Follicular Humanism

Pleated pants, flip-flops worn anyplace more than 25 feet from an ocean, backward-facing baseball caps inexplicably impervious to air turbulence in the backs of pickup trucks — all of these sartorial errors earn an effortless snarl and a derisive curled lip from the Anthropologie-doting canine.

But, being a dog and thus covered with a coat of thick, glossy fur, The Bitch has never had much interest in human grooming rituals pertaining to body hair below the neck. Until now, that is. A near-catfight broke out recently among some feline female friends when The Bitch innocently mentioned her admiration for the neighborhood werewolf's enticingly downy forequarters and haunches.

A chorus of "Eewwwww!"s greeted this observation. Turns out these women practice the aesthetic of depilation themselves. Every single woman The Bitch informally canvassed — all told about 30 human females of all ages in two counties — declared herself loyal to the ministrations of one "waxer" or another — to the point of booking pube-purging appointments months in advance.

"Bikini waxing is a line item in my annual budget under 'Essentials,'" declares Saskia, a certified public accountant. "There's no way I could do without. I wouldn't feel clean, plus, once you start, you can't really stop."

Not so, says Alyce, a film archivist. "It was the most painful thing I've ever endured," she recalls. "I mean, I'm Mediterranean, and there's just no way I'd ever even think about doing it ever again."

Amanda, a self-proclaimed "gothic stripper" who performs at local clubs as well as trots out a tamer routine from time to time at Disney World's Pleasure Island, also considers being bushwhacked a fiscal necessity, saving salon receipts for her own income taxes. "Plus I'm not a natural blonde," she adds. "And so we're talking about a lot of upkeep."

It is The Bitch's, um, understanding that Brazilian waxes are actually pretty darn stinging, producing that water-is-uncontrollably-flowing-from-my-nose-and-eyes response normally associated with, say, a piercing or tattoo. Maybe it makes male dogs more likely to sniff around, maybe not.

The Bitch decided to chat with someone on the other side of the root-ripping equation. Sandy Taylor, a licensed aesthetician who works at popular Brickell Avenue salon Rik Rak, agreed to answer some typically zany questions.

Um, so how long have you been doing Brazilian-type waxing?

I've been doing Brazilians since getting into the business twelve years ago, and the more extreme, no-hair "Playboy" waxes for about seven years.

I heard you coined the term.

I called the total hair removal the "Playboy" about ten years ago and it just took off. With a regular Brazilian, you leave a fine line down the middle. The Playboy became more popular recently. Initially the people who got that were strippers or porn stars. They say the reason they do it is to feel cleaner and more sanitary.

Do you get people requesting weird or unusual pubic hair shapes, like, aces of spades and stuff?

I get requests for heart shapes on Valentine's Day.

What about Christmas trees?

I haven't had that request yet. One woman wanted a small patch of hair about the size of a nickel left on her underarms. She said, "My husband likes it."

Do people feel awkward the first time?

They have to really connect with you before they get comfortable. I use a private room with soft classical music and a big, comfy reclining bed. Clients feel comfortable with me in part because I'm a bit older.

What's the age range of your clients?

Eighteen-year-olds to sixty-year-olds get Playboy wax jobs; girls as young as eleven get leg waxing, because, you know, their mothers don't want them to shave.

What percentage of your clients are men?

About 30 percent; they mostly get their eyebrows done. Mostly straight, mostly businessmen. I think they're straight. They have wives or girlfriends. I get a lot of girls who ask me: "Do you do guys? My boyfriend has a unibrow and I just can't stand it anymore."

Everyone is familiar with the scene from The 40-Year-Old Virgin in which Steve Carrell gets his chest hair waxed. Have you ever done that — waxed a really hairy guy?

Oh my God, yeah, they're the biggest babies of them all — guys who come for chest waxes. They just, like, fall on the floor. Because the chest is hard and sensitive, it hurts more.

Has anyone, male or female, ever fainted from the pain? Or had one strip of hair removed and had to quit the process?

No, but one guy rolled off the bed during a back wax. He went to the doctor and found out he was allergic to the wax. He broke out into these big boils. Mostly, though, they yell and scream, but they usually go through it.

Gwyneth Paltrow told the J. Sisters waxing salon family in New York City that Brazilian waxes had changed her life. Do you think your Miami clients find themselves transformed by their new hairlessness?

I'm not sure about transformation, but certainly some women are more than pleasantly surprised.

Do you ever get requests for complete, total body waxes — arms, legs ... everything?

Sure. A full body wax takes about ten or fifteen minutes. It's really not that painful. Take a few Advils and come on in.

As The Bitch was about to limp away, intrigued but still in the no-waxing-for-males camp, Taylor added an unsolicited, disturbing observation: "Sometimes it seems like some women are stimulated by the waxing; they just recline, close their eyes, and go silent. It's like they're meditating — or something."


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