It's Time for Guys to Appreciate Every Excruciating Detail of a Bikini Wax

Jason Hoffman's Thrillist illustration of bikini wax
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

You can't blame people for preferring that a lady perform at least minimal maintenance on her pubic hair. A well-kempt bush, or a fully bared beaver, appears nice -- like a color-coded closet or those tiny bags of lavender they sell at the Union Square farmers market. What isn't nice is the hell-road one must walk to get there: the dreaded bikini wax. 

Like period cramps and childbirth, the bikini wax falls under a category we may as well call, "Things Men Know Happen but Are Privileged With Never Having to Think About in Detail." But that ends today, penis-havers! It's time you know. 

There's more than one way to wax

For the uninitiated, there is more than one kind of wax job for the vulva. A panty-line bikini wax removes the hair growing outside what one might consider the "regular" underwear or bathing-suit line. A full bikini wax is more intensive than a panty-line wax, narrowing the line of pubic hair and taking some off the top of the vulva closest to the belly button. This style often creates the inverted triangle look. A French bikini wax leaves what's colloquially referred to as a "landing strip;" while a Brazilian does like the French but also waxes your asshole.


Then there's the Hollywood, which removes every. Single. Hair. And that, readers, is the walking tour you are about to take.

pills in hand

Pass the painkillers

On the day leading up to the wax, like any day in which your vagina will be handled by someone other than yourself (say, a gynecologist or a hot person), it's impossible to think about anything else. All other obligations fall dim against the blinding light of the looming wax. You'll likely find yourself, unprovoked, turning to your co-worker Briana during those moments of pre-meeting chatter and whispering, "I'm getting a bikini wax today." And really no one -- least of all Briana -- can blame you for divulging.
It's advisable to take two Advil before the appointment to grant yourself the illusion that the pain can be numbed. When you arrive at the salon, the receptionist will check you in. "Would you like to use the bathroom?" she'll ask. This question will trigger a rapid mental slideshow in which you imagine the worst-possible scenario should you choose not to go to the bathroom: spontaneous poop and pee at the first rip of pube.

The little room of horrors

Once you've finished in the bathroom, your beautician --- let's call her Irina -- will lead you back to the little room of horrors. I typically leave my pants and underwear folded in the corner to give the impression that I’m a very decent woman, and I leave my socks on for the sake of modesty... Although what is it about keeping your socks on that makes your naked junk feel just a little extra naked? Then I lay myself on the table with my knees together until Irina tells me to "open to butterfly." So I do, and then I am hers.

Fabio Alcini/Shutterstock

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.

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

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.