Seal reportedly does it. P. Diddy has admitted he does it after drinking vodka lemonade and listening to James Brown. Christopher Hitchens does it. And loads more non-famous straight guys are thought to be getting into it: the Brazilian bikini wax, also known as the Manzilian or Brozilian. And why shouldn’t they? Women have been expected to go hairless for eons while men run around with hair sprouting willy-nilly out their backs, their ears, their collarbones, and of course their nether regions. Why should women have to sort through all those strands when the men don’t? This seems to be part of the reason Brozilians are catching on — if women are going to get waxed at least in part for their man’s benefit, they want them to undergo the awfulness of it, too. Of course, many straights reject the idea of getting waxed at first, not only because it’s girly, but because it hurts, obviously. But guys can go ahead and stop looking at these reactions as male-specific, because plenty of women don’t want hot wax poured onto their privates so they can have their pubes ripped out at the follicle, either.
The people who actually face the greatest potential for awkwardness and undergoing an emotionally scarring Brozilian experience are not the straight men — who, oh my God!, are doing something so feminine it’s like they don’t have balls! get ready for the bros to give them shit over beer pong! — it’s the waxers who have to deal with sexual harassment and delusional bros.
Getting a Brazilian wax is, after all, an intimidating experience — especially for men worried they’ll become aroused. A reassuring, motherly presence is advised. As Eugenya Freylikhman, a 55-year-old Ukrainian aesthetician at Chelsea’s Skintology spa, told me, “We hire only older women for the waxing, like your grandmother. We don’t hire the model drop-dead gorgeous girl. Otherwise men become uncomfortable and afraid.”
Of course it’s not just for the male client’s protection that young female waxers are rarely used. Despite the medicalized aura most salons adopt, waxing is a cosmetic procedure. With a clientele of naked straight guys, sex hopelessly intrudes.
“Guys think that since they’re naked, you’re gonna give them head,” Jane Pham, the 35-year-old proprietor of Ted D. Bare Salon in San Jose, Calif., frankly admitted in a phone interview. Pham serves mainly heterosexual men, and specializes in what she calls the “Manzilian.” The day she signed on, the head aesthetician quit, fed up with the obscene proposals. Pham, however, now in her tenth year at Ted D. Bare, has learned how to keep guys in line. Brandishing a can of scalding cream wax, she tells newcomers, “She who holds the wax holds the power!” Once, she was forced to taze a guy who wouldn’t stop misbehaving. “He got really aggressive and kept insisting that I perform certain favors on him,” she said. “So I tazed him in the thigh. He fell right off the table.
Most of the time, Pham says, guys behave. And yet they make a lot of bizarre requests. “Men tend to want the oddest pubic hair shaping,” she said. “One guy asked me for a blue whale design. Another wanted me to shave the words ‘Campbell Soup’ into his pubes, because his girlfriend liked Campbell Soup. I was like, ‘No way, dude!’” She continued, “Then there are the guys who come for the pain. The sadists. I mean, to each his own, but the problem is, their hair gradually thins out and they become desensitized, so it starts to hurt less, and they need more.”
Pham has been able to go on because, like most aestheticians, she bonds with her clients. Due to the intimacy of the act, personal confessions abound. “It’s unfortunate,” Pham says, “but I know when a guy is going to leave his wife before she knows. When they’re naked in front of you, guys tell you everything.” She also enjoys shepherding men though a cosmetic procedure formerly reserved for women. “Most dudes are not OK with getting it at first. But it’s like a tattoo: Once they wax one body part, they inevitably wax another. Every guy I see winds up getting the Manzilian. Every single guy.”
Why I got the male Brazilian wax [Salon]