The question wasn't if, but what? Since I proposed the idea to interview some local bikini waxers on what it's like to stare at people's crotches all day long, I, of course, was nominated for the job. But the sensory focus of the article was "touch," I was reminded, not sight. I would have to be waxed.
"Get a Brazilian," urged more than one CL staffer. I told them I would make up my own wax and call it the "Mongolian." At first, I was going to choose a benign area, like my back or arm. But how fun would that be to write about? And besides, this issue is supposed to be useful to the reader. If I can't tell you how it feels to get a bikini wax, how can you make up your mind whether or not to get one for those long beauty naps by the pool?
Out of the hundreds of spas and salons, I selected Polished because of the free glass of wine before the follicle genocide. Wine might compliment a manicure, but for genital-area waxing, shots of Jack would be more appropriate.
"I would like a bikini wax and this is my photographer," I said to the guy at the counter. (My photographer, a member of the editorial staff, requested anonymity due to the traumatic events she witnessed.)
"An eyebrow wax?" the counter guy asked.
No, I said. "Bikini. B-I-K-I-N-I. We can call it a Speedo wax if you'd like."
My aesthetician, Haley Tran, was cute, which only made the experience more embarrassing. In her five years on the job, she had never laid a hand on a guy below the belt. She directed me to one of the closet-sized rooms. It had no ceiling, meaning everyone in the salon would hear my squeals of pain.
Haley had entered the room also thinking I wanted my eyebrows done. Poor Haley, if only I could be deterred.
She handed me a paper thong with an elastic waistline and told me to change into it. "Um, I don't think this will contain things," I said, which was meant as a comment on the narrowness of the panties more than anything else.
"It's all we have," she responded. Poor Haley.
The warm green goop smelled like pine needles and stuck to the hair like extra-sticky molasses. When the first piece of paper was laid down, I had a sense of how bad this would be. I thought about taking off down South Boulevard in my paper thong (which, as I suspected, turned out to be useless).
Haley prepared me for what to expect. "It hurts more the closer to the middle." Ah, the nondescript "middle."
At one point during the 20-minute session, I thought I might vomit. The pain hits you in extremely hot pangs. If you want a similar sensation without going through the process, I would suggest taking a lighter to your junk. Several times when Haley was closer to "the middle," I pounded my fist against the wall. A mild sweat broke out on my brow. Some sweat circles were on the table when I left, which, I'm pretty sure, originated from my butt.
Within 45 minutes the burning subsided, though the longest-lasting effect the waxing produced was emasculation.
Later that night, I was in a public restroom with a friend who knew the story. While using the urinal, I looked down and said, "Man, this bikini wax looks so weird." To my horror, a stranger was in a stall next to me.