The Brazilian Wax: Why Your Daughters Shouldn't
By Jane Bloomfield on July 08, 2014
Just like good old teenage pash-rash the, pubes-on - pubes-off debate seems to be never-ending. A lot of column inches have been spent trying to explain the current necessity for the sexually active population to remove pubic hair. I’ve read them all and grilled many beauticians, yet I still feel like an ignor-ray-mons.
I have regular lower leg waxes but never in my life have I had a bikini wax, let alone a Brazilian or a Hollywood.
I have however, endured hours of electrolysis of my bikini line back in the mid 80’s. Was it painful? YES. Unsightly post treatment? YES. Think plucked chicken, add blood. After each session raw follicles were swabbed with meths to help scabs form, then said scabs were dabbed with ointment to stop scabs falling off and scarring. The end result, after a year was a clean bikini line. And possibly a compromised nervous system.
Around about the same time my sister was trying to sell a boxful of Brazilian bikini bottoms she’d purchased in South America. Oddly these skimpy, ruched, elastic-less cheek revealing, crack riding thongs, albeit colourful, were not a hit with kiwi lasses. Looking back, it’s obvious why their native wearers chose to have a Brazilian. Wax.
When I was in the peer pressure zone, doing-exactly-what-my-teenage-school-friends-did, not much hair removal took place. Many a hairy lower leg poked out from our brown gingham shifts and the closest we got to treating our pubes was giving them a good dollop of conditioner in order to keep their seaweed lengths silky (thanks to fellow boarder Kate for that tip). If they stuck out the side of our speedos on sports day I don’t remember.
Not that I haven’t been tempted to TRY wax. Down there. I know delectable matrons of a similar age who sport sporty strips and clear landing gear. So I tried A DIY box-job last Valentine’s day, a cheap treat for the H. However, in your own boudoir with your teenage daughters screeching, ‘OMG Mum!’ Bent over your own van-wah, wondering how to place a sticky wax strip, with your skin in a less than suitable state. Not taut. I worried the whole lot was going to come away in me hands. And as for my caesarian scar that’s one line I don’t want to cross. Or see. Neat though it is, it’s my Plimsoll line. So I wiped the wax off and admitted defeat. I only wanted to have a go at the top bit. Anyway.
I have dabbled in trimming over the years. In fact, I have a patent pending on titillating-tush-topiary. I’ve fashioned: The box, the zebra crossing, the landing strip, the gift bow, the ‘E’, the heart, the lightning strike. Even an origami pelican. Kidding. All with nail scissors. Effortless pube-scaping. Regrowth free. Fun Saturday DIY job. Always completed.
I’m not the only one. Tom Ford, ran a controversial Gucci ad, in 2003, with a woman revealing pubic hair fashioned into a 'G'. Mons couture. Nowadays, there are websites that help you create your own stencils. The Beaver. The peacock. The peace sign.
BUT how did this totally hair-free lady garden fashion of the 2000s come about? Most say it’s because of the advent of ridiculously small underwear and low riding everything, further perpetuated by the porn industry. My interest in it goes as far as trying to curtail my own teenage daughters from ever buying into this zone of expensive never-ending depilatory torture. Most mums would understand it’s tragic enough when our daughters start shaving baby leg fuzz off at 10 - on a daily basis. Let alone being brainwashed into thinking they need to keep themselves in a pube-free pre-pubescent state. FOREVER. Yet it seems a generation of young women just feel cleaner hairless. It’s their normal.
Back in the 1400s women shaved their pubic hair to combat pubic lice. Then they donned a wig, by way of calico straps. A merkin. Sounds like a cute furry animal. I’ve wanted to sight a merkin since the age of 11 when my parents and their friends discussed them one Friday night while rolling about the floor laughing hysterically. Prostitutes wore merkins to cover up signs of disease such as syphilis. I recently saw a modern day adhesive merkin in lurid pink, it offered to make you look good when your re-growth wasn’t. Bad hair day of the cruelest kind. Eek.
Early art depicted women without rugs (which we know never match the curtains, but are FYI mostly the same colour as eyebrows). Take: La Naissance de Venus by Eugène Emmanuel Amaury Duval (1808–1885) for example. The goddess of love is a vision of womanliness yet has no pubic or armpit hair.
I don’t remember ever feeling dirty as I welcomed in every single pube I managed to procure. It was a reward, a badge of my much awaited ticket to women hood and all its worldliness.
Most young women today shave their bits smooth simply because regular waxing is out of their price range, at up to $80 a six weekly visit. Some do it in the bath. Tip: wash and condition first. Do not go against the growth go with it, as if you were shaving your beard.
Then there are the AFTER AFFECTS no-one seems to want to fess up about. The realities of regrowth in your nether regions. Anyone who has waxed anything will know that a week post wax those pesky hair follicles are bursting with new growth. New growth urgent to pierce through that lovely smooth skin you’ve been given a week to enjoy. It hurts. A painful prickly pressure builds. God knows what that feels like tucked into your knickers, pressing into your tender bits. Chaffing. Raw. But no one says. You do hear the odd thing like, “I had an ingrown hair that got so infected I had to go on antibiotics. It left a huge scar.” Urgggh. And what about stubble-downtime? Perhaps Brazilians are curtailing promiscuity?
