I’ve often wondered how many precious minutes of my life have been lost while I was locked in the privacy of my bathroom, warming a small strip of Sally Hanson wax with my 1800 watt hairdryer, preparing to coif my seemingly uncoiffable bikini region. I usually wonder this as I’m chugging a vodka tonic, doing deep breathing exercises, and enjoying those last few peaceful seconds before I pull the strip off.
You probably know the rest of the story because it might have happened to you once or twice. The strip comes off with four measly hairs, the wax gets caught on some hair that you weren’t intending to remove and you’re left with a Sally Hanson wax-strip icicle dangling between your legs. After enduring the pain of yanking that off, you realize you’ve now got a couple of bald spots in places you don’t want to be bald.
Not long after one of these unpleasant experiences, I came across a story with a quote from San Francisco skincare and waxing goddess Marilyn Jaeger in reference to Brazilian bikini waxing: “If you want to sell the house, you’ve got to mow the lawn.”
Marilyn’s wisdom caused me to reflect on my own home and lawn, which was currently on the market but lacking any interested buyers. I decided that I needed to be ready to sell when a buyer came looking so I made an appointment at Marilyn Jaeger Skincare to take it all off, Brazilian style. Almost as soon as I made the appointment I wondered what the hell have I done?
For years, I’ve heard horror stories of the Brazilian bikini wax. Getting down on all fours, raising a leg like a dog peeing on a tree, spreading my butt cheeks to allow a complete stranger to apply hot wax in the most private crevices of my body; these didn’t seem like things I needed to rush out and experience (at least not in public). Friends of mine—amazing women with high pain tolerances who’d squeezed ten pound babies out of a ten centimeter hole—told me they’d cried from the pain of a Brazilian. What was I doing?
Summoning my courage, I decided that it was time to shed light on the truth behind the Brazilian. If I was scared to do it, there were bound to be other curious, scaredy cats out there too.
The salon is located in a gorgeous Victorian home in San Francisco’s Presidio Heights area. I was comforted upon my arrival by a friendly staff, beautiful décor, the delicious smell of clove candles, and a nice stout glass of white sangria. As I gulped down the sangria, I worried they were trying to get me drunk to dull the pain. I drank faster.
I was led to my private room by a nice woman named Karla who informed me that she herself was Brazilian. I was strangely comforted by the fact that I’d be getting a Brazilian from a Brazilian. I felt as if she had some insider knowledge on how this thing needed to be done, as if they taught the art of waxing in Brazilian elementary schools.
Inside the room, Karla told me to undress from the waist down and pointed out the chair where I’d leave my clothes. I waited for her to leave—the way your massage therapist or aesthetician leaves so you can undress in private—but she kept talking, waiting. Shit, I thought, I have to undress in front of her. Considering she was about to see my most private areas, I’m not sure why this bothered me. I talked and laughed nervously as I bounced from one leg to the other to remove my boots and then my jeans.
As I lay down on the cushy table I laughed nervously (again) and told her it was my first time. Jesus, I thought, why am I acting like such a jackass? It’s just a few hairs. She patted me on the leg and told me not to worry; we’d be done before I knew it.
She then asked me whether I wanted to remove all my hair, or if I preferred a landing strip or a small triangle. I opted for the triangle. She did a little preliminary trimming and after that she asked me to bend my left leg to the side.
There I was, my womanliness fully exposed for a stranger on a table in Presidio Heights. As she prepared the wax, I had a horrible, sick thought: What if the hot wax feels good? What if I like it? I couldn’t figure out how I’d channeled the maturity of a seventh-grade boy, but I started to laugh nervously and she patted my leg again to calm me.
I won’t sugar-coat it for you. The removal of my hair at the top of the “V” hurt like a mother. But Karla knew what she was doing and she did it quickly and—as I saw later—perfectly.
The next phase was something I dreaded even more. She’d be removing the hair further down, in the (ahem) labia region. (Sweet Jesus, where’s the vodka when you need it?) For this, she asked me to extend my left leg and rest it on her hip. I readied myself for the most horrible pain of my life, but after the strip was removed, I was surprised to find that this removal was far less painful than the previous one. After a couple of more pulls, Karla told me my front was done. “Time to do the back,” she announced. She asked me to turn over on my stomach. Where was the crouching on all fours? This position seemed dignified in comparison.
Now this was what I’d really been dreading. I’m not an ass girl. This is probably too much to reveal on a public Web site (but since I’m telling the world about my hair-free vagina, why not?). I like to think I’m adventurous, but I’ll never be the girl who makes a special request for any back-door action. So at this point in the appointment I’m sweating bullets.
“Spread the cheeks, please,” Karla requested.
As I felt the heat of the wax, I wished for a leather strap to bite on. I tried to remember algebra. I sang songs in my head. Mary had a little lamb, little lamb …Then, rrriiippp. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt at all. Another couple of pain-free rips and I was done.
I thanked Karla and made my way to the front to pay. Marilyn herself came out to ask me how it went. I told her it was pretty easy and not as bad as I’d expected, but that it did hurt a little. “Well, anytime anyone’s yanking hairs out of your pussy, there’s gonna be a little pain,” she said. I liked her instantly and vowed to make Marilyn and her staff the official keepers of my nether regions.
My learning is this: it’s not as bad as you think. If you get your eyebrows waxed, you can probably withstand the pain of a Brazilian. If you’re remotely curious, I say go for it. But do a little homework and go someplace reputable so you’re not crouching down on all fours behind some thin shower curtain in a lonely, dark back room.
One of the other Brazilian myths I’m still waiting to confirm is that you’re more sensitive because of your newly shorn privates and thus, more orgasmic. I’ve not yet had the pleasure of finding this out, but apparently Eva Longoria was quoted as saying she had her first orgasm ever after getting a Brazilian.
The one thing I can confirm is how good it feels to give this area a little care and love. I might be the only one who ever sees it, but I feel more put together, somehow; the same way I feel after I get a manicure, a facial, or highlights. As Marilyn says, “A clean girl is a happy girl.”
I couldn’t agree more.