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The Hair Affair

October 2, 2009

In metropolitan cities, it is almost impossible to notice while walking down the street how many salon signs scream out “Brazilian waxing.” If you’re so intrigued to walk into the salon and inquire about waxing, you’ll find out that there are so many different waxing options, you’ll walk out with your head spinning. Brazilian, bikini, Playboy, Brazilian tight, landing strip, the mustache, etc. Gosh, you can even wax shapes into your below the belt region. With celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Eva Longoria Parker gushing on the grooming technique and bikinis getting tinier by the season, it is hard not to ignore this widespread trend finally hitting North America.

Finally hitting North America? Believe it or not, Brazilian waxing has been around for centuries. Ancient Egyptian women used a mixture of honey and oil for their wax. Middle Eastern women used sugaring (a paste made of lemon juice, warm sugar and water) to get rid of their hair. And do not forget the ripping sound of a cloth pulling the hair out of the skin. This practice was often performed on a woman the night before her wedding in order to make the bride “clean” and “pure” for her husband.

Fast-forward a few thousand years to the country of (you guessed it!) Brazil. The women in Brazil began waxing so they could wear extra skimpy bikinis to romp in at the beaches. Bringing Brazilian waxing to the USA was the brainchild of seven Brazilian sisters (Jocely, Jonic, Janea, Joyce, Juracy, Jussara, and Judseia, aka the J Sisters) who opened up J. Sisters International Salon in midtown Manhattan. Originally starting off in the nail business, the sisters soon introduced the Brazilian wax. With Sex in the City featuring an episode on the Brazilian and celebrities raving about their “changed sex life,” a revolution in hair removal was born in the United States. The waxing boom has become so huge that even men do it. Rappers Jay-Z and Diddy are even vocal about their grooming techniques.

I never waxed or really paid attention to that area. It opened the door to a whole new sexual side of me…Getting in touch with your inner sex goddess would begin with the Brazilian wax. -Eva Longoria Parker

How big is the waxing business? No one is exactly sure of the final number, but it is estimated that waxing is a multi-million dollar industry. Razor sales have dropped by 18% while salon employment rates have jumped 24% since 1999. Business is booming in the hair ripping industry!

Though many women claim to love the clean feeling, much of the hype surrounding waxing is due to fashion and societal pressures. Models in high fashion, swimwear, and the adult film and magazine industry wax. Having no hair equals being stylish, trendy, hip. You can wear the most revealing swimsuit and the tiniest pair of underpants.  You have the best of both worlds – you can appear innocent one minute but turn into a temptress the next. It seems as though our reasoning behind waxing isn’t far off from our ancestors after all.

I would love to hear comments from readers on this issue. Is Brazilian waxing purely for aesthetic reasons? Can women and men have a truce with their body hair? What are your thoughts on the world’s love/hate relationship with pubic hair? 

One Comment
  1. Tserisa permalink
    October 3, 2009 1:19 am

    I would wax if I could afford it — or stand to let my hair grow out long enough! Waxing works best if it’s at least a quarter inch long. I shave long before it gets that long.

    For me it is ONLY a comfort issue. I started shaving (or tackling it with scissors) as soon as I got pubic hair. Not because I was interested in what others thought of me (I never told anyone, including my mom, and I didn’t date until I was in my 20s) but because I found it to be TERRIBLY uncomfortable. It felt like it was pulling and getting compressed and sore. I’d never heard of people shaving that before, but I knew about shaving legs (although my mom was a hippie and didn’t) and thought it sounded like a good idea there.

    Ironically I rarely shave my legs, and my pits can go weeks. But I shave my pubic area completely clean every three days or so.

    Aesthetically, I don’t prefer shaven or natural over the other. My wife leaves hers natural, and I shave. Both are extremely attractive, if you ask me!! I’d never ask her to shave and I wouldn’t refrain from shaving if someone else asked me too (too uncomfortable!!).

    I definitely think our culture is afraid of showing hair that isn’t on the head. I know I feel some embarrassment if I wear a tanktop and don’t shave my pits, even though I feel there’s nothing to be embarrassed about! Many people feel the same way about hairy legs. Certainly most women would be mortified if they had hair sticking out of their bathing suit. I haven’t worn anything as revealing as a bathing suit since I was 9, so it’s not an issue for me, but I definitely think the majority of women who go swimming do something with their pubic hair first.

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