The Thought Process of Enduring a Bikini Wax

Beyond “Ow.”


There are only two things I hate with the sociopathic rigor of an unemployed executioner, and they are bikini waxes and Murray Hill. Of course, as a result, I am on my way to Murray Hill to get my vagina massacred with the atrocious green, stick-on wax that is purportedly more gentle than regular wax but has heretofore only reminded me of James Brown in that it’s a man’s man’s man’s world. How else would fate have had it, right?

I should have had a drink before agreeing to do away with my seasoned femininity. The GROWING fruit of my labor. My female fiber.

I wonder how many miles this walk is from home. If I left at 11:08 and it’s not 11:20 and I have about six blocks to go…hey! There’s a Blockheads. Should I get a drink? Kick back a good old glass of ye temperate white wine? We’re almost dancing into the PM portion of this day. No, Leandra, no! You can’t build dependency on a beverage to get you through this. That’s not how it works. Why am I doing this? What’s wrong with me? I am sure, if not unflinchingly positive, that across some cultures the notion that women in America could not just elect to have their vaginas stripped bald but pay for the kind of torture that is imbued with the process seems ludicrous. Like Frontline documentary ludicrous.

Those six blocks came and went quickly.

“Hi, I have an 11:30AM appointment, with anyone but Tiffany.” (Tiffany once proceeded to use a glob of hot wax against both my vagina lips in tandem and rip them off together which, after a little bit of research, I learned is one of the first things they tell you never to do in waxing school, or whatever.)

“Take a seat, Narzila will be out soon.”

Narzila? Like Godzilla but with a Nar — a Nair! — at the beginning of her name? What is about to happen to me?

This issue of Us Weekly says “I Made The Wrong Decision?” And has a photo of Kim Kardashian next to Kris Humphries across the cover. How old does that make it?

Gosh, the smell of this place reminds me of terror. I can picture that begrudging pot of green wax, which kind of looks like the possessed oven in Home Alone 1, coming my way, ready to spread itself thick on the lips of my truest expression only to be abruptly ripped off, leaving nothing but several errant hairs which will, no doubt, be subjected to a localized, masochistic form of removal by way of tweezer when this is all done. This is a slaughterhouse, I am a chicken and she who performs the duty, she is the butcher.

I should tweet that.


Fuck, that’s me. I look up and nod. I am now being escorted through a maze of doors that make me feel like I am in Taken and being taken and Liam Neeson is not my father. We arrive at room 8. I’m told to remove my pants, underwear and socks. I keep my socks on.

And within moments:

“Ready?” I hear from behind the other side of the door.

“Yes,” says I, meaning, No, absolutely not, I never should have come here. My underwear is pulled down to my ankles, my pants hooked to the wall, I am more vulnerable than I have felt since my middle school boyfriend cried to our history teacher about having been forced to ask me out (incidentally, by me) even though he didn’t like me.

“Cold out today, huh?” My small talk is a sad attempt to distract her from her job.

“How long do you think this will take?”

And while she’s cleaning my, uh, surface area: “Lot of hair! Maybe 30-35 minutes?”

WOAH! SLOW YOUR ROLL. I signed up for the 15 minute special.

“You know what, I just realized I have to go, I’m so sorry, I have to go — thank you!”

I pull my underwear up, I remove my pants from the wall hook and put my shoes back on. I am going to Mexico on Friday and will, no doubt, be presented with the challenge of wearing a bathing suit, which I will, no doubt, accept to the simultaneous chagrin of the hygienically neurotic and utter satisfaction of my now storied female fibers.

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  • LOL at the Narzila and the old US weekly. Sounds like a scary experience!

  • matestinha

    Laughed so much I cried. In Brazil (where I live) waxing is introduced in your life when you’re like, 12, 13? Around the time your first female fibers come out. We soon learn to endure. You know, “we live in a tropical country”, “you could go to the beach anytime”, “how the hell are you gonna wear a tank top with those armpits”, etc.
    But hell, isn’t it painful?

