Wax on, Wax off.
Today’s post regards vadge-scaping, pubic-gardening, or twat-topiary if you will. VJ’s thoughts on the who, what, where, when and why of waxing.
I remember when I first started to realise that I was growing pubic hair, or more specifically I remember gazing in horror into a hand held mirror at those dark bristly things, protruding through my skin (at varying lengths), and transforming my once bare pubis into some sort of deformed hedgehog. We’d all been told about it in Sex Ed, that our lovely soft smooth labia majoras were going to (over-night it seemed) transform into some thick wiry brillo pad and welcome in a new age of hormones and inappropriate boyfriends.
I remember feeling distinctly disgruntled by the behaviour of my vagina, not only was it now sporting a patchy muff, but parts that were once secreted away were starting to protrude and, well, flap about. (I mean everyone knows what a wedgie is, but only the girls will understand the pure discomfort of a front labial wedgie – Good. God.). At times I just wanted to put my face as close to my crotch as possible and yell. FUCKING CUT IT OUT VAGINA.
In terms of intimate trimming it never really occurred to me that my new pubic garden needed much attention, it had come through all thick and dark and was doing quite alright on its own thankyouverymuch. I hadn’t even come across the term ‘bikini line’ (outside of this Smack the Pony sketch) until, like most other 15 year olds, I started to rifle through the glossy indoctrinating pages of women’s magazines. I was suddenly confronted with a world of pink lipsticks, brown bodies, and top tips for keeping every single part of my body ‘in shape’, including my new fuzzy pubis and the small roll of ‘puppy fat’ my mother assured me I would ‘grow out of’. So after much deliberation and (at the time) unconscious social pressure, I decided to shave. Everything.
I snuck a razor from my parents’ bathroom and secreted myself away in the downstairs bathroom. Not having any shaving foam (which is a fucking con anyway) I lathered myself up with shampoo and set to work. First my legs, which I hacked at for a good half hour, blood trickling from the small folds by the ankle (which are a BITCH to do) all the way up to the knee joint. I found that I had rather soft fair hair on my thighs so didn’t shave those – besides all the dancing women on the Venus adverts seem to stop at the knee that being my only point of reference at the time – so let them well alone. Then came the actual task. For a good hour I fleeced myself, shearing away every last wanton pubic curl, gathering it all up in a TESCO plastic bag that was subsequently buried deep in the bins outside. At the end of it all I stood admiring myself in the full length mirror. Knees bloodied, and pubis newly raw and pink, I was satisfied. Now I was just like the magazines. I had even gone as far as a ‘hollywood’ wax, everything was gone, I had restored myself to a pre-pubescent state. I could wear my bikini or underwear and feel like those seductive women on TV, flouncing about in slow-motion with only the hair on their heads flowing in the wind. My self-satisfaction at this result lasted about 48 hours. And then the fire nation attacked. By which I mean, I got razor burn, mother fucking razor burn. Now I’ve read Dante’s Inferno, and there was no mention of vaginal razor burn, but it is honestly one of the most insufferably painfully itchy sensations and I feel it deserves pride of place in one of the 9 circles.
Now what they don’t tell you about shaving on all these adverts, is that once you start, you can’t exactly stop . Hair grows back thicker and fuller and has to be tamed in shorter and shorter periods of time. I ended up shaving for a good 6 years, each time with a different result. Sometimes escaping razor burn completely, and other times having to invest in huge pots of sudocrem like I had a hoard of 3 year olds at home with nappy rash. It wasn’t untli my 21st year, after half a decade of suffering an itchy vadge, that in the name of further feminine indoctrination I decided to try waxing. I’d seen the girls talking about it on SATC and figured anything could be better than my current state of inflamed red affairs so I decided to give it a go. Before my appointment I googled high and low for what on earth to expect in a waxing session. Do they see my entire vagina? Do I have to strip completely? What length hair is acceptable? Will I yell and punch the beauty assistant? What if my hair looks different to everyone else’s? I didn’t find many answers online so I’ll post a mini what-to-expect-when-waxing guide after this.
After the first session, after much stifled cursing of the beauty therapist and clenching of fists, I left the salon with the best looking vagina I’d ever had. It was glorious, my dark curls were still in place, still thick and bushy, but they were somehow tamed and tidied without looking hacked away. My thighs slid across one another in a newly sensual way and my soft skin felt tingly and newly alive as fresh sensations resonated across my smooth skin.
