A Brazilian Wax Happened. I Didn’t Die.
Why yes, I did get all the hair ripped out of my crotch on a glorified dare. I’ve been promising to write this blog entry for months. In exchange for the free waxing experience, I said I’d write about it.
To give you a glimpse into my life as it relates to hair removal, I’ve been getting various parts of my face waxed since I was in middle school. It began simply enough — I got my eyebrows tamed, and my upper lip hair removed.
However, as I’ve aged, the waxing process has intensified. Since the birth of my daughter, the amount of hair on my face has become somewhat rampant. It’s a very humbling experience to go into a salon and have a person ask if you want your cheeks waxed. The ones on your face.
So, for the sake of disclosure, you’re going to know about everything I’ve gotten waxed up to the the point of the brazilian experience. I’ve had my eyebrows (between, above, and below), upper lip, temples, sideburns, cheeks, that soul patch area beneath my bottom lip, my chin, my neck, and my nostrils waxed.
I also attempted laser hair removal on my face years ago as well with zero results. Further disclosure: I had twelve sessions. Yeah.
My world for a neck devoid of errant yak hairs.
OH! I’ll also mention this: When I get stressed out, I occasionally pull hair out of my face with my fingers. Specifically, I pull it from the corners of my mouth and my chin. It’s humiliating, and when I do it, I get mad at myself. It makes an esthetician’s job a bit harder, as hair grows in at different rates. And confessing that I’ve done it does makes me cry. Lisa, Gwen, Paula, and Mackenzie (the women who work at the studio I regularly visit) have all heard my pulling confessions, seen my tears, and comforted me.
The backstory was necessary in leading up to the real focus of this blog entry for one reason: I have spent thousands of hours in various salons being waxed. It is not new to me. While kind of uncomfortable, it doesn’t actually hurt a hell of a lot. My pain tolerance is pretty decent.
Until the waxing experience that involved me actually removing underwear, I’ll be honest: I openly mocked the idea of waxing the bikini area, much less anywhere else more intimate. The majority of my adult life has been spent sporting “Welcome Back, Kotter” hair downstairs. It really didn’t matter to me. It’s hair. I spent so much time waxing my face, I figured it was only fair to let my pubic hair exist with reckless abandon.
The ladies at Sleek Peach wore me down. Yes, that’s the name of the establishment. Yes, it makes a person think of a hairless vagina. Yes, they’re aware of it. The owner, Lisa, gets a kick out of the name, and that’s what matters. The people who work there are amazingly patient, and have no qualms about ripping hair out of whatever. Plus, they have senses of humor. That goes a long way. Oh, and the studio gets incredible reviews. Look them up if you’re in north Denver. Visit them. Tell them I sent you.
Right, so, the first time I had the Brazilian experience, I was first given some ointment to rub all over my skin about an hour before the appointment. It had lidocaine in it to numb the area. I also was encouraged to take ibuprofen prior to showing up for the procedure. Both of these things made me a little nervous, particularly considering the tube of numbing stuff given to me was titled “No Scream Cream.”
ANYONE WHO IS SQUEAMISH OR DOESN’T WANT TO SEE ME DROP WORDS LIKE “LABIA” SHOULD STOP READING NOW. HEED THIS WARNING. THERE IS NO GOING BACK AFTER THIS POINT.
I tried reading up on what to expect during a brazilian wax online, but it didn’t help me understand it much better. I mean, I knew where the hair was going to be removed from, but it didn’t explain the vulnerability, or where it was especially hurty, or how a person would feel going from all the hair to no hair.
For those who don’t know what it is: the easiest explanation is that everything goes. All the hair on your mound, your labia, the inside, the outside, the inner thighs, your ass crack, all of it. There is no crevice left unattended to. It is infinitely more intimate than a pap smear. Oh, and for dudes — just adapt the rules. I can’t begin to imagine having hair removed from a scrotum (THANK GOD FOR ME), but gah. There is no way. Nope.
Thoughts I had going into the appointment: What if I got wet? What if I farted? How do my private parts look in comparison to others? Do I have weird labia? Also, I am not a small girl. Can a person have a fat vagina? Does that make the process more difficult? Will my vagina be discussed after I’ve left the building? Do we carry on conversation during the appointment? What is considered fashionable these days for any kind of modesty hair in the front? A little patchy thing? A landing strip? (For the record, I despise that phrase.) Nothing?
