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By Rebecca Jane Stokes
I only get Brazilian bikini waxes.
This is technically true since the only bikini wax I’ve ever had was a full Brazilian wax. Granted, it was only four weeks ago, but still, I like to think that I’ve made it my trademark.
I like being hairless. I like how it makes me feel clean and sensitive and pulled together and all those other words that should make my pure little feminist heart ache with sadness.
If being a woman is about embracing choice, then I will embrace the choice to have my body hair professionally removed.
Up until my first bikini wax, I handled my pubes like I handled the subway rats of New York City: as infrequently as possible and only when they dared to reveal themselves.
I tried an at-home wax kit once, and that was such a disaster I required medical attention (brace yourself, I ripped off the top layer of my skin in addition to my hair). Shaving seemed pointless, and the guys I dated never said anything so if I made any effort at all it was just tucking back my pubes into my bathing suit for propriety’s sake.
I wasn’t scared of waxing … I was scared of waxing AND I was cheap.
That’s why, when Eve Salon offered to usher me into the world of grownups with a full Brazilian and a little eyebrow maintenance tossed (AND I happen to be dating a guy who is of the less is more opinion when it comes to vagina hair) I knew I had to do it.
Nestled in Greenwich Village, the salon was totally welcoming to a weirdo like me. A poster of a hairless cat sat outside. This amused me greatly, and any nerves I felt dissipated in the face of pussy-based humor. If nothing else, my vagina hair was about to be ripped out by people with a solid sense of humor.
Once I checked in, I barely had time to sit down before I was ushered down a hallway by my waxer. Like a foolish virgin, I paused at the door. “I’ve never done any bikini waxing before, like at all!” I yelped at her. Like a good lover, she patted my arm and smiled, assuring me I’d be fine. “Now strip,” she said leaving me to disrobe.
If you have never gotten a Brazilian wax for your vagina before, let me tell you right now that wearing a romper to said waxing appointment is a bad idea. It’s weird enough having someone inspecting your vagina and labia and letting loose the odd “hmmm” as they do so, but needlessly being topless for such an encounter really upped the whole weird factor.
For me, not for my waxer. This Brazilian waxer was a pro.
She won me over immediately by starting with my eyebrows. I’m secretly vain about them. I’ve got a great natural shape and I’ve never had to pluck let alone wax. After examining my face seriously for a matters of minutes she proclaimed my eyebrows “perfect” and refused to touch them.
Sadly, this was not the case for my vagina and her friend, buttly, the hairy butthole.
My waxer finally pronounced that because it was my first time she was going to use a combination of soft wax, and hard wax. You know what soft wax is, it’s spreads on and then is pulled off with a strip of linen. Hard wax is poured over your junk, then it hardens, and then the ripping.
My god, the ripping.
If you get a Brazilian regularly, soft wax is probably all you need. But if you are a veritable forest of pubes (such as I once was) an experienced waxer will want to use hard wax wherever possible so that you see real results.
I haven’t given birth, but I’d like to think that when I do, my waxer would have no problem being my doula, god knows she’s familiar enough with my vagina.
Girlfriend gets pain, too. She had me inhale and then exhale three times rapidly, pulling off the wax on the third breath. I began sweating through the paper protecting the table, which naturally made me feel like Shrek getting a Brazilian, but any shame I felt evaporated as my waxer and I began to talk.
She told me that she thinks everyone should get waxed, whether their partner wants it or not, if it makes them feel sexy. She says that pain makes you feel like you walk out of there having accomplished something real. She also said that the adrenaline burst you get during the pain of a wax also releases endorphins so it’s not unusual to get a burst of happiness post-wax.
Having someone new looking at your vagina is never not awkward, but my waxer was all business without being dismissive. After getting a particularly stubborn patch of hair off my labia she grinned, “beautiful!”
It was the same reaction you or I might have when we finish building a piece of Ikea furniture all on our own.
Once the bikini wax was finished, I was given an aftercare cream and told to wait 48 hours and then make sure to exfoliate. As I was escorted to the lobby I felt like I’d gone to see a very understanding and non-judgemental doctor.
Walking down the street to go get on the train I was hyper aware of my newly bare vagina and I felt sexier than ever. There is power in these rituals we put out body through, power in surviving them, in demonstrating our strength and to me, nothing is sexier than that.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.