By Annaliese Meyer
Walking into a waxing parlour is something akin to giving an order for your own torture, and financing it. For only $30 per wax, you can lay back and relax while a stranger pours hot wax on your special flower and rips out, strip by strip, your shameful petals.
Pubic hair, like the woolen head band, low-rise jeans and the silver wallet chain have been retired. Some blame the pop stars that strut around in thongs thrusting their hairless crotches towards the adolescent audience holding up posters and waving their arms adorned with neon gel bracelets. Others claim the porn industry cleverly removed the bush from their simulations, perhaps to expose the “goods”, once hidden behind a nature’s curtain; thus causing young men, who had their first sexual experiences with these women, to expect the same pubic hair style from their girlfriends. After all nothing screams intimacy like telling your lover to alter the most sensitive part of their body to suit your needs.
The only detail that sets pubic hair apart from apparel, which is easily shed and replaced, is its regenerative quality. That pesky biological condition which also sends white blood cells to clot and repair cuts or heal an infection works against our hairless Barbie-vagina dreams. So we wax, laser or shave it away. But as any lady knows, it is not without an emotional cost.
My cost-yes I participate in this grotesque charade-is the constant judgment I receive from my waxer about my choice of style. I have a theory that she waits within the preverbal shadows, like a hunter who waits for a caribou to lean down and take a sip of water, to strike. Mid-wax the questions begin. “Did you shave in between appointments? Do you really never…? You should really…” Each question and comment hits like a bullet. And when she shows me what I’ve done to myself in that Bubblegum pink Dollarama hand mirror, she might as well have tied my hooves together with yellow twine and begun to drag me back to her Ford F-150. I am salami, smoked and devoured.
Waxing is a sticky business. Sure it’s pleasant to feel like a smooth Ikea tabletop afterward, but this cleansing sensation is always matched by my main query regarding pubic hair maintenance. How far to do we have to go before we finally feel cleansed? There’s a part of the whole process that feels like an exorcism. The demon being pubic hair, our shameful quality that reminds us of our ape origins. The waxer as the priest, guiding us through the process of ripping away the darkness, becoming exalted at long last. Sure, we don’t bend over backward and kill our waxer, but the narratives align in that we try to remove something unruly from our bodies and never quite succeed. The hair always returns, in the form of ingrown sores or in patchy thin tufts.
Perhaps, instead of the combative nature of both acts we ought to make friends with the demon. Put a pink bow on it and name it Sally. Because as it turns out, pubic hair is not an unearthly demon that needs to be destroyed, even though at times it may seem as such. It is a patchy thin tuft of hair that does not have nearly as much power over our lives as we imagine.