Free tip: Don’t try googling pubic hair fashion trends. No good will come of it.
I’m sure everyone has their own take on this process, and what hurts for some doesn’t hurt for others.
The most uncomfortable part was lying there with my legs akimbo for 45 minutes. Your knees flop out so that your legs essentially form a diamond shape. It makes your hips ache. The esthetician allows you to “stretch” during the appointment between waxing sections, but there’s not a lot of stretching you can do to relax those muscles during the process.
Hair is removed in little sections. There is no mega-yank of enormous swaths of hair. The esthetician does have to gently pull skin taut down there when applying wax, so fingers touch pretty much all the places.
Without question, the most painful hair removal spot was around the hood. I won’t even pretend that was anything less than jarringly full of ouch. I swore a lot, loudly. I think I kicked poor Gwen at one point. She took it in stride.
When she finished with the front, she had me roll over onto my stomach, which I did with as much grace as I do when I get massages, meaning it’s totally cumbersome and somewhat miraculous I don’t fall off the table every time I’m asked to execute this maneuver.
You spread your legs so that your toes kind of hang off each side of the table; your legs are a little further than shoulder-width apart. And yep, my ass crack was waxed. There’s no way to say that delicately. It happened. By far, it was the easiest, least painful, quickest part of the whole experience.
Once she was done, I rolled back over onto my back and she held a mirror up so I could see the finished product. It made me think of two things: 1) That scene in Fried Green Tomatoes where Kathy Bates attempts to check out her own vagina in a mirror, and 2) Some idiot’s stand-up set that referred to a woman’s naked mound as looking like raw chicken breast.
Oh, and then, a hot towel is gently placed over you and the esthetician leaves the room.
You go from feeling naked to SUPER NAKED. Since that first time, I’ve opted to grow out some hair in the front, because completely hairless just feels too weird.
I had some angry skin along my bikini line for a day or two after the appointment. It was a little tender and red.
I was strongly encouraged to exfoliate more. I bought those scrubby gloves you can pick up pretty much anywhere and some special product to slough off dead skin cells.
I’ve had it done two more times since that first experience. I KNOW. There are a few reasons behind this. First off, I was unprepared for feeling so scraggly when the hair all started growing back in. That felt way more awkward than having a full bush. I felt like I had frail old man wizard crotch hair.
Secondly, having less hair did a weird thing to my self-confidence. I don’t know why. Probably, it has something to do with why I feel better when I don’t have ample chin hair. And having professionals see all my business in all its glory in a non-sexual way and recognizing they don’t give a damn about its size or shape or wetness or any of that is really good for my self-esteem.
Each subsequent time has been easier to endure.
OH! Another important piece of etiquette, and you’re welcome ahead of time. If you do have to pass gas (which I once did, because that’s what butts do occasionally), tell the esthetician beforehand and let her get the hell out of the way. Leap off the table and let it go facing away from the other person in the room, as far away as possible as you can get in that quick moment in time. They know that humans fart. They’d rather have you do it that way than attempt to hold it in and wind up shooting a puff of stank air mere inches from their face (which I did not do). However, should you be that person who farts in their face, THAT IS OK AND THEY WILL FORGIVE YOU. Promise.
For the sake of this blog post, I also asked about when guys get waxed, how they handle erections. I recognize now using the word “handle” was not the best word choice, but it’s funny, so I’m leaving it there. Back to my original point: that has to be awkward, I’d assume. And the answer? A towel is placed over it and they leave the room until it’s gone. Again, the professionals recognize that shit happens and it’s not a big deal. Body parts move and make noise and excrete things and it’s normal.
What you do with your own body hair is your business, and the reasons behind why you do it are also your business. I’d rather know ahead of time what I’m getting into, though, and hopefully, this will serve as somewhat of a useful article for those of you curious about the process. Whether you celebrate all the hair, some of the hair, or none of it, what’s important is working toward loving your body and embracing every quirky part of you. And remembering you’re human, just like everybody else.