My adventures trying to grow a bush.
My grandmother didn’t always wax alone. In the master bathroom of her condo in Palm Beach, Fla., sometimes I was there by her side, wanting to wax my own bikini line, or at least pretend to.
She would sanitize the about-to-be-affected area, grab the tub of wax, hand me the paper strips, and heat up the wax in the microwave for fifteen seconds. I remember the smell of the almost-burning plastic. I couldn’t wait to fill my own home with the same.
At age 15 I finally had a few hairs down there, but they were so sparse that it looked like my mons pubis had some lint on it. I told myself I would be able to grow a full bush by age 18.
At 20 I started growing out my pubes in an attempt to look more feminist for a job at a cool website—think Hannah Horvath in “Girls” Season 6, Episode 1. After two months the results were in: fuzzy tummy, seven inner-thigh hairs, and still a pretty bare butt crack. It was embarrassing, given that my editor had pubes sticking out of her jean shorts. I comforted myself with the notion that I would have better luck by age 25.
Now I’m 27. Although big, glorious seventies bushes have been making a comeback, I’ve stayed smooth and hairless and a naked mole rat with two tiny, ruffly leather shawls on. If I happen to go two weeks without a touch-up hot wax, my friends tease me or a boyfriend will say “I like it, I think you look more natural with it.”
Late last year, in a Malia Mills shop, I looked around and noticed I was the only woman trying on swimsuits without a brillo pad of growth on her inner thighs. I decided to commit. No waxing for a month.
WEEK 1 Somehow my stubble didn’t give me the mottled, angry appearance of say Steve Bannon’s face skin. Instead it was more of a, “did you forget to pluck?” look.
WEEK 2 Itchy! Bikini Bump Blaster a must!
WEEK 3 Less itch, less irritation. And what looked like pubic hair with intent. I was growing a bush! The landing strip and lower-stomach portions had joined up, the outer labia were thick, but my inner thighs, with empty patches, weren’t getting the message. I Googled “patchy bush solutions” and was overwhelmed by the talk of brow mousse, glue-on fibers, and merkins. None of these seemed viable.
WEEK 4 I was now looking at my nice little hedge, if you could call it that. I kind of looked like Keanu Reeves’s lower jaw, with the Lionel Richie’s front cowlick and the fullness of Julia Roberts’s loose curls.
It hit me pretty hard, accepting that I wouldn’t be able to join the ranks of the full and flouncy “70s Jew bush,” but in the end, it’s just genetics. I’ll have to settle for a respectable triangle with some sparse butt hairs. That’s worth something, especially if I ever let anyone back there.
For now I will work with what I have while looking toward a hairier future. Women with pubes have told me their bird’s nests improve with age. And so with that wisdom I can say for sure that by 50 I’ll be able to grow one at last.