    • i have a friend from Malta who lasered everything off when she was very young for the same reason!!! i can’t imagine having done laser hair removal at such a young age, but i won’t lie… homegirl has the smoothest bikini line my eyes ever did see 🙂 it’s making me seriously consider laser hair removal too!

      @Leandra — if you find a sugaring studio, you need to try that… better than waxing, in my experience.

      • Aydan

        Yes sugaring is life! My old spa catered to gay men, but with these fabulously amazing women working. Kind of a nutty experience, but totally worth it. Now my spa is super girly, darkly lit, and I always have a lovely conversation with my usual girl!

    • colombian here my dear neighbour, i feel ya

  • bravo.

  • andrea raymer

    You should have definitely gone to blockheads. They have $2 lunch margaritas, which means you can have like five.

  • Kate

    Laser!!! Just do it. Way less pain + longer lasting results. I just started, and I think it’s well worth the $$

    • Gabriela Cavalheiro

      Considering that but doesn’t that hurt in the beginning? Would love to hear about it. 🙂

      • nm

        It doesn’t hurt any more than wax! And after a few times it’s not as bad. 6-12 times (depends on your genetics, coloring etc) and you’re set for years.

        • Kate

          I actually thought it hurt less than waxing. I had my first session on my underarms and bikini line, and although there’s definitely a bit of a sensation, it’s not really “painful” like some waxes I’ve received. I think it hurt less than my recent brow wax! The place I go to uses a laser machine that has a suction-cup like effect to pull up your skin before the laser turns on, and my technician explained that this helps pull the hair follicle inside the skin up and away from the nerve endings, so it hurts less when it gets zapped. I’m not sure if this is standard practice at most places, but I did think it hurt less than I was expecting, even on the bikini line.

          Also, like nm said, how many sessions you need depends on your skin and hair color. For me, I have dark underarm and bikini-area hair, so I should need 4-5 treatments on those areas. And you go every 8 weeks or so, so it helps to space out the payments, since it is more $$ than waxing. Im now considering adding my legs to the next sessions (seriously, the results on my underarms are amazeballs after just one session), but the legs are a LOT pricer, and I’m not rolling in dough quite yet in life… However, my leg hair is considerably lighter than other areas, so I will probably need more sessions on that area.

          My advice — go to a reputable laser center with excellent reviews, even if you have to pay a little more. I was considering getting a groupon first to save some money, but I looked up the places online and they didn’t seem professional. The center I ended up going to had GREAT customer reviews, and also happened to be running a promotion at the time. Still a bit more expensive than a groupon, but I loved my technician. She took the time to explain everything to me, including possible side effects, and even called 2 weeks later to follow up and to make sure I was doing OK.

          • nm

            Naw you’ll prob need more than 5, after your last sesh you’ll see hair starting to grow back after a few months. I thought I was done with 6 on my pits and 8 on my lip, but nope. Granted it’s much more thinned out and shorter than before. however my bikini line is perfect after 6. If you live in NYC I recommend albina at Manhattan laser spa. SUPER thourough and they have deals!

          • Scarlett

            Please share where you got that done. Because, I’ve had laser donemore than a few times in my life (hairy people problems, what can I say). I’ve had it done on my face, so there it usually hurts. Let me know where you got his laser treatment done! I’m in desperate need! :)))

  • Betül

    Here is the recommendation about less painfull experience! Hibba NYC. They have two locations. Ask for Natasha she is really good and talkative. My last appointment takes like 5 minutes. Because she was telling me about story and I forgot about waxing.

    Now i felt strange when I told here aloud. how this even possible right?
    But it is!

  • Jenn Walls

    I will forever yearn for my bikini waxer in Montreal, who went only by the name of Dorothy. She treats all of her clients as her “girls”, hugging every one of us after an appointment. AND she manages to do a full Brazilian in under 10 minutes. That woman is a treasure.

