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It must suck to be a girl during the summer months. Frizzy hair, armpit sweat moons, spotty acne breakouts, and, the mother of them all, bathing suit anxieties. And it's not just body issues that cause duress. Most of the time, there's a darker, more sinister evil lurking just below the waist: Pubes.

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow…

Sorry, couldn't resist.

It's amazing the amount of work women go through to keep these little buggers from peeking out the sides of their swimsuits. In fact, it's downright horrifying at times. But cheers to these brave, brave women for sharing some of their own fears, annoyances, and hair-raising stories about vaginal grooming.


Liz Bevilacqua

I have never waxed before, but with summer approaching and visions of bathing suits and the cute punk boy with a green mohawk I met at the beach last summer swirling in my head, I decided to try. I was nervous. I don't even like massages because I don't want strangers touching my bare skin.

I climbed two flights of worn metal stairs to a Chinese manicure-pedicure-waxing establishment. A woman named Ling greeted me at the door. She made me genuflect and kiss her topaz ring before entering. I touched my lips as lightly as possible to the stone, trying not to think about cold sores. Ling guided me through the room of women with their hands spread and their feet in tubs. She pushed open a thin door and pointed to a bare table.

"I … I've never done this before," I blurted. I felt like a 15-year-old boy going to a prostitute to lose his virginity. Ling handed me a pair of paper panties. I gave the girl on a table two feet away from me a look like we were comrades in a foxhole, then Ling thrust a curtain between us.

"Lay back," she said, "I have a cold." I pondered whether there was a correlation between her statements. She poked goopy, burning brown wax on my groin with a tongue depressor. I closed my eyes tight, wondering how my thighs looked from a bird's eye view, and imagining my flesh coming up in great chunks when she peeled the wax off. That's when I felt the drip. A distinct, cold drip on my stomach. My eyes shot open, but I dared not look. I fixated on the fluorescent ceiling light. It must have been a piece of wax. A cold, dried piece of wax just chipped off Ling's tongue depressor. Right? I lowered my eyes to Ling's bent head. She met my gaze.

"Sorry," she said, wiping her nose with a tissue. "I told you. Cold."

Elizabeth Bevilacqua is a freelance writer who shares a surname with an archbishop.


Liz Moran

Considering that I rarely have the energy to walk into Supercuts and get the hair on my head trimmed, pubic maintenance is not really a top priority of mine. As long as nothing is going to be creeping out of my bathing suit, that's really fine with me. Call me lazy, slovenly or hirsute, but I'm not willing to suffer at the hands of some strange waxer-person, for a sexy, touchable vagina. Vaginas are inherently sexy and touchable, with or without deforestation.

I was not always this confident. When I was younger, I suffered from low vaginal-esteem, and pubic upkeep was more important. Tired of razor burn, and fearful that the chemicals in Nair would upset my vagina's delicate ecosystem, I invested in the Australian, all-natural, hilariously named Nad's no heat hair removal kit.

Ummm, yes, I did buy it from the infomercial, and guess what?

Infomercial people are a bunch of assholes.

I was spread eagle on my bed; the instruction booklet balanced precariously on my boobs. I smeared a thin layer of Nad's glop on a piece of cloth, applied to my wayward pubes and smoothed it over three or four times, thus activating the miracle of my body's natural heat. And with the pain of a thousand ripping Band-Aid brand bandages, I pulled in the direction of the hair growth.

What I was left with looked like a lab sample from an SVU crime scene; the strip held about six pubic hairs, some blood and much unidentifiable goo. Looking down, the only discernible differences in the state of my vagina were the little droplets of blood which dotted it. Other than that, and the intense burning sting, I was doing well and decided to try again. I ripped two more times before I concluded that I was becoming increasingly wounded and not any less hairy. I gave up and bought myself a fresh razor.

The Nad's joined the Ab-roller in a special place under my bed.

Liz Moran hates nads -- ahem -- "Nad's".


Tracy Miller

I got my first bikini wax last Tuesday. After more than a decade of diligent shaving, I decided 2004 would have a carefree, hair-free summer. I held out so long mostly because of the "ow" factor, which you can read about in the summer issues of any Seventeen or Cosmopolitan dating back to, say, the time of Jesus. There's always a comparative chart, wherein shaving gets around two "ows" (presumably due to the nicks and cuts factor), Nair gets no ows but a citation for messiness, and waxing gets approximately fifty bajillion ows. The most. But, I reasoned, a little pain might be a better alternative to a crotch full of razor burn. Might as well give it a try.

