I wanted to look sexy for my man. Instead, I looked sparkly.
When I went for a Brazilian wax, my choices were landing strip, Dorito (a small triangle of hair aka "The Bermuda Triangle") or completely bare (at no extra charge.) I opted for the Dorito, ironically the most natural of the three looks. It wasn't my first wax, but it was my first Brazilian. My friends had raved about the slippery sex with no hair to get in the way, and I was looking to do something special for our first night away since the birth of our twins.
"Dorito is a nice choice," Pamela said as she pressed my knees apart and began to prep the area.
"I don't want to be completely bald," I said twice. Even though my friends raved, my inner feminist believed that a grown woman should have some hair down there. I was going for an experience, not a look.
I didn't yell as she ripped the first strip of hair off my lips. Apparently, natural childbirth had toughened me. But as she did the other side, I honestly questioned which experience was worse.
"Think of the sex," I repeated as a mantra. I felt her smear the wax across my front with relief, assuming she was shaping my Dorito into a perfect triangle. The pain was horrific, and covered an area larger than expected. I took a peek.
She'd just removed all of my pubic hair. My eyes caught hers, and she instantly noticed her mistake.
"I'm so sorry," she said. "I was on auto-pilot."
Apparently the Dorito wasn't a popular choice. She looked like she was about to cry.
"Don't worry," I reassured her, but she was already halfway out the door.
"Wait here," she said. "Let me see what I can do for you." I expected her to tell me my waxing was on the house, or to return with a complimentary "try us again" coupon. Instead, she came back with an array of plastic sheets covered in rhinestones: a set of thick red lips, S.W.A.K., and a skull and crossbones.
At first I thought she was offering me a token I could take home to give new life to a worn bag or t-shirt, but as she started laying them against my pubic bone, I realized she wanted to bedazzle what once was my bush.
My pubes and I had been together for almost three decades. At a pool party in sixth grade, I discovered kinky black hairs creeping out of the sides of my bathing suit. I kept my body wrapped in a towel, knees pressed tightly together. I turned out to be a late bloomer, still years away from becoming a woman, but apparently my pubes were precocious.
While most people have the typical anxiety dream about their teeth falling out, my dreams were full of thick, coarse hair taking over the tops my legs, growing all the way down to my knees. At a slumber party, we stole my friend's mother's razor and practiced on our legs. The next day I snuck into my parents' shower and applied the lesson to the fuzz creeping past my bikini line.
I left for college with my own daisy razors and three bottles of shaving gel made "just for her." I still hadn't come to terms with my cursed carpet, but with frequent and fervent shaving, I believed I had it under control. As we packed for spring break, I tried on my roommate's bikini, a faded navy blue J.Crew two-piece with a bandeau top.
"You've got to trim that bush," she said, handing me a pair of manicure scissor and locking me in the bathroom.
"How short?" I called out, dropping my tight black curls into the toilet, embarrassed that my shaving hadn't been enough.
"Short," she said. And she was right. The bathing suit looked much better lying flat against my pubic bone. I added a weekly trim to my daily shaving ritual.
Settled in New York City, making money and watching Sex and the City, waxing became de rigueur. Afraid to go alone, I dragged a friend with me the first time. I opted for the French bikini, waxing the areas I normally shaved, paying her to trim the rest. I screamed when the technician ripped off the first strip.
"Are you OK?" she asked, but I swear she stifled a smirk. My friend kept her distance as we paid, embarrassed to be seen with the woman that everyone in the waiting room heard yelling. I found a new technician who trimmed for no additional cost and who I trusted not to laugh. For years, I kept a standing six-week appointment and was free from worry about my pubic hair.
I got married. I got pregnant with twins. For the last four months of my pregnancy I couldn't see my bush, allowing it to revert to its natural state. Once the kids were born, I could see the jungle between my legs, but I was too tired to care.
Eventually the twins started sleeping through the night. I started waxing, and my husband and I experienced sex as parents (not often). To celebrate our anniversary we booked a hotel, and I booked a wax — a Brazilian wax that now included complimentary bedazzlement.
"It's OK," I said. I really just wanted to get home and have a close look at the vagina I hadn't seen in almost thirty years, but Pamela insisted on vajazzling. It might have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I really picked out the pale blue abstract design just so she would let me leave.
My husband and I both found it more comical than sexy. I kept my jewels for a few days, careful to cover up in front of our two-year-old boys, for fear that my sparkly vagina might get burned into their impressionable brains.
In preparation for the big night, I peeled them off one by one. The experience was totally worth it, and I found being completely bare made me feel surprisingly sexy. I would definitely go for the Brazilian again, but I'll leave the bedazzling for my t-shirts.