It breaks my heart that Sex and The City ended. For nearly a decade, I could pretend that women really do gather together over Cosmos, talking about sex, career, relationships, and the meaning of life according to Carrie Bradshaw, all while decked out in Manolo Blahniks and sporting styling haircuts, both cranial and pubic. As a gynecologist, my whole life changed when Sex and the City showed up. Suddenly, I had to sign up for HBO just to keep up with my patients. They would show up at my office saying, “Is my vagina depressed like Charlotte’s?” or “How can I turn myself into a Samantha in the bedroom?” Suddenly, for the first time in my medical career, women were actually talking about vaginas! Then it ended. And just like that, an era was over. I find myself mourning the weekly chatter that got women talking. When it ended, I cancelled HBO. But Sex and the City lit a pilot light within me. It got me so jazzed about the sparkle that emanates from empowered women that I started to do things I might never do. I started a blog about being authentic. I wrote a book called What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend. I decided to strip off my white coat, get down off my doctor pedestal, and tell it like it is. Take bikini waxing, for example. For most of my life, such topics would be completely taboo. But Sex and the City inspired me. What if I told the truth, just like I was sitting there with Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte? Surely, they wouldn’t judge me if I told the authentic story about my own bikini waxing experience. Surely, Samantha would tell me about how she just purses her lips and sucks it up for the sake of pubic beauty. Surely, Charlotte would blush and confess to how she cleans up her own landing strip. Surely, Miranda would admit that her red bush is perfect au natural, thank you very much. And of course, Carrie would write her column about how we all must express ourselves authentically, regardless of how we look when we strip off our La Perla lingerie.
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Surely, we are the same kind of community. It can’t be an accident that Sex and the City resonated with so many women. I know we’re out there, in the flesh, dying to talk about this stuff in a place where we feel safe. So here goes. Let’s get this party started. A story from my personal archives (and a preview from What's Up Down There? Questions You'd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend): Most of my life, waxing held no appeal for me. Going to the gynecologist once a year was mortifying enough. (Yes, even gynecologists get uncomfortable in the stirrups.) So baring it all for the waxing gurus to strip away layers of skin cells, stripes of hair, and my remaining modesty for the sake of pubic beauty just wasn’t my bag. But one hot summer day, I decided to try it by myself at home. After all, I’m a gynecologist, I reasoned. How hard could it be? With no one around and bikini season upon me, I pulled out the home waxing kit a friend gave me as a gag gift and plugged in the wax. One simple step, and I’d be bikini-ready. Or so I thought. Hours later, I found myself sitting on one of the blow-up donut pillows we send home with women after they give birth, slathered in aloe vera and numbing myself with an ice pack
Needless to say, I learned a few things. Lesson #1 DO NOT apply hot wax without testing the temperature first. Hot wax burns the bejesus out of you. And that butt-ugly burn sticks around. Lesson #2 Let the wax cool completely before pulling it off. Otherwise, the wax will not come off in one fell paper-ripping swoop. Instead, it leaves a gummy hornets’ nest of sticky, hairy, tangled goo that scissors can’t cut and additional strips won’t remove. Lesson #3 Go out and buy nice skinny wooden applicators, rather than using the humungous two-by-fours they include in the kit. It’s impossible to craft a porn star landing strip using a canoe oar. Without the help of a nice, delicate, wooden applicator, you’ll wind up with a cue ball for a coochie. Lesson #4 Don’t use the fancy-schmancy scissors you use to cut your bangs to chop out clumps of wax-laden pubic hair. They’ll end up in the trash can, stuck to the toilet paper you tried to use to mop up the extra wax. Lesson #5 Make sure you pee before you start waxing. Nothing like acid on a wound to send you through the roof. Lesson #6 Load up on that wax removal product the kit recommends buying. Since my waxing was a spur-of-the-moment decision, I proceeded without any clean-up aids. Hours later, there I was, pubes tangled in the equivalent of chewing gum, careening bare-assed through the kitchen in search of utensils or products that might rescue me from my waxy nightmare. Lesson #7 Avoid all alcohol while waxing. Halfway through this ordeal, I sought solace from a leftover margarita, still in the martini shaker from the previous night’s Mexican fiesta dinner party. All this achieved was a reduction in my inhibitions, resulting in Lesson #8. Lesson #8 Vegetable oil does not clean up bikini wax. Sure, it works great to remove the beeswax I use for my art. But bikini wax plus vegetable oil equals bloody disaster (literally, by this point). Lesson #9 Make sure you put your head hair up in a clip before embarking upon a bikini wax adventure. When the wax meant for your pubes ends up in your locks, it gets ugly. Lesson #10 Think twice about whether you really want to be a middle-aged woman with the va-jay-jay of an eight year old. I have to say, once all was said and done, I felt robbed. And even if I didn’t, I’m far too scarred from my one horrifying experience to fly my airplane down that landing strip again, if you know what I mean. Is it safe to wax your bikini line at home? Maybe, when forethought and sense are employed. However, the moral of my story is this- do yourself and your coochie a favor and seek professional help. So, tell us YOUR stories! Have you experienced similar pubic catastrophes? Other embarrassing or empowering journeys? What’s your Sex and the City story? We’re here for you, linked arm in arm, toasting Cosmos to your truth. Back to bushy, Lissa