I got waxed at an unassuming spa in Gramercy. According to my roommate, Julia Roberts keeps a townhouse on Gramercy Park, and when we go to the spa for pedicures it's fun to idly wonder if she ever stops in. (More fun, anyway, than wondering why the woman buffing my feet scrutinized my third toe, said something to a neighboring manicurist in Russian, and then burst out laughing.)

My waxing specialist, a matronly Eastern European woman named Jackie, showed me to the room and discreetly stayed outside, closing the door. As I unzipped and laid my jeans aside, my eyes skimmed the surroundings and landed on a trash can, filled to the brim with -- shock, horror! -- strips of paper covered with greenish wax and remnants of other people's rugs! I decided against being grossed out, thinking instead of the sisterly solidarity I would share with the women who cast off that mountain of hair. Maybe one of them was Julia Roberts's.

Jackie walked in and I hopped on the padded bench. It was time to get started. "This is my first time doing this," I felt the need to say.

Jackie squeezed my arm. "!" she said, delighted. "You want just bikini, right? Or" -- hopefully -- "Brazilian?"

"No Brazilian," I decreed. "Just the basic. I think it's best to start small."

It didn't hurt at all. In fact, it was rather satisfying. RIP! Take that, rogue hair! And the other side! Way in the back, there! RIP! Oh, a straggler? No you did-n't! RIP! RIP! RIP! Adios, motherfucker.

If I ever open a spa, it'll have swinging double doors like the OK Corral. Women will breeze through in slow motion with wind machine in full effect, having sent unwanted body fuzz the way of the overflowing trash can like so many pesky tumbleweed.

"I hope you be ready for Brazilian next time," Jackie said as a farewell.

Bring it.

Tracy Miller is an editor and freelancer. She roams 'fro-free 'round the streets of New York.


Blaise K.

First bikini wax. I was terrified. I depend on haircutting shears and a razor to tame the bush, but the occasional razor burn and ingrown hairs are annoying. So I went to a place in my neighborhood that does pedicures, manicures, and waxing and tried to convince myself that the anticipation was worse than the reality.

When I walked in the door a bell rang. All the Asian women who worked there, sitting at their manicure tables, looked up at me and simultaneously, in thick accents, sang, "Hello! How are youuu?" It was total Stepford. Asian style.

I smiled, saying hi to no one in particular. I was nervous.

A woman with bangs asked, "Manicure?"

"Um, no. Bikini wax?" I said.

"Okay!" She said as though it was the best offer she'd had all day. As I followed her into a back room I heard someone singing, "What color? What color?"

On my back with one leg in a position that I usually associate with sweet action, I was spackled with wax. Bangs girl bent down. I could barely see the top of her head between my legs. A rubber-gloved hand was on the back of my thigh. I couldn't see what she was doing. I panicked. I thought, in this order: Sexual harassment. Total lawsuit. Girl on girl. Happy endings! … Blog fodder?

Before I could put my leg down I felt a draft. She was blowing on the wax area, as if my vulva was a bowl of clam chowder. Thankfully, she stood upright. Then without warning, she ripped it. I mean, ripped it. My jaw dropped. The only part of my body that I could feel besides my burning bikini line was my face turning beet red.

When I was done I walked back into the main room, aware that I looked like a deer caught in headlights. I paid, then walked over to the door and opened it. The bell above it rang and all the women sitting at their manicure tables looked up at me and sang, "Thank youuu! Bye-Bye!"

First bikini wax, last bikini wax.

Blaise K. blogs her fuzzy self off at


Rachel Kramer Bussel

I have to admit it -- I'm a baby when it comes to waxing. It was only last year, at age 27, that I submitted to my first eyebrow waxing, and that was only because I was about to go on TV and wanted to not look like a gorilla. I didn't even plan on it; I was getting a pedicure and the woman seemed to think my eyebrows were in dire need of attention, and only after placing a frantic phone call to a friend and being assured it wouldn't hurt "that much" did I proceed.

