asked was standing with another co-worker, engaged in a conversation about something probably granola-related. They both gladly obliged my husband, and set off to the nearest end-cap to show him where the ear candles were located.
My husband examined the boxes briefly, and asked both of them, “Do they work?”
Clerk #1: Laughs.
Clerk #2: “Well, I think so. I like them.”
Clerk #1: “I mean, I don’t think they do.”
Clerk #2: “I think they do. I use them.”
With Clerk #2’s ringing endorsement in his ears, we set off towards the register, a value-pack of 4 ear candles in hand.
Upon returning home, my husband began to back-pedal.
“You know,” He said nonchalantly, “You and Sasha probably have more ear wax than I do, so…you guys can use them.”
Wait. What? “How do you know this?”
“Well, I mean my ears are pretty clean.”
“And my ears are what? Like pits of sludge? I have sludge ears?” Shit. Did I have sludge ears? I mean he would know, right? He can actually see my ears, whereas, I cannot.
“You and the kid should go ahead and use them,” He suggested.
“You don’t want to try it too?”
“Well sure. But you guys go first, and then if it works, we can go get more and I’ll try it.”
It was then that it dawned on me what my role in this little scenario was. I was to be the guinea pig.
I searched through several YouTube videos to prepare. I was amazed at how many videos dedicated to ear candling actually exist. It seemed simple enough, although the thought of an open flame that close to my head still caused concern. I didn’t want my melon turning into the Hindenburg.
One of the videos suggested the use of a paper plate to catch the falling embers, so I took one of the plates that we had in the cupboard and made a small slit in the middle to hold the candle upright. I then took a water-soaked hand towel and wrapped it around my head to further safeguard any burning mishaps. My husband, of course thought that my preparation was ridiculous.
“You look like a swami,” He said, chuckling.
“I’m being careful.”
Once I had my safety protocols in place, I stuck the candle in my ear.
“Is it supposed to lean over like that?” Hubby questioned. “Maybe hold it?”
The ear candle was wobbly. My ears, noticeably small and unable to support even the smallest of earbuds, weren’t supporting the ear candle as needed.
I grasped the candle’s end. My makeshift paper plate holder was awkward and made it impossible to see the burning end. Inside my ear canal, the crackle and pop of the candle spiraled through the end of the candle. It sounded like a fireplace. Instructions on the box stated that the sound of the lit ankle would elicit a calming sensation, that the soothing sound of the crackling candle would soothe the soul. I tried focusing on the zen of it all…but all that was being elicited were images of my face catching a random flame and subsequently losing a precious eyebrow.
Since I couldn’t see the candle’s flame over the brim of the paper plate, my husband assumed the role of candle monitor.
The first candle burned down pretty quickly, and upon its removal, we sliced it open. Large chunks of chalky brown pebbles fell out.
“What is that?” My husband asked, making a face.
“I don’t know.” I examined a piece. “That can’t be my earwax. No way.”
“Do you hear any better?” He asked.
“I’m not sure I had a problem hearing before, so…no.”
“Want to do the other one, or should we just trash this?”
I figured that since we’d done one ear, for the sake of balance we should do the other. So once again, I wrapped my head and rigged the paper plate candle holder.
My husband walked into the kitchen, leaving me to slow-burn with the candle alone. When he walked back in, he was carrying a pair of scissors.
“What are you doing?” I asked, attempting to keep the paper plate still.
“Hold still. I’m gonna cut the ashes.”
Right as he said this, he snipped a bit of the ash off, which was still lit.
The ash landed on my bare neck.
“OW!” I squealed. My neck stinging from the burn.
Because I’d jumped, he also jumped.
“No! Shit! Hold Still!” He yelled, frantically.
Because he was yelling, I assumed that my entire head was about to go up in flames. I jumped up, the candle still in my ear and burning.
“What the hell! Babe, no! Don’t move!” He yelled out again.
He then stepped backward, falling directly over the couch ottoman. Holding scissors.
I quickly yanked the candle out, and as I did embers and flames floated in all directions.
Something was burning.
I grabbed a house slipper and stomped out the embers that had landed on our wood laminate. No damage was apparent.
Something was still burning.
FUCK! THE COUCH IS ON FIRE!
I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a glass of water, which I then poured onto the couch.
Once the chaos died down, my husband and I looked at each other. He was mad I’d moved. I was mad he’d burned my neck.
Then we looked at the couch. And burst into laughter.
“I am so glad it was you who burned the couch,” He said.
“It was a joint effort,” I assured him.
The couch survived but is a tad worse for the wear. Large molten spots cover the side of two of the cushions, forcing us to turn them around.
The good news is, my neck healed. My husband hated that couch anyway. And neither of us has any desire to ear candle ever again.