Hair is weird. While the sad state of my skull seems to resemble Jonathan Brandis in Neverending Story 2, I’ve always kept the lower embankment where I store my lizard brain bare.
The moment I sprouted a pube in junior high, I pulled out my pink Daisy razor and started taking care of that shit. Even before I had any visitors to the area, and even during a several-year stint of celibacy, I never let my bits mature to the point of even a five o’clock shadow of stubble. At times, this led to an Evil Dead sequel taking place across a wide swath of pubic skin. More often than not, my lady lump looked like it had been attacked by a hive of angry wasps. But no matter. As long as it was smooth to the touch in a dark room (usually my own bedroom, and soft to the touch of my own hand or plastic, battery-powered “self-massager) I was happy. Razor burn would fade before the stubble came. No hair, don’t care.
One of the unforeseen lifestyle impediments of recovering from breast implants is an inability for me to gracefully navigate the territory below my umbilicus. I mean that, with bar of Dove Sensitive Skin in hand, I have a bitch of a time trying to soap my feet, legs, and nether regions. While all entrance and exit points have been kept clean enough to eat off of, it’s just been a bit more tricky than usual. There are two swollen hybrids of silicone and skin in my way, throwing off my center of gravity, and basically rendering me as uncouth as a baby deer on a sheet of ice. Certain things absolutely should not be tackled at this stage in the healing game. For one thing, wearing high-heels. Another, shaving.
What’s a glabrous girl to do? Go for her first Brazilian wax. Duh.
Well, technically speaking a Hollywood wax. But Brazilian has been used interchangeably.
Although it doesn’t seem to be universal, a fair number of professional waxers will define a “true” Brazilian wax as the removal of all pubic hair except for a thin, vertical strip over the mons pubis. It would be as though, if you decided to wear a very high-cut string bikini, you’d look hairless until you removed the cavity floss and then, “Surprise! I actually am an adult.”
One of the controversies over Brazilian waxing (other than the question of whether or not it’s actually from the country of Brazil) is if its popularity exists because it infantilizes the woman. Personally, I don’t give a furry fuck if someone accuses me of trying to look like a child. Just get rid of it.
Besides, I am so into age play.
I enter the waxing center. It’s empty. A nervous-looking girl with acne and incredible typing speed checks me in. She goes through a similar rigamarole that I had to when I worked for Hand & Stone: there is a package and a club deal, repeated waxing discounts and referral perks, products for sale, etc. I go and sit next to the candy dish and copy of Departures magazine, staring at the signage featuring bikini-clad tanned torsos and promotional ad copy.
In my black leather pants, Doc Marten’s, and surgical bra/compression strap combo hidden beneath my black hoodie, I do not belong here. Before I have a chance to squirm in any futher high-school-esque awkwardness, two women in red scrubs walk in the front door, tossing their cigarette butts into the parking lot of the shopping center. One has several facial piercings and an aggressive topknot. The other, a pear shaped girl roughly five years my junior, takes a sheet of paper from the girl behind the computer and looks up at me. She has dyed red hair, pock marked skin, and a countenance that’s neither unsightly nor jarring. She looks like a regular Long Island twenty-something. That said, I don’t exactly feel safe.
I am the only person in the waiting room.
“Aaa…how do I pronounce it?” the girl laughs. Her voice is that of the Marlboro man’s soul mate, and her laugh is that of Patty and Selma on The Simpsons.
Ainsley, I tell her. Leann, as I learn, will forget it. She ushers me down a tiny, dark hallway and signals to the first door on the right.
In the small treatment room, it’s a familiar scenario for me as a fledgling massage therapist: single table with a sanitary strip of paper, small shelf lining the wall with various waxing wares.
“We’re real open here, just strip from the waist down and get on the table, on your back,” she says with the staccato Selma laugh again.
I try to act as though this is normal for normal people, not just normal for me to take off my clothes in a room with someone l I just met. I tear the paper as I clamber clumsily onto the table and lay on my back. As she stirs something on the counter I suddenly wonder if I wasn’t supposed to be ass naked in front of her, as though I didn’t follow the command correctly and wound up in some version of the nightmare where I forget to wear pants. She seems unfazed, so I lay on my back.
“Your first time,” she says instead of asks.
“Yeah,” I reply.
“I could tell by your face that it was your first time,” she said.
“Is it gonna hurt?” I ask. It dawns on me that maybe this is a whole other ball of…wax…than other forms of body modification.
“Yeah, the first time hurts the worst,” she says, and the honesty in her tone is unnerving. “But after that it gets easier.”
She’s speaking way too quickly and I begin to wonder what she was actually doing in the parking lot prior to our introduction.
“Okay, just stay on your back and bend your knees out to the sides, like a butterfly stretch,” she says. “Don’t worry, we’ve seen it all.”
So have I, I think to myself, which is exactly why I don’t want to do that.
But I do.
