The wax torture chamber
Irina will start by covering the area with baby powder similar to the way your mom may flour the kitchen counter before pounding out a homemade challah dough. When you're staring at the ceiling and Irina is staring at your powdery peach, it's amazing how quickly you begin to imagine it looks like Ian Holm from the 1979 thriller Alien, all white and gooey and somehow independently alive. At this point it helps to focus on the poster beside you of the smooth-legged woman feeding cherries to her bare-chested Italian lover.
Irina dips a giant wooden popsicle stick into the vat of hot purple wax, the cheerful witch that she is. Then she drags the wax in one long strip across the top of your bush and two strips up the outer edges. Irina steps back to let the wax set and asks sweetly, "You ready?" She smiles because how could you be and you try to convince yourself that busting out of the place and running down the street with a waxy yield sign framing your vagina is somehow an appropriate option.
Irina lifts the very end of the top strip and you flinch because you think it's the real thing and before you fathom that it wasn't the real thing -- HOLY HELL JESUS CHRISTMAS! She’s ripped the top strip from your body and replaced it with the pressure of her hand. Three seconds and your skin cools and life is chill again and -- MOMMY MOTHER F*CKING MARYBETH -- the strip along the side is gone. Again, Irina's gentle, comforting hand. Come hug me Irina, let's be friends -- SON OF A BLUE-FOOTED BOOBY -- another strip gone.
Irina will wax parts of your stuff you thought couldn't grow hair, much like the inside of your cheek. She'll do her job efficiently and with focus, occasionally giggling at your sweaty pain. After about 10 strips, Irina will command you: "Turn over and spread." Lying on your belly, with one hand on each cheek, Irina will cover your crack with hot wax like butter in a dinner roll. Again you'll flinch just as she's about to strike but, surprisingly, it doesn’t hurt. The only painful thing about this is the image of your butthole puckering violently in the face of fear. Instead it's sort of satisfying and direct, like popping a cork.
Once Irina is done in the back, you'll dress, thank, and ironically tip her, and return to the front desk. The women waiting in the lobby will look up from their magazines, searching desperately for the light in your eyes. The concierge has already figured out when your next appointment is: exactly a month from today, you hairy beast.
There's a unique joy in the aftermath of a bikini wax, like carrying around a secret that's sexy and smooth. It's a smirk of survival. Now, when you see a woman on the subway who appears privately pleased with herself, consider the possibility that her butt cheeks are stuck together. I always do.
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Hillary Waldstein is a writer who thinks it's great the bush is back. For more of her most intimate musings follow her on Twitter: @hillwald.