I’ll Do Anything For Beauty, But I Won’t Do This

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
I'll put myself in a lot of uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing situations in the name of vanity. I'll lie face-down on a table for a 60-minute butt facial (and I'll do it a second time with an electric-muscle-stimulation add-on). I'll get Botox on Facebook Live as thousands of trolls comment (and tell me that my skin is oily and that I'm ruining my life). I'll power through filler injections in-between fainting spells, because cheekbones. I'll even write about my weird skin-care habit and deal with the awkwardness that arises after a first date says, "Did you know the first thing that comes up when someone googles you is that story about masking your vagina?" But we all draw a line somewhere — and mine is at the Brazilian wax. I've never gotten a professional one, and I never plan to. (I've never gotten a bikini wax, either, if we're getting into specifics here.) It has nothing to do with not wanting to be hairless or a fear of pain (in fact, I've semi-mastered the at-home wax on myself), and absolutely everything to do with anxiety. The thing is, I'm not a naked person. I admire women who take off their tops in the locker room without facing the wall, but I will never be one of them. When I think about going into a salon, taking off my underwear, spreading my legs, and letting someone rip hairs off my labia — under fluorescent lights! — I actually start to feel lightheaded and panicky. Gah, I need a drink of water just typing it... People say the same thing about aestheticians as they do about gynecologists: "They've seen a million vaginas — they don't care about yours!" Which, of course, I know. But just because the waxer — and millions of other women — don't think it's the most intimate thing in the world doesn't change the fact that I do. The detail that really puts the nail in the coffin? The between-the-cheeks portion of the event. Call me a prude: I'm staunchly against showing that part of my body if there's not a parole officer forcing me to. For me, that's an after-marriage move. "But that's the best thing about a Brazilian!" says one R29 beauty editor. "OMG, I live for that!" says another friend. Look, I envy you people, I really do. Do you think I don't want one of the perfectly waxed assholes Maya Rudolph yells about in Bridesmaids? Of course I do! Do you think it's fun chafing my hands as I frantically rub wax strip after wax strip trying to do it at home? It is not. Sitting butterfly-style on a towel in front of the mirror isn't my ideal Saturday night, but it's the price I'm willing to pay to keep my dignity intact.

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