Here’s a confession: I routinely have all of my pubic hair waxed off.
There’s a Brazilian down there, and has been for a few years now.
It’s the type of thing that gets brought up in conversation in my living room after two glasses of wine by my curious girlfriends, and I have to fess up to being the expert. It is time to fess up to you all, too, because at least one of you is curious, I know it. The rest of you might want to skip this one? Or don’t, but know that sooner or later, the word “labia” is going to come up. You’ve been warned.
It feels a bit insane subjecting myself to having my junk slathered in wax heated to 140 degrees – about the temperature of a medium-rare steak if memory serves – and then having the wax and hair ripped out. It hurts a lot, and it is quite a humbling experience of going completely spread-eagle in front of Marta, the sweet woman who works at the spa in my neighborhood and has seen more of me up close than any man ever has. I am not a particularly modest person and the embarrassment factor is not really an issue for me any more, but the pain still is, and that, friend, is the first thing I’ll tell you if you’re curious about getting a Brazilian. Shit hurts, and the first one is the worst. To combat this, I pop four Advil about half an hour before my appointment.
It also hurts when you stop going for several months and then go back. I can’t remember why I started getting Brazilians a few years ago, but I can tell you why I stopped in August: Caitlin Moran, and her book How to Be a Woman. It is a phenomenal read that lambasted the practice. According to her, a woman needs “a proper muff. A big, hairy minge. A lovely furry moof that looks – when she sits, naked – as if she has a marmoset sitting in her lap.”
So I tried for a while, and though it was nice to not have to maintain going for a wax every six weeks, my “tame marmoset” felt more like a bedraggled stray cat clawing around miserably in my underpants. I endured it for a while in the name of feminism and reclaiming my sexuality as a newly single lady, but the truth was clear as the hair grew and spread unchecked: this was not the kind of pussy I wanted curled up at the top my thighs. It was back to the spa with me. To other women a Brazilian might be the exotic thing, but for this lady, it’s what feels like me.
Marta was on maternity leave when I booked my most recent appointment, and I climbed onto the waxing table in front of Elana who furrowed her brow when I took off my pants.
“First time?” she asked.
“No, but first in a while. I’m overdue.”
“Not easy. Is thick. This will hurt.”
She snapped on a pair of rubber gloves and went to work.
To answer your question of what happens during a Brazilian wax: you are naked from the waist down. If you seen or heard about “paper underpants”, they are for a bikini wax, which just removes the hair that might peek out of a bathing suit bottom. There is nothing hiding you during a Brazilian. Legs are up, apart, and aloft, moved around for the sake of the best angles, and labia are stretched out and slathered with wax on tiny wooden sticks. The innermost bits of you are all out, and while flat on my back in this position, I have two fears: that hot wax will be drizzled into me (this has never happened) and that Marta will accidentally wax my clitoris which is, of course, hairless in its natural state and would just have to stay hairy if it were not, as I cannot imagine the pain. She never has, and it is her care and attention to my very favorite body part that has me swearing I will never go “budget” on this particular beauty service. I have heard horror stories of stuck down clitoral hoods. This is not the place to save dollars.
Of course, the “hair down there” doesn’t stop at… I mean, there’s more hair back around… *sigh*. There is no polite way to say this: Marta waxes my ass crack, too. All the way up. You just can’t stop and… leave it! For me, this hurts the least, and it feels lovely and clean.
After, I am given a mirror to inspect the job, but more often than not I’m checking to make sure all the skin is still there. It always is, and I always try to think of something nice to say.
“Pretty!” I say, smiling. “Quite smooth.”
The first time I swelled for a bit after but I didn’t experience any pain after the initial “rip!” that only lasts a second. In an hour I was completely back to normal, and subsequent visits were less. This is also a personal thing for me: I have trouble with ingrown hairs on the front. What do we call it? The “mound”, before everything, uh, splits? In my most recent trip, I skipped having that part waxed and just trimmed it really short. Elana raised an eyebrow at me before shrugging and saying, “You’re the boss.”
It’s an unusual request, but I find it visually more appealing than a totally naked pubic region, and I’m able to enjoy the clean feeling of having everything else waxed while still looking like a grown up, should you be lucky enough to be seeing me head-on sans unders. Jezebel called it “the Swiss“.
I’m not advocating going bare for everyone, but for me it makes the most sense, and if you’re curious, try it! Because that’s really what feminism is, right? The freedom to do what you want with your body?
No marmosets for me.