beat around the bush

When You Get Waxed for the First Time

Photo: Photo Illustration by Stevie Remsberg/Photo Getty

I’d never had a Brazilian before. I’d never waxed at all, and often don’t trim or shave or even really look “down there,” as the salon I chose phrased it on their Wix website. I have extremely long pubic hair and just looking at it embarrasses me, even when I’m all by myself. There is a part of me that believes my pubic hair length could be in the Guinness Book of World Records.

All my body hair is long. My armpits are home to long scraggly wisps. My eyebrow hairs grow like they think they’re regular head hairs. I could braid my arm hair if I had a third hand. One time I thought I had a UTI for three days but it turned out one long-ass wiry pube had weaseled its way up my urethra. All I had to do was pull it out.

It’s not that I don’t care. I’d love to have neatly trimmed body hair. It’s just that, for the most part, I simply can’t be bothered with maintenance. But before my first Brazilian appointment, I frantically tried to clean up shop with a pair of scissors over the toilet, lest my esthetician know what kind of squalor I live in. My pubes are like a dirty, unmade bed that only gets fixed up when someone with hygiene standards comes over.

“Oh my God, you’re not even that hairy,” the esthetician said, when she came back into the room after I undressed. Maybe I had talked it up too much.

She spread hot wax over the top of my bush before I had the chance to tell her I wanted a little patch left behind, as a safety blanket, something to hold in the middle of the night if I got scared. Then, after saying something about double dipping that I didn’t understand, she ripped the wax off.

It felt exactly how you would expect: like someone ripping out a bunch of your pubic hairs at once without warning you first. For some reason, the feeling of the first day of school, every first day I’d ever had, came rushing back. I felt like I was the new girl and everyone was staring at me, trying to figure out if I was cool or not, and I knew that I was not cool and therefore they would not find me cool and therefore I would not make any friends and therefore my life was over. I panicked in that quiet way you do when you know there’s no escape, not because there’s actually no escape, but because you know you wouldn’t go through with the social awkwardness it would take to escape. So you stay at school, or horizontal on the spa table, legs splayed, a small towel draped over your stomach for no discernible reason. You stay for the sake of decorum, or for your mom, or for your belief that experiencing pain is what makes happiness possible.

Now that the waxing had begun, the anticipation was worse than the wax rips themselves. I braced myself for each one, clenched my whole body, involuntarily closed my thighs onto the esthetician, who simply moved my legs back into splayed position and told me to relax and that I was causing my crotch to overheat. Just when I thought she was going to skip my bottom and save us all the humiliation, she asked me to lift my legs, and she waxed my butthole.

I got home and inspected “down there.” It looked like a plucked chicken. It felt wrong to touch it. I saw that there was one long hair left, poking out from between my labia. One brave little pube, blonde and glimmering. The lone survivor of the day’s trauma, who would now be solely responsible for repopulating my bare crotch with new life.

When You Get Waxed for the First Time