I. Felt. Hot.
This was the first time after landscaping that I’d looked down to see a relatively happy pubic area. No bright red bumps marred my skin, no harsh bristly stubs of hair grating against my fingertips. Just soft, smooth, pale skin. I was hooked. For £9.99 I’d managed to save myself the irritation of shaving, and I wouldn’t have to worry about my intimate forest for around 6 weeks! Granted ingrown hairs can be a buggar, but life isn’t perfect. Shocker.
Now salons aren’t all the same, I’ve been for a standard bikini wax in my home town, thinking it was the same as every other place I’d had it done. It turns out they go much higher with the bikini line, giving you more of a mini-sculpted triangle look, whilst also delving down deeper than usual. I was quite taken aback at this change of events. With a very perplexed look on my face they asked me to lift my leg high into the air (thank god for yoga) as they slowly placed hot wax down the inside of my thighs and trailed all the way inside my arse cheeks. Before I could ask them what on earth they thought they were doing, they had ripped away the strip. Lying there in a state of dumbfounded confusion, I eventually decided that it would be stupid to just have one inner ass cheek waxed so let her finish the other side. After leaving the spa I promptly called a friend for an emergency coffee date mumbling something along the lines of ‘I’ve just inadvertently waxed my arse, and I need to talk to someone. NOW.’
Waxing is also different depending on the country that you’re in. I’ve recently traveled solo through Asia and have had waxes in Laos, Thailand, and Indonesia. Bangkok and Bali were fantastic – they probably deal with local ladyboys and tourists all the time – but if I have one tip for anyone thinking of waxing in Laos. Just. Don’t. The poor woman had no real idea about what she was doing, insisting that I remove my bikini bottoms, and slapping at my thighs with tepid wax whilst crouched over me in a squat position. In the end I was left bruised and sore for about 6 weeks.
It was as I was hiking through the Jungles of Laos enduring my bruised, patchy, vaginal area that I started wondering who on earth I was actually doing this for. I’d always associated tending to my pubic garden as a precursor to a sexual encounter with my then boyfriend. I’d have a wax, two days later (once the skin had calmed down) I’d go round his and have mildly satisfying sex (snore). Job Done. So what was my motivation here in the damp humid jungles of Asia? Was it for me? Or was it for the various sexual encounters I was looking to have on my travels.
After bedding a guy in the northern regions of Thailand, and him undoing my bikiniwear (that’s a bikini as underwear – I packed light) with just his teeth (HOT) and no mention of my ridiculous patchy and bruised hairline, I began to realise it was for me. Similarly after spending the night with a Norwegian sailor on a Balinese Island and his becoming so excited at the sight of my pubic hair:
Him: Oh my god, I’ve never slept with a girl who wasn’t totally bare.
Me: Seriously Norway? That’s ridiculous. I’m not fucking shaving it off.
Him: NO NO! It’s so…womanly.*rakes fingers through hair* And sexy.
Me: I’m highly aware of this fact, are you done? Can we Bang now?
I realised that I didn’t care what they thought. I decided that I love my hair, and that my waxing it is totally MY choice and entirely for ME. My hair makes me feel like a woman. I don’t want to sport one of those flailing child like porn-vaginas. I have a gloriously curly muff. It’s sensual and soft and most importantly, it’s mine. Just because I trim or tame doesn’t mean I’m less of a feminist or less sexy. Essentially men don’t care what state your bikini line is in. They either want you or they don’t. If they say it’s because of your hair, I’d be tempted to shave it off there and then and hide it variously amongst their belongings or sprinkle it in their food. Saying that, if you enjoy oral sex (men and women) a courtesy trim is appreciated, after all flossing isn’t foreplay.
Nowadays I regularly shave my armpits as needed, and operate under the idea that leg hair acts as an extra layer of warmth during winter months, and is thus not shaved unless I’m going to be seeing the wonderful John Donne. That’s not to say I do it for him, but rather that I personally feel sexier with shaved legs during sex, it heightens sensation and there’s something rather sensual about feeling your man graze his beard across soft shaven flesh. Tingles. Spine. etc.
Nothing makes me feel more in control of my body than tending to my nethers. Pubic hair is not a political battleground. Do what you want with it. But make sure you’re doing it for YOU. It isn’t the place of feminism to dictate what you do or don’t do with your hair. If you feel good doing something you should be proud of it. Climb up to the top of a mountain, lift up your skirt, vagina facing the world and yell:
I am Wanton. I am Woman. I Wax!