“We’re gonna start at the bikini line, it hurts the least,” she tells me this as she applies some warm, blue goo to the area between my thigh and mons. She sprinkles some baby powder over the warm, wet slime with the aggression of the Julia Child on coke.
I now realize why my hair should have been grown out more.
I start laughing.
I laugh harder.
It is not the laugh of mirth. It is the laugh of incredulousness. It is the laugh I have when I see something horrendous and my brain sends out a static signal leading to a weird, trembling explosion of something like a giggle, something like a shriek.
“You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me!” I yell.
“I know!” she replies, not looking at me, smearing more navy guck over my mound.
I punch the table with both fists and yell a guttural, animal noise.
“What the fuck is wrong with people!? People actually do this willingly?! More than once?! Fuck!” I scream.
“You can curse, we’ve heard it all,” she says, not looking at me, stirring the stuff and, in a flash, hovering over my half-naked, vulnerable form. Her bedside manner is somewhere between “lol” and “dont care ;)”
I try to keep my legs open. She slathers the sludge over my right labia, from the taint to the top of my pubic bone. Shake, shake of baby powder.
No. This cannot be happening.
The pain is white. It is bright, and angry, and I have started sweating. I make a noise that sounds like it has come from another side of the room. It’s like The Exorcist. It’s like war, but worse. It is my vagina’s 9/11.
I cannot go through the other lip, I think to myself. I must tap out.
“I’m so, so sorry for whatever happened to you that made you want to do this for a living!” I yell. I mean it.
“I know!” she says, again, with the same redundant single-syllable laugh.
The popsicle stick smears the wax to the left. My legs are fluttering, a dying butterfly, my heart rate has not been this high in even the most productive of cardio sessions. I think about the sex I’ve been having and realize that, even though it’s stellar and stringless and dirty enough, it is not worth this. No sex would be. The second coming of Christ wouldn’t be. I do not ever want to be touched, anywhere, ever again.
There need to be safety straps for the table. I cringe, I whine, eventually, it is sort of over. A break.
“The last part doesn’t hurt,” she assures me. “Pull your knees up to your chest.”
“But…but keep them together,” I say. If this is not an option, I will leave. Pants, or no pants.
“Yeah, totally,” she says, threatening with her stick and vat of viscous evil.
I am actually vibrating with fear as I struggle to pull my knees up. This is further complicated by the fact that I haven’t actually tried to curl into a fetal position since I got my breast implants. I tuck like I’m about to do a cannonball as best as I can and warmth is spread over my asshole. Shake, shake, rip, rip, and now we’re really done. Mercifully, that last part really didn’t hurt. Or maybe my brain had just taken me to a safe place somewhere else, where I would survive abuse, or the blitz, or a Creed concert.
“You can get up,” she says. “And if you want to wipe, there are wipes over here.” Emphysemic giggle.
“No, no thanks,” I stammer. I struggle to stand. I gather my clothes from the chair as hastily as I can.
She talks about how next time will be easier. There will be no next time. I am afraid I am going to pass out. Other than medical emergencies, this is the worst pain I have ever experienced
As I pull up my underwear, my snatch glares up at me, red and angry. It is demanding an apology. There are a few straggling hairs. It does not look impressively bare or attractive. I want to die, vomit, and destroy all that is good on earth.
I stumble out of the room behind Leann as she presents when I should schedule and again goes over their waxing packages in her rapid-fire, smoky tone.
“Okay, hon? See you in four weeks,” and with that she disappears back down the gauntlet hallway of doom.
I pay in a daze, $23.50 (first time discount) and meekly comply with the pimply desk girl’s suggestion that I book my next appointment for four weeks from the day. I leave Leann a tip and am still shaking as I try to write her name with the red pen.
I make it to my car walking like John Wayne. In the parking lot, I sit in my overheated Jeep with the windows up, in a daze. I text Liz, who convinced me that this was a good idea when we were at a barbeque a few weeks ago.
“Aw. Don’t worry. The puffy skin will go down soon” is her response.
WHAT PUFFY SKIN.
Eventually I pull out and drive, not knowing where I’m going, not knowing what to do. It still hurts. A half-hour and GPS search later, I get home. I lay down in a dark room, panting.
I have breast implants, eyelash extensions, and several pairs of stilleto high-heels in my closet. I have had acrylic tips, dyed hair, and allergic reactions to makeup. I’ve sat for probably close to a month straight in a tattoo chair, had my nipples pierced and repierced, three tongue rings (now none) as well as several other now-removed piercings. I’ve dieted, and gained weight, joined a gym, taken up bouldering, bike riding, spinning over the years, all in the hope of achieving an ideal physique to garner me more sexual partners. I’ve suffered in my quest for my version of beauty and the g-spot glory I hoped it would attain.
I have never in my life regretted an aesthetically-related decision nearly as much as waxing my bits.
I truly hope I never will again. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to ice my cunt.