The Million-Dollar Brazilian

Well, first of all, it's probably not a million dollars. It's probably going to add up to $100,000, billed to insurance. But the "hundred-thousand-dollar Brazilian" just doesn't cut it. Doesn't begin to conjure up that sexy gal from Ipanema. What I'm talking about, you've probably guessed, is the outrageous and barbaric practice of paying someone to apply hot wax to your pubic hair and rip it out. I don't know anybody who's had this done. Or rather, nobody's told me she's had this done. Probably I know lots of women, young women, very young women, who have undergone this procedure. I just haven't seen the evidence. According to an Esquire-Marie Claire survey last fall, 66 percent of women in their 20s have their pubic hair trimmed or waxed, and 18 percent keep it bare. Half of women in their 40s have their hair trimmed or waxed, and only 5 percent have it bare. Or clean, as some put it. A Brazilian, according to articles I've read, is either having every bit of hair yanked out, or leaving a "landing strip" or "Hitler's mustache." The practice is outlawed in the UK, which seems wise--so that a celebrity I've never heard of, who's the widow of someone else I've never heard of, jets to J. Sisters International Salon in New York to be waxed by one of the seven Brazilian sisters who should have been arrested at the border for importing this practice.

I subscribed to Esquire for the same reason I subscribed to Shape--because it was free, offered by Delta Airlines because the corporation didn't want me to cash in my points. In Shape I read a full-page ad I didn't quite understand, but slowly figured out was for a product that allowed you to wax your pubic hair in various shapes. The question is: Why? Beyond a passing attack of whimsy? Apparently, Shape readers are used to waxing themselves and it didn't have to be spelled out. According to Naomi Wolf, men want women to be bare because they want their sex partners to look like porn stars.

Cancer Bitch has never waxed anything, including floors and furniture, though in her youth she bleached her mustache and arm hairs. Now she doesn't have to because Adriamycin and Taxol have left her hair-depleted. She has two half-eyebrows, just a little hair left on her shins, and a threadbare little nest above her crotch. How can I say this delicately? There's a slit underneath the nest. It reminds her of the profile of a crocodile. The slit was covered for years and she forgot it was there. Forgot that her self was shaped like that, in front. In fact, Cancer Bitch saw a painting in the Ufizzi Gallery that showed just such a slit and she thought the painter had erred. She's surprised to see herself like this in the mirror. Her skin feels soft, very soft, velvety in fact, but all wrong.

Cancer Bitch has wanted to discuss this topic for a while, but has been afraid. She is afraid of attracting pornsters to this site. Also, she is non-tenured and non-tenure-track. About 15 years ago a colleague, who was an inspiration to the rest of us adjuncts because he had finagled a year-long contract that included health insurance, lost it all with just a few words. He appeared on TV with his girlfriend, either naked or having sex or both. It was part of an interview, in which he mentioned, unfortunately, where he taught. Alumni from the department were upset and made it known. And soon there was no more lucky colleague with a contract and health insurance at Well-Regarded University. There were few traces of him, either, except here and there when cleaning out a file drawer, we'd come across a suburban phone directory with his name on it.

My insurance comes from L, not the university. But I'm afraid that the president of WRU will read this...and what? Is Cancer Bitch puffed up with her own importance? She's insulting the president by imagining him to be narrow-minded. He has a contract. She doesn't. And that makes her nervous. But this is why the second wave of feminists fought, so that in the early 21st century, a Cancer Bitch could write about her loss of pubic hair with impunity.

5 comments:

Rose said...

Brazilians can also lead to camel toe, which, when combined with too-tight pants, can result in an unfortunate silhouette. I've seen it.

Anonymous said...

The Florida beach of my childhood is now the largest clothing optional beach on the East Coast. It is frequented by French Canadians (some waxed), non-Quebecois (untouched), Germans (mostly waxed), Cubans (landing strip, never fully waxed), non-Cuban Latins (mostly not waxed). This is for the women. Among the men with women there seems to be mostly trimming, meant I guess to allow full (but painful) tanning or to create an impression of larger size, mostly the latter, I guess. On the gay male side most of the younger men are completely waxed, not just their pubic hair but their chests and legs and backs.

I do not pay much attention, truly, because I usually spend my time on my stomach and I can only see a few feet in front of me. This is what I have observed from just casual glances. If Cancer Bitch would keep me supplied with SPF 45, this winter I could make a more thorough study. D.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Sandi...just wait til you're in your 60s! Underarm and pubic hairs fade to a soft gray and then completely disappear on their own, without the assistance of any chemotherapy drugs. It must have something to do with having less estrogen.

Susan M said...

Have you read Ahdaf Soueif's wonderful novel "In the Eye of the Sun"? It's the 1960s or 70s (can't remember for certain) in Cairo, and the main character--a young woman from a cosmopolitan family of Egyptian intellectuals (both parents are college professors)--must decide whether to have her pubic hair removed as part of her wedding night preparations. She undergoes a whole day of scrubs and massages, oils and elixirs. Her old, beloved nanny talks to her about the pubic hair (they remove it with some gummy substance, as I recall), and the young woman tries to imagine how her (modern) husband would respond in either case--offended, appreciative? It's a fascinating passage.

Writer said...

Also good descrip of removal of pubic hair in Beauty Shop Kabul.
--cancer bitch