You will be probably be shocked at how many men, and how few women over 40, (with the exception of models, exotic dancers, athletes, etc.), actually know what a Brazilian bikini wax is. This is how I found out. This is what really happens behind the curtain number 2.





     There may be many of you that won’t be able to figure out how this went under my radar, but it did and didn’t. I had been going to a high end hair and beauty salon for years owned by a Brazilian group of sisters. They are known for their “Brazilian” bikini wax. There’s a photo over the reception desk with Gwyneth Paltrow thanking them profusely for the how greatly their work had impacted her life. Clearly Gwyneth did not have much going on. Much later, when I had begun commercial print modeling, an associate intimated that she told the man she was seeing, she had just gotten waxed. I was on the other end of the phone. 

“Why would you tell him that?”

“Oh my god, it’s such a turn on. They love it!”


    I accepted this explanation without understanding it at all. Getting waxed so you look don’t spider out of your underwear or bathing suit makes men go crazy?  Paltrow's life had been impacted? A girlfriend said telling a man you had a "fresh" wax turns a guy on? Until now, this was simply an another undiscussed part of female grooming.

     I let it go, (I do have a life), until it came up in a conversation with a male friend. He concurred that Brazilians were sexy. (He was not speaking of the indigenous population.) There was obviously a huge gap between the reaction and what I thought was the cause. I made a phone call to my ex, knower of all things he shouldn’t. I asked him flat out what a Brazilian bikini wax was.

 No hesitation. “All off, or just a bit left.” 

 “All off? What does that mean?”

“It means… like the day you were born. No hair at all.”


     This led to a great deal more pointless speculation regarding why I knew he would know about this, and I wouldn’t. After that poor use of my synapses it seemed necessary to progress to something that might questionably be a more productive. I realized that in my absence from the dating world, the definition of what was sexy or worse, even the standards for necessary grooming, may have changed completely. Long familiar with the uncomfortable, standard pre-vacation bikini wax, this already sounded excessively painful.


     Single again, in the contemporary milieu, this was hardly the time to be unsexy, a coward, or appear dated. I called a salon closer to home I’ve also gone to for years, and made an appointment with a woman I trusted.   


    I arrived there to her familiar smiling and disarming face. She led me through the softly lit, new age music pumped corridors to a private room. She handed me my wardrobe and said, “Put this on and I’ll be right back.”


     I looked at this disposable thing constructed of hospital gown type paper, in a sliding triangular form with its elastic appendages. This was serious design dysfunction. It didn’t seem to make me feel better that I could still leave my tank top on.


     I proceeded to decipher and don my disposable g string. I was still busy on the table, trying to arrange everything as modestly as possible, when my friend entered. I looked down at myself and shot her a look. It was obviously a familiar reaction because she laughed, reassured me, and then went to work.


     Being the sensitive and experienced woman she is, (even though she had morphed into a potential sadist in my eyes), she indoctrinated me slowly. She started with the bikini wax I was already familiar with and stoically dealt with, a precise, narrow, low, inverted triangle. The wax was already heated, so she dipped in a tongue depressor letting the excess wax drip back into her cauldron. The irony of this alternative use of a tongue depressor would typically amuse me if I didn’t know that the hot wax on it was intended for me. Then an innocent white muslin strip was rubbed onto the wax applied by the tongue depressor, to my sensitive inner thighs and more…

“Press here, hard as you can.”


     We both began vigorously slapping and pressing down on the area to cut the sting. She proudly lifted the strip to display my hair ripped out by the root.  This was the easy part, a bit more extreme but still familiar ground. I looked up at her as we were about to enter the unknown, “What do you think? What do most women do?”

“Good girls leave a landing strip.”  My eyes flashed up to the right, where light dawned.


     Normally, good girl anything would be the kiss of death to any decision, but pain was a factor here. I told her to go for the landing strip. We would decide on the dimensions later.


     Here is where the legendary female pain tolerance becomes tested. Let’s voluntarily have the hair pulled off one of the most nerve laden parts of our body, designed for pleasure, and exquisitely responsive. Needless to say, Lamaze training would have come in handy. …brace, breathe, rip, over, and over, and over…


     Stars were swimming in front of my eyes but I thought to myself gratefully, at least we're done.  

“Flip over”.

I had not anticipated this.


She had that no-nonsense look on. With nothing but elastics on my butt and under industrial strength lighting, I dutifully flipped.

“Spread your cheeks.”


                        No one talks to me like this. Even colonoscopies are done when you are under.


     The aerial view must have been one set of cheeks a brilliant crimson and the other, soon to be. Apparently she was now privy to a part of my body, I had never seen. She proclaimed this was a basic part of the process. I was hoping the previous pain had anesthetized me. It had not. I was almost beyond the ability to converse.


“Flip again.”


     With all the flipping, waxing, ripping, and examining, my disposable faux modesty g string had slid over to my right hip. To be truthful, I didn’t care anymore.


“What do you think?”


     I looked down at my own body without recognition. It looked foreign and ridiculous. It looked like someone had randomly glued something left over from someone else’s haircut on my body. Having ventured so far into this surreal episode, I firmly decided.

“No landing strip.”

“Are you sure?”


     I lay there like a turtle on its back with no fight left. The excess wax was cleaned away and I was powdered like a baby with a heat rash. I could feel residual stickiness as I gingerly pulled on my own thong and jeans. I felt defaced. Even the cooling cream which was supposed to be “refreshing” only made me question whether sulfuric acid felt much different. I hugged my Nazi, slowly made it to the desk to pay, and left.


     I thought to myself, low cut camisoles, tight jeans and lacy lingerie are just going to have to do. (I had no idea this would be further confirmed by a burn and a rash which would put me out of commission for at least a week.)


     It came to me that women that do this for a living, men, and gynecologists have seen more versions of this part of the female anatomy than I ever would. People with big ears cover them, those of us with a great mane show it off. We are usually aware of our best and worst features. We know what to flaunt and what we shouldn’t…but this?


Postscript 1: Just for fun check out what a merkin was and is. I think some of the women that have opted for laser might be interested.


Postscript 2: I have been told and read, that having a Brazilian increases sensitivity. I’ve also been told that it hurts less every time. Isn’t that called desensitization?


Postscript 3: There are women that like this look, are not as sensitive to the pain, whose skin is not as reactive, hence don’t have the same problems afterwards. They feel sexier, smoother, and don’t only do this to please men

Postscript New Jersey: New Jersey tried to make Brazilian bikini waxes illegal in 2009 because of post wax complications. It didn't pass.

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