The amount of time women must spend in awkward positions at the mercy of other women, just for aesthetics and relaxation, is mind-boggling. Head full of foil in front of the hair stylist. Lying naked in front of the masseuse. Feet in the hands of a kneeling pedicurist. Boldly without makeup in front of the facialist. And, like today, spread-eagle wearing a paper thong in front of an aesthetician holding a tongue depressor covered in boiling hot wax.
Credit Image: Brazilian Waxing on Flickr
Yes. I had my very first bikini wax today.
And I was an absolute champ.
I've always contemplated doing it. And by always, I mean every time I shave. Or swim. Or see a Groupon for half off. Price, that is. But intentions are just that until you see a sandwich board outside a dark basement salon advertising a bikini wax for "Cheap! Cheap! Cheap!" That, coupled with my upcoming 30th birthday trip to Vegas, led me to drop my drawers.
When I called to set up the appointment, I immediately confessed to the receptionist that it was my first time to ever get a bikini wax. When she didn't seem thrown or surprised by this at all, I still felt the need to further explain that I have a young child at home and have been really busy with graduate school the last couple of years, and you know, the recession. A few more details of my life and a couple more excuses about my lack of maintenance, and even eventually throwing out, "Just cause I've never hired a gardener doesn't mean I don't weed the bushes," led to silence on her end. A few moments later she said, "Ma'am, is four o'clock this afternoon okay with you?"
When I arrived at the salon wearing my most presentable pair of underwear, all of the staff members were in the lobby enjoying coffee. When I walked in, I felt all eyes on me. It was clear I was the only client in the building, so they all had to know I was Hairy McTalksalot here for her wash and wax. I was led back to a room where there was what looked like a card table covered by a towel next to a crock pot full of melted candles.
"So, what kind of waxing were you interested in today?" she asked while handing me a pair of disposable underwear.
"Um. I'm not sure." I replied. "Topiary?"
"No. I meant bikini or Brazilian?" she clarified.
"Oh. Bikini," I muttered. "But one of those bikinis with the skirt bottom."
I was surprised at her ease in the situation. She pulled my dress up to see what kind of work was ahead of her. She looked at my area long enough to let me know she was strategizing, but not so long that I started to feel bad for my husband.
The experience wasn't too unlike giving birth. I was spread-eagle with searing pain in my groin while the professional in the room just looked at my area with the eye of an expert, unabashedly gazing at something so personal in such a clinical way.
"You know," she said between pulls. "I've seen everything."
"My OB-GYN says the same thing. But that never makes me feel better."
But, just like during childbirth, about halfway through I began not to care. I relaxed into the frogger position and tried not to look at what was on the strips of paper she pulled back.
"Tell me your craziest story," I asked while she was in a particularly delicate place.
"Oh, let's see," she said, pausing and holding up a dripping spatula of wax. "Well, I can either tell you about the man with the hairy penis, or the 60-year-old female who had never shaved once in her life."
"I'm gonna need to hear both," I said, wondering if there was any chance I'd be one of the freak shows she'd talk about to her next client. But she worked quickly, talking in between the sounds of heavy-duty Velcro being released and assuring me in a subtle way that everything she was looking at was run-of-the-mill.
There was one particularly awkward moment: the cleaning up. This involved using a substance that would remove all the leftover wax from the area. And while this sounded like an easy enough endeavor, it turned out to be a bit intrusive. But she assured me that if she didn't do this thoroughly my ass cheeks might get seared together.
All in a day.
Truthfully, it was a good experience, all things considered. It actually made me feel proud to be a woman. I mean, pissed that vaginas need such upkeep, but proud to be part of the gender. Because what other gender can stomach such experiences? Getting a bikini wax is right up there with getting a Pap smear or having an episiotomy. But that's the thing about vaginas: They can handle it. Especially if there's another woman in the room rooting for you.
Now I feel ready for our upcoming trip. Actually, I feel ready for the world. After letting a stranger scorch my nether regions with lava hot goo, I truly feel like there is nothing I can't do.
But for now I'll go to Vegas and sit by the pool with my husband.
Happily enjoying the breeze.
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