The Brazilian Saga, Part Three: OW OW OW OW OW OMGWTF OW

Okay, let me back up.

Yesterday, Sean said, “When are you getting your wax?”

“I dunno.”

“Go do it now.”

But I was on my way out the door for bicycling with Brooke (not that I could have gotten an appointment right then anyway), so instead I called and made an appointment for this morning.

My appointment was at 11:30, and I arrived at La Dolce Vita right on time. My first surprise, when I checked in at the front counter, was when they asked me if I wanted something to drink.

“What do you have?”

“Well, there’s coffee right there; you can serve yourself. Or we have water, red wine, white wine, or juice.”


Alcoholism runs in my family, so I have avoided drinking to the point that I have only had a handful of sips of alcohol in my entire life. I’m not particularly proud of my “restraint”, because avoiding something out of fear doesn’t really make you a hero. I’ve been thinking lately that I’d feel better about myself if I faced alcohol directly, allowed myself to drink “socially”. Just one drink every now and then. I feel like I need to get over my fear by proving to myself that I can be strong.

So I was tempted to have some wine, but I chose water instead. After all, I had to drive home. Not being a drinker, who knows how inebriated just one glass might make me?

In retrospect, the wine might have helped with the pain a little. C’est la vie.

I sipped my water and a woman named M guided me out of the salon into the spa area, where a little room with soft yellow lighting and a long ergonomic bed was waiting for me.

“So what are you getting done?” she asked. “Brows?”

Uh. Shit. Do my eyebrows look that terrible? I don’t do much with them because they’re so pale…

“No, the Brazilian,” I said. “This is my first time.”

“Oh, okay. Well, don’t worry. I’ve been doing these for a long time,” M said. “What you do is take off everything from the waist down, and lie on this towel. Then spray yourself good with this numbing spray, and cover up with this other towel. The spray needs to sink in for about three minutes, and then we’ll start.”

The numbing spray was my second surprise. Somehow, I hadn’t known/had forgotten that existed. This made me feel a little better. Maybe the spray would mean the experience would be uncomfortable rather than outright painful. I’m pretty good at living with discomfort.

She left me alone in the little room. I undressed, clambered onto the bed, and sprayed like mad. Curious about what exactly numbing spray was, I checked the can. Active ingredient: 4% lidocaine.

Well, that’s a numbing agent, all right.

I believe I’ve had lidocaine used on me before, but I can’t remember when. They gave me a numbing agent that had to be injected locally when I had the bone marrow biopsies and the spinal tap; I can distinctly remember the pricking sensation, and then how weird it felt to have something moving around inside my skin and bones and to not feel anything but a dull kind of aching pressure. Whatever that numbing agent was, it was powerful.

This stuff? Not so much.

It seemed like a long time had passed after I’d finished spraying and covered up. Finally, concerned that the lidocaine might be wearing off, I hosed myself down with it again. Not fifteen seconds later, M came back into the room.

The wax seemed a little hot at first, but then it just started to feel nice. Having the hot wax spread and then the paper smoothed over my skin was very comfortable and relaxing.

Then, of course, she held my skin taut and ripped.

The first spot was surprising and it stung a little, but really only enough to be mildly irritating. But some places hurt, enough that I jerked and gasped and tears came to my eyes.

“I’m sorry,” M would say whenever that happened. One time she remarked, “Sometimes there’s some bleeding after the first time. The root is really thick, and there are usually two hairs in each pore, so it’s only natural that ripping them out might cause some bleeding. It shouldn’t happen again after the first time.”

Between apologies and hair removal explanations, M engaged me in discussions of our lives. She learned that I had an English degree, had had leukemia, had moved to Augusta when I got married, am currently doing freelance web design, and that our apartment had recently burned down. I learned that she has two sons, one of whom is named after the villain in Legend of Zelda, and that a guy she used to date is the deputy at Springhouse. I also learned that M may be the only person who does Brazilian waxes in all of Augusta.

The conversation was helpful, and I really tried to concentrate on it. Going in, I’d decided to treat this like a necessary medical procedure: best to just grit my teeth and get it over with quickly. Lying there helpless, letting some woman rip apart my most sensitive and private areas, I wondered that I had been so naive. Sure, I’ve endured pain, but this…this was ridiculous.

By the time it was over, I wasn’t sure it had been worth it. M finished up, tweezing a few stray hairs, and I flinched and just wanted to die.

“If you feel a lot of discomfort, I suggest hydrocortisone cream,” she said. “But really, you should feel better by tonight, and you’ll be fine tomorrow.”

That was encouraging. And now that she was done, I felt a lot better–relieved. I glanced down at myself before she turned off her fluorescent light. The skin was red and puffy.

“If you want to make another appointment, people usually have it done every six weeks,” M said. “Have a good weekend!”

“Thank you. You too!” I said, and she left the room so I could get dressed. Once the door closed behind her, I hesitantly felt around my inflamed skin to see if it felt smooth.

There was still hair there!

Granted, there wasn’t much, but there was hair. M had said she had trouble seeing my hair because it’s blond. She’d also said that it was growing in several different directions, which made it more difficult. So I suppose I can understand how she missed some…I was just hoping the results would be better than what I can achieve myself through shaving.

I dressed. Oddly, I didn’t feel much pain…just a slight discomfort, and a swelling that was not altogether unpleasant (after all, that kind of swelling usually portends good things). The whole thing had taken less than half an hour. It was over, and while there was a little hair left there wasn’t much, and anyway I wouldn’t have to shave it now.

I picked up my water glass and headed back out to the counter. Walking didn’t hurt, either.

“Thank you,” the lady at the register said, handing me back my debit card. “Would you like to make an appointment for anything else?”

Why not? Getting it over with was the hard part. It’s supposed to get better every time you do it. And you don’t have to do it but every six weeks.

“Yeah,” I said, and got myself set up for my next Brazilian.


Read the other chapters in the Brazilian Saga! (The more you know…)

Part One: Oh the Hair, the Hair!
Part Two: I totally caved
Part Four: The Day After