    • Maeva

      amazing! where does Dorothy work in mtl??

      • Colleen

        Dorothy is Queen. (514) 932-0222

  • hahah most funny story ever!

  • I have gone once, and will never go again.

    On a completely related note-I was thinking you should do a piece on how unpopular it is to be bare down there so we can just nix this whole thing? I would rather plie like a wayward ballerina than talk to some girl named jessica while she tells me the benefits of follow up appointments.

    • Leandra Medine

      Oh totally worth round tabling. On it.

      • BK

        YES. The world (maybe just me) needs an MR round table on Lady Garden Maintenance and the Personal & Social Implications Thereof, posthaste.

      • TOTALLy in for this..
        No that I will ever admit My guilty pleasure is the Kardashians but There was an episode where Kourtney admited to having a bush.. “60s CHIC baby” was what she giggled when her sister told her she needed to clip that ish.. Is it totally worth getting waxed, or whatever if your single and NOT mingling? or rock the Trimmed bush.. I guess its all in preference.

  • Natalie

    The first one is by far the worst. It gets better after that. I’ve been going for almost a year so at this point the hair grows back in so thin and fine that my waxes don’t hurt at all.

  • gail.

    I can’t even bring myself to have someone do my eyebrows.

  • Jannicke

    Good Jesus and Christ. I feel ya! Getting a brazilian is the worst. I have 14 big tattoos on my body, and I’d father sit through those again than getting it all ripped off. I do endure it though, from time to time.

    • Jannicke


  • Laser is the way to go! But, you definitely have to stay on schedule every 3-4 weeks to REALLY reap the rewards of hair free skin:).


  • Cynthia

    Sounds too painful to me. I’ve never had a bikini wax and never will.

  • nm

    Let me guess: tulum?

    • Leandra Medine


      • nm

        Hah! Too funny, I just moved to tulum few days ago and got my first Brazilian as a “gift” to myself for it, but gifts don’t usually make you cry right

  • Kiki

    Once my usual waxer wasn’t available, so I went to an alternate. The new waxer, was a former derby doll who was on vicodin for her “several concussions.” She told me this would be close to painless. The wax was way too hot, the attention to detail was less than stellar, and she created more pain than beauty. When I told her she was hurting me, she told me “I was tough, and I could take it.” Then she went on regaling me with stories of vicodin. I think she thought I was on it, too. It was just hilarious and bizarre and awful and scary all at once. Couldn’t wait to go back to my old place! Love this piece!

  • Every time I’m telling myself that the pain endured during waxing is a mere preparation for childbirth.

    • Leandra Medine

      you know, i’ve spoken to mothers who refute the theory that bikini waxing is “nothing” compared to child birth, so

      • so… there goes my desire to have children

        • D


  • Katie

    Leandra, poor thing, you gotta change your beautician. My brazilian takes literally 10 minutes. It still hurts like mofo but 10 min is manageable. Also, maybe invest in a numbing cream?

  • Celeste

    Did you put your pants back on!?!

  • Manon B

    Man, I don’t want to go anymore now !
    But what’s the alternative though ? My mom always told me to never shave (and I confirm I have never shaved), add the thought process of shaved hair growing back might be even worse than if they have been shaved…so what ? laser ? 70’s style ? tweezer, and a lot of patience…

  • This is the best thing. I wish I had the lady balls to run out of a wax…

  • This story was so good i had to reread it. Leandra, Girl… Go get laser hair removal. Trust.. I have Puerto rican parents and i KNOW some where down the line some Greek mystery showed up in my DNA so,I know what’s up if you catch my drift. Hair Everywhere, I used to shave my arm hair then realized i couldnt be bothered with having to shave it everytime id get prickly. i can shave my legs and “other regions” one one day and by the next i never feel as smooth. So I know how you feel.

    Just take it like a (wo)man!