And while she was right and now I'm a relative eyebrow waxing slut, I'm still hesitant to let the hot wax near my most private parts. It's not because I'm not into pain. I mean, I've been spanked, tied up, beaten, and I am not one for light little licks to my pussy -- I like to be spanked there, with a strong hand or a paddle, to feel that most glorious sting, the kind of pain that supercedes itself to become pleasure. But somehow, I've been too chicken to ever step into the pussy waxing parlor. So maybe all my worrying is for naught and when I actually do submit to the wonder of waxing I will find a new masochistic delight as the hair gets pulled ferociously out of my tender flesh. But somehow, I don't think so. I just last month bought my virgin tweezer, so it's all about the baby steps when it comes to hair removal.

I think of it sort of like my attitude toward drugs, which I shy away from, preferring alcohol, because at least I know what I'm getting myself into. I know the best and worst that alcohol, and shaving can bring me -- the wonderful happy ups and the hangovers, the smooth, silky, prepubescent pussy, as well as the bumpy, itchy, ugly kind. Maybe waxing my pubic area would get me higher than shaving, but I'll settle for the old, well-known buzz of my razor and leave the bikini waxing to girls much braver than I.

Rachel Kramer Bussel is the editor of Up All Night: Adventures in Lesbian Sex, as well as several forthcoming smut books including Glamour Girls: Femme/Femme Erotica and Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z. You can read her blog here and visit her website here.


Colette Decourcy

When I turned 22½, the time had come do something about that big black disco bush. At least the bikini line, to start with, so with the upbeat, confident cheerleading of an ex stripper friend of mine, I headed to the chi-chi salon. I wasn't willing to trust my pubes to just anyone; I had to have the best. The relaxing music, the soothing dark taupe of the walls, the leather chair. The chair! Eek! And now someone I've never met is going to see me in my undies! They put a washcloth over most of my Region for modesty's sake. OK, so please remember, they're putting HOT WAX on your skin. That's why it's called waxing. That part can be kind of pleasant, actually. It lulls you into this feeling of pleasure and complacency so they can rip the wax off your skin without protest, taking hair and skin cells with it -- that's where the pain begins. Afterward she swabbed this supposedly really soothing oil onto the Affected Area. Within hours I developed a narsty set of red bumps, one for each follicle so rudely uprooted. When the hair started growing back five to seven days later, I had puss-filled ingrown hairs. Neither of these phenomena is much more aesthetically pleasing than the short and curlies I had to begin with, PEOPLE!!! I've had basically the same experience with shaving, except without the pain. The only effective method that leaves me without unattractive, uncomfortable after-effects is plucking. Yes, you're picturing that right. It's really time-consuming and it usually puts such a crink in my neck, I have to stay home from the beach with a muscle relaxant and an icepack on my neck. So what's the point? Until pubes become fashionable, I should just invest in a grandma bathing suit with a little skirt.

Colette Decourcy's big black disco bush put out an album of disco favorites through K-Tel records in 1981.


Maureen Atwell

A couple of years ago I came up with the brilliant idea that I could save money and spare myself public humiliation by waxing at home. I've always had a slightly masochistic personality, and as a former ballet dancer I'm no stranger to self-inflicted pain. Why hadn't I thought of this before, I wondered, and what could possibly go wrong?

I ran out and bought a wax warmer, plugged it in, sat down on my bathroom floor and got to work. Never being the cautious type, I decided to start with my bikini and work my way out from there.

The first thing that went wrong was that, once heated up, the wax turned the consistency of water. Trying to get it from the pot to my body was like a game of Russian Roulette and I ended up dribbling wax all over my legs, my bathroom floor, my sink, my butt, my bathtub, and in a freak household accident, my ear. The wax immediately hardened, and while attempting to grab some paper towels I got my bathroom rug stuck to the back of my leg and a roll of toilet paper stuck to my butt.

With the situation rapidly deteriorating, I decided that the fewer trips to the wax warmer I made, the better. In a blind panic, I took a huge glob of wax and smushed it all over my coochie, which, as you can imagine, was a big mistake. The hot wax dripped into places where hot wax should never drip, and quickly solidified into a sticky mess which refused to budge. The linen strips I pressed into it just got stuck and wouldn't come off no matter how hard I pulled.

To make a long story short, I called my sister, got stuck to the telephone, ruined my shower curtain and scarred my roommate's Shih Tzu for life. In the end, my sister saved the day by suggesting baby oil, and today, two years later, I can almost claim to be entirely wax free. The moral of this sad story? Waxing is definitely something best left to the professionals.

Maureen Atwell runs a humanitarian support group for Shih Tzus with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.


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