Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.

June 10–17, 1999

cover story

Waxing My Girl

In which a devoted boyfriend goes where few men dare — all for the sake of a neat bikini.

by Scott Huler

The whole thing started with a pool party. By the time it ended I had been initiated into rites arcane and terrifying to the degree that I feared Medicine Women might track me down with evil intent, but that’s getting ahead of the story. What you need to know is that I’ve gone where few men have gone — I’ve been to the mountaintop. I have achieved a level of intimacy so rare I had never even heard of it before.

What I’m trying to say is, I waxed my girl. Yes, waxed — yes, that kind of waxing.

Yes, down there.

It started with us relaxing and reading on her office couch. April (not her real name) asked a question without even raising her eyes from her magazine — it was that casual. We were going to a pool party, and she wasn’t ready.

"If I got one of those waxing kits," she asked, idly turning a page, "would you rip the strips?"

I didn’t know how to respond. Or actually I did — I said, "No!"

I said I didn’t want to do any waxing and ripping because that waxing area — down there — that’s about my favorite place on the planet, and the last thing I wanted to do was give April any reason at all to associate that area with pain, tears and me, all at the same time. Unmoved, April said something to the effect that if you want to enjoy the playground you’re going to have to trim the hedge once in a while, and I sat for a moment in thought.

And if you don’t mind my saying, I had some interesting thoughts. Bear with me.

First, regarding this whole waxing thing, which is to say this whole unwanted hair thing. I’m like every other guy, I expect: I say, and even believe, all the right things. "Shave your legs? Honey, I don’t care — I love you for your kind and expansive spirit, not your smooth legs. And your… uh… down there… well, you leave that any way you like it. I love you just the way you are."

"Liar!" hisses the little special prosecutor who lives on my shoulder.

He’s right. On legs it’s true—shins smooth, bumpy, furry, who notices? Under arms? Same deal. But… down there?I know a group of friends who had a pool party at which one woman arrived looking like she hadn’t… done any gardening for years, if ever. The women who were at that party still talk about it years later. Not the men — the women.

And guys, you’re sitting on the beach. You’re watching the show. And a woman walks by who, let’s just say her lawn is spreading over the curb, and right next to her a woman meticulously bare, smooth right up to that bikini bottom. We don’t even have to discuss this further, do we? A little less hair — a boundary — is nice. It’s the yang to that bikini bottom’s yin. It’s the piano that makes the forte. It’s the smooth that makes the rough so marvelous. I could go on.

So if April wants some help controlling the foliage, I’m willing to call in the napalm strike. April has delightfully comfortable feelings about herself down there, which I in every way wish to support. All I’m saying, when it comes to down there, I want April to be happy. I’ll do what it takes.

What it took was a box of Ardell Body & Leg Surgi-Wax Microwave Hair Remover. "No Muslin Strips Needed!" (My experience? Muslin strips are needed, but again I’m getting ahead of the story.)

Now a few words about intimacy.

The first thing I thought after I accepted this project was something along these lines: "Oboyoboyoboy!"

That lasted until April explained exactly what was going to happen, the whole wax-congealing-on-tender-hair-which-I-would-then-rip-out-by-its-roots thing. I could expect pain, I could expect crying, else why would she not simply pull the wax herself? I could even expect a drop of blood or so. Erotic this was not going to be.

Yet I was invited to participate. And that’s a highly restricted area. Just to be invited into the compound, even for a little maintenance, is pretty flattering.

So, in order to remain enthusiastic, I gave up erotic and shifted to intimacy.


 

"If I got one of those waxing kits," she asked, idly turning a page, "would you rip the strips?"

 



Good thing. When April came over a night or two later and we started to get situated — think the couch in the den, think a comfy red towel, think Nightline for soothing background — the excitement angle was all gone. April, still a little giggly, had gone somewhat pale. We had gone way past "This’ll be fun" — in fact, we were on the express, and we had shot by all intermediate stations and were pulling right in at "Don’t mess this up, buddy."

It turned out, for one thing, that April was brand new to this procedure herself — she had shaved there and been dissatisfied by the bumps, and she had tried all manner of evil-smelling depilatories without satisfaction. I gulped and suggested that waxing together for her first time might be a little ambitious. "Too late to do anything else," she said, "party’s tomorrow," and we pulled out the directions, a flimsy white pamphlet a little bit like those that help you assemble toys made in foreign countries. Not too reassuring. Still, April noted that Surgi-Wax had only three ingredients — gum rosin, beeswax and glycerin, none of them the least bit scary in sound. We forged ahead.

