Going south: deep into the Danger Zone, part II of a Brazilian wax story

Our faithful reporter waxes poetic on being at the mercy of a Brazilian wax performed at Bombshell salon. In this second installment, we learn of the pain involved and a bit about Bombshell’s owner and principal practitioner of the male Brazilian…and what her husband thinks of her job.

Here are all three parts of the ‘Going South’ Brazilian waxing series:
Going south: getting a male Brazilian wax for the first time
Going south: deep into the Danger Zone, part II of a Brazilian wax story »
Going South: falling into a ring of fire, part III of a Brazilian wax story»

Melissa violently yanks the wax from my flesh. My eyes widen and water. What has just happened doesn’t feel like it came from the gentle hand of a professional, but from Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising his role as the Terminator. She repeatedly grabs and pulls with her precise and, what might as well be, evil robotic hand–each hair follicle shrieking as it’s pulled through several layers of skin.

Melissa holds up what caused the pain. The hardened wax looks like a long piece of bubble gum with my pubic hair—rather what was my pubic hair—sticking to it like a poorly knitted scarf. I look down to see a strip of skin, skin that I have not seen so bare since my voice deepened and girls started to seem way more interesting.

“How was it?” Melissa asks, curling a little smile.

“Not so bad,” I say, which is a lie.

Doctor’s needles, paper cuts, and scrapes are very much topical in how in they trigger our pain receptors. The pain of waxing, however, is far more intrusive. Hair is not merely being cut or plucked: this is a small forest of hair that’s being cleared–along with the roots–with a quick and violent pull.

Melissa yanks off more wax, not all at once, but in three successive pulls. She then pats the afflicted area with her blue latex gloves which serves as a way of “tricking” the pain receptors that the procedure isn’t as painful as it seems. “You see those little red dots?” she asks, anticipating my next question. In fact I do see the little red dots of blood to which she is referring–little red dots of blood that make me a bit anxious.

The reason for these point-sized archipelagos of blood—what Melissa refers to as ‘pinpoint bleeding’—is that the roots of certain hair follicles have been removed which expose the now-empty hair shafts that quickly pool with a small amount of blood. These removed hairs are gone for good. They will not grow back. With each strand of wax that she pulls, there are fewer than ten pinpoints of blood. This is a rather insignificant amount of now tree-less real estate compared to the remaining hair follicles that most certainly will grow back, although at a pace much slower than had the hairs been shaved. Melissa tells me that because I’m not very hairy, I won’t need to come back for at least six weeks (most regular waxers return every four to six weeks).

The longer one continues a regular waxing regiment, the need to to wax diminishes because the hair doesn’t regrow as quickly as when it is shaved. Pain also subsides. Melissa affirms this: the first wax is the most excruciating; each one that follows, not so much.

And just as before—before we even started this rather diabolical exercise—what seems most odd and bizarre about being half-naked while a woman whom I’ve just met dutifully works on removing my pubic hair is that nothing feels either odd or bizarre. Melissa is extraordinarily professional and makes this rather strange set of circumstances seem not nearly as bad or awkward as I imagine it could be in the hands (quite literally) of someone else. In a rather ironic twist, this comfort level can create some rather awkward circumstances for Melissa.

Despite the pain that’s taking place while the front yard of the Family Jewels is being excavated, the fact that some men are half-naked and have the full attention of a confident and attractive woman can create unintended arousal.

This untimely tumescence likely arises out of confusion: “the pants are off and there’s a woman fiddling around near by, so this must be my cue, right?” When I ask Melissa how she deals with clients who supplement the procedure by providing their own pop-up book, her professionalism doesn’t waiver. She affirms that in these rare cases it’s not that the men are perverted, it’s just something that’s gotten away from them. However, if the issue persists she will ask them to go and “take care” of it so that she can continue.

I can’t help but ask what her husband thinks about having this job, one in which she sees a parade of penises. She tells me he’s fine with it, although he won’t partake in her service.

“He was my first attempt at a male Brazilian,” she says. Unfortunately for her husband, Melissa’s first awkward steps towards becoming an male Brazilian expert were taken on his most sensitive bits. Because of his devotion to his wife and his willingness to be a guinea pig, my experience with Melissa is made more bearable.

She grins. “He won’t get a Brazilian again.”

— ∮∮∮ —

Aesthetician was not the profession for which Melissa set out years ago. She earned a degree in Hospitality Management and worked at a Nordstrom’s in Seattle. It was then that she “got into the pin-up scene,” and it’s retro fashion and aesthetics. She later transferred to Salt Lake City and tended bar until she “got involved with Sundance,” where she worked on a television pilot as a makeup artist. In 2002 she met Scott, and the two later moved to Richmond.

In 2009 Melissa left her job as a General Manager at Nesbit to start her own business in a second floor room above a salon called Seasons (where Bombshell is currently located). One of the services that she provided was airbrush tanning, which she says at the time “no one was doing.” Knowing that there was also a lack of affordable waxing options in Richmond, Melissa and Scott decided to pool together money and acquired both the Pandora’s Lashes and the Seasons space.

While Melissa had no trouble finding people who wanted to work for her, finding people to perform the Rio Brazilian remains a challenge. “None of my other aestheticians want to learn.” She tells me that they get a bit “freaked out” at the idea of being around the genitalia of strange men.

It seems that even men who make an appointment to get the service don’t always follow through. Melissa says that she averages about three male Brazilian appointments per week. “They don’t always show up.”

At this point in the conversation, my front yard is pruned and trimmed. There are little constellations of the pinpoint bleeding, and some minor redness, all of which Melissa says should dissipate in a couple of hours.

Waxing the next area—the scrotum—is…painful. Having scrotum hair removed via wax feels like someone quickly brushing a Brillo pad against the squishy flesh of a man’s undercarriage. Thankfully, the area is neither large nor particularly hair-strewn, so this Abu-Ghraib-esque feeling lasts only several minutes. And as Melissa gives one final tug, I exhale deeply. I’ve made it, I say to myself. However, I’m not done.

In order for my Brazilian to be a full Brazilian, my backside must have its moment in the sun. Being that I am young and able-bodied (older men, Melissa tells me, usually must turn over and prop their frame up on all fours to provide clear, unencumbered access), she asks that I remain on my back and pull my legs to my chest. In this position, I feel like a human-sized tabletop centerpiece.

And although I now have a better gauge of what sort of pain I can expect, my rear has more in store for it than just mere waxing: I have yet another service to try this morning. It’s one which involves two words that, for most of human history have remained so very far apart from one another in typical conversation. And, being that I am here to experience recent developments in the art of personal grooming and care, I would be remiss if I did not partake. The two words you ask?

Anal. Bleaching.

— ∮∮∮ —

Next week, Part III: The author didn’t think his derrière could be more bare! In his faithful quest to become more knowledgeable about modern day self-maintenance, our hero will expose his back side to an entirely new (in its experience) phenomenon.

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Nathan Cushing

Nathan Cushing is a writer, journalist, and RVANews Editor.

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