Does your vulva look like Edward James Olmos at 5pm?
Haven Spa's new location on Mercer street is the kind of place that makes you rethink your life choices. As I slipped into a luxe layered robe of terrycloth and velveteen and gazed up at the LED star-filled ceiling, I wondered if it was too late to start f*cking strangers for money.
I was sitting in the dimly lit waiting lounge, pretending to read an old copy Allure and wondering if the bowl in the center of the table contained a nut medley or potpourri. Luckily for us all, I didn't have time to figure it out, because my technician Marte arrived.
"Are you ready?" I nodded.
"Yes, let's tend to my ass and vagina," I said standing and tightening my robe. I don't think she heard me, or if she did she chose to ignore what was presumably a gaffe on my part.
Any woman in the city worth her salt knows to fret about environmental damage to her face and gets the odd facial when a dull complexion and clogged pores command it. (I've even been known to drunkenly slap on a Korean face masque before crashing out for the night.)
But there's skin that we've been neglecting — nay, downright abusing — and that's the skin surrounding all of our nether-holes.
Haven's Baby's Bottom and Peach Smoothie treatments promises you a butt free of acne and ingrown hairs, and a mound of Venus so exquisite that someone will want to write that bitch an ode. (I'm talking a fancy once, probably accompanied by lute.)
I'm not a waxer. (I tried an at-home kit once. I failed at this at-home kit. My bits looked like stew meat. I had to wear Depends to sop up the blood), but I'm a shaver with delicate skin. My skin is fair enough that if I had a dream of a zit when I was eight, there's probably still a red mark on my thigh from it.
Going in I was pretty sure that Marte was going to be shocked by my front-bottom (garden designed by Daniel Day Lewis, circa My Left Foot). This would be fine, I told myself, because she would then view my ass which was, verily, a splendor to behold. It is here that I should point that I am, as the French say, ass-proud.
It didn't go down that way. First off, we started with my butt. Marte couldn't have been nicer, walking me through the process of cleansing, treating, and a peel. But truly, my ass was in rough shape.
"I see blemish here, here, and here," she said sadly. After a moment, "This one is just a scab." A wave of shame washed over me, the way it would when an adult woman stranger is gently bathing your butt like maybe you're an Adult Baby fetishist. As she freed some ingrown hairs, I wondered if a scabbed-over butt zit was a metaphor for my life. I settled on "no."
The butt peel stung, but pleasantly. Imagine a nest of affable hornets tenderizing your meat through a thick fog of opiates. She finished off with a mud pack and I tried desperately not to fart, something that's quite challenging for me in the best of circumstances, but made almost impossible when I'm nervous. I'm proud to say that in this, I succeeded.
With my hairy lips splayed under Marte's mirror, I braced myself for inspection. But shockingly, Marte was pleased with what she found. She began repeating the steps she had employed on my Judas-like buttocks, and we started chatting.
She was passionate and professional, and when she told me to come to her and try my first professional hard wax, I swore fealty.
"It will hurt, especially the first time," she warned.
"Pain is beauty!" I chirped inanely, a thing I fully don't believe. In the distance, I heard the sound of the ocean.
"Steam machine in another room," Marte explained.
She plucked one ingrown hair from my coat of many colors (jk jk, it's just the one) and then I felt a prick on my inner thigh.
"Hmmm, this I should not have done," she said. This isn't a thing you hope to hear murmured over your genitals ever really, but I took it in stride, Marte's skill and Haven's curative properties washing over me. Later inspection would reveal a pre-zit, explored before its time.
"Later, my pus-laden friend," I said tapping it fondly. "Later."
Instead of the mud-pack which was currently marinating my shanks, my sex-trap was coated in a soothing and cooling mixture. Marte left my sin den to suck up the power of these treatments and I stared up at the ceiling in the dark for 10 minutes, wondering why the hell I had decided to keep my bra on. (The world may never know.)
When I was done and dressed, and even as I was frantically trying to get a cab outside, I felt strangely pep-filled, pretty and clean. There's something energizing about having one's bits tended to, a fact I needed to remember to tell my nearly two-year-old godson the next time he refused to lay down and get his diaper changed.
That night, my bottom skins both front and bottom having been thoroughly inspected by my bedfellow Dom, I was still feeling the effects of this facial for my junk region.
"I got a hint of lavender," Dom remarked.
"Really?!" I smelled nothing.
"I think it was the uh ... position," he explained.