Confessions of a Brazilian Waxing Queen

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Confessions of a Brazilian Waxing Queen

Illustration: Akshita Monga

I

’ve been giving bikini waxes for a living for three years now, and I’ve learnt to spot the first-timers.

The first-timers usually take a loooong time to take off their clothes. Sometimes I think it’s good to give them this time, in case they decide they want to run away. Some women actually do – sometimes before they begin, sometimes right in the middle of the process. A woman who left in the middle of her first Brazilian told me her husband would make comments about her pubic hair every time they had sex. She said that it made her uncomfortable because he sounded disrespectful, and that he would go to sleep soon after he was done and she wasn’t. I don’t know how she thought a Brazilian would make this better.

Another woman told me that two days before she came in for her Brazilian, she’d had super sex with a stranger she’d met at a club. She “liked it rough”, and her boyfriend didn’t, she told me. She believed that since she was doing something her boyfriend wouldn’t anyway, it absolved her of any guilt. I thought this was strange, but to each their own, I guess.

The first time I dipped a stick into the melted wax, it reminded me of the thick honey my uncle would bring home sometimes. The first woman I waxed was probably 19. I remember overhearing her telling her friend that she was getting a Brazilian because she planned to have sex for the first time the next day. I didn’t get the feeling she wanted to do it — the sex, not the wax, I mean. But apparently she had heard that her boyfriend had complained to his friends that after seven months together they hadn’t gone to third base. So she thought it was time.

The wax is applied after a generous sprinking of talcum power. It’s made hot but not so hot that it burns.

Anyway, her first time was also my first time – waxing, not having sex. What if I made it hurt more than it should? What if I pulled the strip off too slowly and then she complained to my boss? Usually, you should wax little by little but very fast. Then I remembered what I’d been taught by the woman who did this job here before me. She’d asked me to forget about the pain. “These women know it will hurt but they still come, so just go for it.” So I did. That poor girl, she screamed, and kept saying “bhenchod” a lot. That 19-year-old was so different from this other regular customer I have, even though they’re nearly the same age.

The girl who comes in often studies fashion design. Every time she visits the salon, I hear the same story again and again. Her parents don’t let her go out; they don’t let her meet her friends. When you’re 19, friends are everything, no? She tells me she will move to some other country after she’s done with her studies – any country – and leave her parents behind. She says she will visit once in two years and call them up once a month. As I pull the hair off her skin with a cloth, she tells me about a blue dress with velvet shoulder padding that she’d designed. This girl, I figured, is not the kind to be doing anything to please anyone else.

***

The wax is applied after a generous sprinking of talcum power. It’s made hot but not so hot that it burns. Once we apply it on the bikini line, we immediately put a cloth over it and press it down. Sometimes I ask the customers to stretch the skin above the bikini area so that it hurts less. Regular customers, like the fashion designer, do it as a matter of habit. Usually, we leave a thin strip of hair, unless we’re asked to remove it all.

One day, a fairly attractive woman walked into the salon. She was wearing a sleeveless white kurta, and I could see her blue bra through it. Big jhumkas were dangling from her ears; they looked expensive. Then she started taking off her pants in front of me (women usually like some privacy and take a long time agonising over the fact that they’re soon going to be buck naked in front of a stranger). I knew then it wasn’t her first time. She must have been my age — around 32 — and as she took off her pants, she asked me if I was married. Yes, I told her. “Does your husband make you do this,” she asked. I told her I’d never done a Brazilian and that I’d rather spend my time in a parlour styling my hair instead. She told me I had lovely straight hair, but didn’t say anything else about her husband.

Standing there with the woman, now wearing only the blue bra and jhumkas, I thought of the 19-year-old whose boyfriend wanted her to have sex. I wondered if she had gone through with it. I wonder why some of these women seem to be doing things for someone else rather than for themselves. Also, I don’t know what the big deal is with hair down there. What’s with all these men who have such a big problem with pubic hair? I wish I could tell these girls to run away – both from the boyfriend and the Brazilian, but I don’t. I’m not here to dispense relationship advice.

I’m here to strip hair. So I heat the wax and get down to it.

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