According to, Emily Gibson MD, "Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds…It is not at all unusual to find pustules and other hair follicle inflammation…”
Aside from feeling cleaner, another reason for de-fluffing the fur burger is consideration for partners. “… You know, so he doesn’t get a pube stuck between his teeth when he gives me oral”.
However, this poses another question: why the full beards on a large percentage of muff diving males. Heavens to merkin-troyd. Those short and curlies have jumped ship. Merkin overboard. Tickle torture.
Yet pressure is not only on girls. Spare a thought for the young men trying to grow beards to keep a pace with hipster fashion and in some cases make themselves look older. My dad was a naval officer in the 60’s, as the story goes if the men in his charge could not grow a presentable beard within three weeks it was - off with your beard. Nowadays, men who can only manage a marmite-smear-of-a-beard or moustache are heading to New York facial hair transplant clinics and forking out up to $US8,000 to fill in the gaps. At least in the future if they decide to go beard free they can just shave.
At the same time some young women are heading to their IPL Consultant and having permanent Brazilians. This got me thinking about, **Dr Seuss and Sylvester McMonkey McBeen’s, Star-On Star-Off machine. Merkin-forebid. These women need to read the story of the Star Bellied Sneetches pretty dam quick. Otherwise sometime in the future they’ll be paying a plastic surgeon to get their furry-curtains restored. While the ad men, the marketers, the razor manufacturers and the hair-on hair-off brigade are running all the way to the bank.
Cameron Diaz spoke out about IPL in her latest book, "…Consider leaving your vagina fully dressed, ladies. Twenty years from now, you will still want to be presenting it to someone special, and it would be nice to let him or her unwrap it like the gift that it is." Diaz also got pretty verbal about lady gardens on a recent Graham Norton Show and spent quite a time shouting hello up her dress, which could have been a belt. ‘Why ARE you there? Why ARE you there?’
The answer to that question is: pubic hair provides cushioning and reduces friction (during all activities). Gigolo screen hairdresser, Borat can attest to that, having ze busiest bounciest bush in the business.
Rebel retailer, American Apparel is doing its pro-pube-bit, displaying mannequins with pubes in sheer underwear. Pubes so wonky and well, just plain bushy they reminded me of what my sister and I termed brunhilders, while holidaying in Portugal in aforementioned Brazilian bikinis many moons ago. Pubes that ran up to the navel like rampant vagina creeper.
Aside from Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow happily claims to rock a 70’s vibe. And 80's doyen of the dance floor, Madonna, has been sporting full armpit hair (although to me it looks fake). In keeping with, hairy = confidence, you can now get order up a, Full Bush Brazilian next time you’re lying prone on the wax table. Full garden out front, clean lips and butt crack, I quote, from the New York Mag. Like keeping the curtains drawn, but the venetians up. The retro wax. The foo-foo mullet. The why-bother. Just let it grow.
Even so, this may herald a new beginning. Banished will be the boys who grow up only seeing their mums with pubes. Son 11, shields his eyes if he sees me pant-less, like some UFO with a spot light is about to land – I’d hate to think how he’d react to the full monty mons. If pubes-on becomes the-new-sexy, he won’t have to.
And boys don’t be too worried if you can’t grow a beard. You could try a berkin. I’m sure Adam Sand was wearing one in the, ‘Secret Life of Walter Mitty’, it did look like he had a small animal glued on his chin pretending to be a beard. According to recently beard-free, Bee Gees Star Barry Gibb, ‘the beard pulls all your muscles down, so it’s not pretty if you shave. Every time I see Brad Pitt with that beard, I think. Better cut it before it’s too late.’
God gave you a triangle of hairs girls, cut the edges, trim them, make them into pretty shapes if you will. Just keep em. Let’s bring sexy back to pubes. At the end of the day no one wants pubes in their teeth, but is it really worth all that pain. Peace out.
Post script: I conducted a small survey, via facebook messenger last night, amongst a random international selection of early 20somethings. You might be surprised to hear what their spokeswoman had to report.
“... A lot of my friends have stopped waxing or at least are doing it less often, a lot of the guys we are friends with have no preference as to whether a girl waxes or not. So mostly the girls are just doing it for themselves, or out of habit. As for guys and beards, those of my friends that can grow them do and those who can't might wish they could but are happy enough either way. It seems it’s still a person to person preference that’s the deciding factor behind it although, some (both male and female) simply do it because their friends do, their partners want them to or most commonly because they think it’s ‘the norm’.”
**‘Belly stars are no long in style,’ said McBean.
‘What you need is a trip through my Star-Off machine.
This wondrous contraption will take off your stars
so you won’t look like Sneetches who have them on thars.”
…And that handy machine working very precisely
Removed all the stars from their tummies quite nicely…
Then, when every last cent of their money was spent,
The Fix-It-Up Chappie packed up. And he went.
And he laughed as he drove in his care up the beach,
‘They never will learn. No. You can’t Teach a Sneetch!’
(from: The Sneetches, by Dr Seuss)
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