Wax On, Wax Off
While never wanting to appear pre-adolescent, I have nonetheless been waxing my "bikini line" since I was nineteen. From petite inverted triangle to landing strip to a lightning bolt (I was crazy pregnant and I thought it would be funny to surprise my midwife when she checked me later that day), my pubic hair has been lovingly groomed and 'scaped for nearly half my life.
I've used wax strips, cold wax, hot wax and sugars, all to varying degrees of success. The formula was easy: use whatever method to shape the hair up top and then trim down below with scissors (early '90s), a beard trimmer (late '90s), and finally, hot wax applied by someone other than myself.
When I was pregnant with Miles my friend Hannale–she of the aforementioned lightning bolt–was an aesthetician.
(Did you know that some women have yeast infections which last their entire pregnancy? Me, neither, until I got one. For nine months.)
So I was bitching about my stupid, unbalanced vagina one day, when Hannale said, "Let's just wax it off. The hair."
"You can DO that? ALL of it?"
"It wouldn't be so irritating."
"Damn, do it yesterday, please."
For nearly seven years I was waxed monthly. I couldn't remember the last time a razor sliced across my skin. I waxed my legs, underarms, eyebrows and bush (which, let me just say, was never very Foxxy Cleopatra, even before I took up with the grooming). Until last fall, when a routine waxing appointment went horribly awry: I had second-degree burns under my arms and folliculitis with a staph infection ON MY LABIA which freaked my shit out completely. Once the lab results came back and the course of antibiotics was finished I vowed never to wax my bits again. At least, not for a good long while.
I do that. I freak out a little sometimes.
I bought a Venus razor and Skintimate shave gel and began my life of thrice-weekly pussy shaving (Monday, Wednesday and Friday, unless I had a date in the interim). I didn't mind it so much, but I missed the smoothness, the weeks'-long-baby's-bottom-feel-how-slick-put-your-face-there smoothness I'd grown accustomed to. Not that I'd never been subject to ugly, painful ingrown hairs when I'd entrusted my snatch to the ministrations of others and resigned myself to coaxing, pinching, tweezing the fine, stubborn little burrowed strands from beneath my skin. I'd grown accustomed to that, too.
My fine, downy, nearly straight bush, while shaved between my legs, was being tweezed up top, and was steadily increasing its coverage of my pudenum. Because, let's face it, pulling hairs out by the root one by one is not only painful, it's time consuming. But I did it. To keep things neat.
I started to like my hairy bush, un-Foxxy as it was. I started to notice that my furry pussy has a stronger scent–a scent which I love–especially during my period. I started fantasizing about letting everything go natural. I'm not so hairy, after all. I could neglect my legs for months, the sparse blonde strands barely registering to the naked eye. My underarms were the same. I can't neglect my eyebrows, because for some reason, they are damn bushy if I don't groom them with serious regularity. Like that chick from Dodgeball bushy. Like Frida Kahlo bushy.
Last spring I was in New York, sporting my new, shaved below, bushier up top cunt. I announced that I was going au naturel. I was encouraged and supported and fucked senseless.
This summer, on vacation with Jefferson and our children, I commented as he was cupping my pussy in his hand as a precursor to pre-dawn sex, "Can you believe how hairy I am?! Isn't it awesome?" His laugh and subsequent, "Yeah, you've got a regular Seventies bush there" made me laugh. And yet it was something. I could pet myself, stroke myself there and lull myself to sleep like a kitten. Take the soft wisps between my fingers and pull them toward my toes, circling fingers back over my clit and sighing.
That was vacation. That was summer vacation. I even let my nails grow, shaping and polishing them, sharing candy-colored laquer with Lillie, scratching my lover's back with the hard, rounded-square extensions of my fingers which are never present in my real life because I can't work with nails which extend beyond the tips of my fingers. I even got a French Manicure when I returned home.
Then life kicked in. I started seeing clients. I soaked my fingernails in acetone and scraped off the polish that looked, from the start, phony and ridiculous, like a bride's wedding ring photo. I clipped my nails to their normal, uber-short state. I started seeing lovers to whom, after weeks off, I needed to explain my new bush. No one was put off by it, but the annoyance of having to preface contact with, "Oh, by the way, my kitty is furry now" was real.
Also, I realized one day, while jerking off, that I was less sensitive than I'd once been, and having to pull silky hairs aside to position my bullet properly, that I was annoyed at the intrusion. I was annoyed that something which was so easy in the past had now become a task, and one to be reckoned with. Point: My snatch was not as responsive as it was, and I was not pleased.
I balked at buying new razorblades. I shuddered at the thought of more tweezing. I made an appointment with a new waxer.
On Thursday I swallowed my (possibly unfounded) fears, walked into the spa with my children and set them up with coloring books and Boggle Jr. The aesthetician, whom I discovered I knew, as her daughter was in Jack's preschool for a year, led me back into the quiet, Native American Flute-saturated private rooms of the spa. I kicked off my sandals, tossed my underwear into a chair and assumed the position.
We chatted as she unceremoniously slathered hot (HOT!) wax onto my skin and ripped, strip after strip, not pulling skin taut, not placing the heel of her hand on the newly offended patch, not even offering a heartfelt, "I'm sorry" when I winced or cried out in pain. I suggested, as I do, that I have no problem lending a hand to hold a fold to the side, ". . . you know, if it would make things easier. "
"You're fine," she bristled, "we're almost done."
It hurt like a motherfuck, and I'd taken Ibuprofen in preparation.
I could barely sit on Thursday evening. Friday wasn't much better. I cursed the waxer and her ilk. I slathered my bruised and tortured bits with arnica gel and oil of lavender. I complained. Disapproving Maya sympathized. My skin recovered.
It is the middle of the month. My inner labia are fat and pink, not from the torture of waxing, but by the influx of hormones which surge from within me mid-cycle. I am like a bitch in heat, sex swollen, anxious, horny, desperate for a release.
My children are sleeping in their beds. No lover will come to me tonight. But I have my Babeland Silver Bullet and Njoy Pure Wand laid out on the mattress. Looking forward to jerking off as I remember it: Slick and sensitive and fuck-all fantastic.
Tomorrow I will begin looking for a new waxer. That bitch can rot in Native American Flute hell.