The idea was simple: You heat the wax jar in the microwave, then paste the wax on the area you plan to depilate with little tiny popsicle sticks included in the kit. You only get two, but the instruction pamphlet reassured us: "Additional spatulas can be purchased at your local beauty supply store."

"Yeah," said April, pragmatic. "Or you could eat a Fudgsicle." April also enjoyed the row of three little boxed line drawings showing the legs and underpants of a woman "position[ed] for hair removal in the bikini area." She assumed position one — legs out as if she were reading in bed — highly clothed, of course, in any sensitive areas. The clothing line provides the boundary for the wax — sort of like a chalk line for building a deck.

After we exchanged hurried promises not to get angry with each other if anything went wrong, I walked to the kitchen and heated the wax. Then I applied it to myself, on the leg. No way was I going to dollop globs of burning wax on April and then rip them off until I had conducted at least a basic test. I blobbed — "with the direction of the hair," April explained.

"One, two… three!" I said, and ripped.

Pie. Cake. Nothing to it. I have a little smooth patch on my thigh even now to show that my application was smooth, my removal gentle. We both smiled — another good sign. We didn’t wait for the wax to start congealing in its little pot. We got right to it.

The viscous wax hardened quickly as I did my best to smooth it along April’s area, taking care to go with the hair. Before a minute or so had passed we had a kind of glutinous, blobby strip down her right side, and another minute saw its partner down her left.

Mistake. More careful reading of the instructions later made it clear that we should have stuck with small areas, and pulled the wax off within 30 seconds of applying it. This might have saved a little pain later on, but I doubt it. Anyway, there April lay, waxed to within an inch of her, uh, life, and looking like she was about to have a tooth pulled.

If only. The first helpful hint I’ll give you is that those muslin strips that Surgi-Wax proudly comes without would have been helpful. Since you have to start from the bottom and rip upwards, something to hold onto would have been nice.

We locked eyes. "You ready?" I asked.

She was not. A few deep breaths later, though, and we could no longer delay. "OK," I said. "One… two… three!" And I pulled.

And ended up with a tiny little ball of wax, separated from the mother lode. No results at all — but no pain, which seemed to give April courage. "OK, again," I said. "One… two… three!"

April said, "Hunh!" in the way people say "Hunh!" when you spill icy water on them. It did not sound like fun.

I had got about half of the left-side wax. April put her hands to her face and took deep breaths. Her down there actually didn’t look bad — smooth, flat, a little pale and a couple tiny spots of blood. We made a note to make sure next time the wax didn’t touch the edge of her briefs, and got back to it. "One… two… three!" and another patch was free, with April stifling a gasp and a little scream. A tear rolled down her cheek.

I didn’t want to go on, but with April fully waxed, it was too late to stop. Anyhow, we were learning lessons by the bushel now — don’t go too low, that area is just too tender. Don’t let the wax harden too much. Don’t let the end get too thin, you’ll have nothing to grab onto. Don’t let go. Don’t hesitate, no matter how much someone you adore is begging you not to hurt her anymore.

Another couple "One… two… threes!" and we had April recovering in the post-traumatic stress disorder wing, which doubles as the living room, listening to Ivy for comfort.

The biggest disappointment from April’s point of view were the bumps, which were why she chose not to go the shaving route anyhow. Certainly when things grew back they’d be smoother than if she had shaved, but it was those bumps that we were trying to avoid. Quick fixes were out of the question, the instructions are clear — don’t go running for the peroxide or the Sea Breeze. However, a nice washcloth dipped in warm, soapy water proved soothing.

You’re not supposed to expose the waxed area to the sun for 24 hours (fear that its smooth shininess will reflect the sun and blind other poolgoers?) but the next day April was happy and comfortable around the pool, swimming like a mermaid and scooting kids around on tricycles and toy tractors. Certainly nobody will be talking about this pool party two decades hence, at least not for that reason. Her bumps were gone, and I noticed a couple times that when she crossed and recrossed her legs, she seemed pleased. Certainly I was.

I don’t guess you can say this all went especially well, but I’m kind of proud of myself for trying, and pleased with April for asking for my help. No coven of suburban witches has come around so far to teach me a lesson for meddling where Men Dare Not Go, so I appear to have come out all right on that angle, and April knows that I’m willing to do whatever’s necessary to keep her happy.

We took a little step. We did something new together, we took a chance. We endured a little pain, we shed a tear, we laughed, we went to a party. I doubt "Wax me, baby" will enter our private lexicon, but things feel good. Relationships are cyclical, ebbing and flowing like the moon, I know this — they get stronger and weaker, better and worse, and the point is to find a good long-term trend. So when people ask me how things are going with April now, I just smile. Getting better? Getting worse? Staying the same?

"Waxing," I say. "We’re waxing."

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