  • It seems like every source screams at you not to shave, but honestly, I never have a negative experience with it if I use a relatively new razor. I also have a designated stick of deodorant for the post-process

  • Caro

    NOOOOOOO. It makes me sigh with relief that you left. I refuse to get one because just getting my mustache waxed brings me to tears. (Laser eventually for that) I’m terrified of the pain. I did an experiment to see how long I could live with myself without doing any grooming with me’ fibers. Two months, and then I was bored one afternoon and was like, might as well give some attention to this. It was never actually that bad, rather funny actually. Also, I’m totally single and I actually have no idea if that’s a reason girls get bikini waxes. Is it? I’ve always had a little (well, in my opinion little, they probably thought I was a bear which may be why things didn’t work out) layer when I’ve been with guys. But…that’s what’s up, I’m not going to do it for them…
    I just don’t want to get it waxed. I don’t want to do it, and if I have to endure razor burn and put coats of Bikini Zone on, I will, or I’ll have a little…fuzz around.

  • To be or not to be… or, to do or not to do.

  • Laurel West (Lo & Behold)

    No one BUT Liam Neeson can be my father in my own personal Taken horror story. My God, please have there be a Liam!

    This post is everything.

  • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

    You can do a perfect bikini wax at home, with that green wax from Wholefoods called Parissa hot wax. I’ve been doing it for years and it’s really not that bad. You make sure everything is trimmed as short as you can, (there’s less pulling if the hair is short) then heat the wax on the wax warmer.

    I don’t let the wax get too hot…when it’s melted I turn off the warmer and let it cool a little…then put it on in one inch sections, and wait only for it to harden up slightly (so it is no longer translucent, but still flexible) then pull FAST.I even do the inside edges like this – I swear to you it is not that bad if you control the temp (not scalding hot), and how soon you pull it off (don’t wait till it’s rock hard).

  • Juliette

    I’m sorry but I need Leandra to clarify something because it seems like I am the only one reading between the lines. I don’t think, as suggested by the comments, that this is about finding a better aesthetician or less painful solution. Rather – I hope – it’s about the “torture that is imbued” for the sake of others rather than the female herself. And so, thank you, Leandra, for walking out. Thank you for not getting waxed. And thank you for not succumbing to something you didn’t want in the first place. Beauty is personal – do it for you.

  • Aditi Mayer

    This is hilarious. Nairzilla- YES.

  • Lydia Kitten

    Ah, the shared pains of womanhood. Ten years after my first time, I am still not used to the agony of this damn accursed procedure.

  • Jana

    This literally happened to me today. Backtracked at the last minute :'((((

  • inspiredgreatness

    Hilarious! I just went today for a Brazilian wax in anticipation of a surprise weekend getaway with my fiancé (who knew that I only appreciate surprises if I have time to prepare for them)
    I was dreading it only to have the fastest, most thorough wax of my life. I was in and out in 5 minutes and I wanted to hug the woman who was (oh so briefly) up in my business.

  • Mae

    I know this pain- truly one of my least favorite services to get done. I found this great lady Yana through and she makes you so comfortable that your wax is virtually painless. Try her out if you’re ever in New York!

  • Heloisa Helena Pereira

    I’m Brazilian and I don’t do this shit, and I live on the beach, by the way. The thing is, I’m as pale as Cate Blanchett or Nicole Kidman (lots of German immigrants down South) and I don’t wear small bikini bottoms. As the other woman was saying, we’re introduced to this misogynistic torture by puberty and some women adhere to it because they want to please others or they are ashamed of their own body. I’m not. When I’m dating some guy I really care about (something that hasn’t been happening for a while) I wax only the outer part of the crotch, the parts that would be visible wearing a thong, but the insides I just trim and I (and my previous boyfriends, to be honest) prefer it that way. No hair at all reminds me of children, and children are not sexy… remember that every time you feel pressured to shave or wax your pussy raw.

  • I thought of my suki waxes at Madison Avenue because of this. I miss you, Natasha!! <3