The pain and pleasure of a trimmed lady garden


The pain and pleasure of a trimmed lady garden

Writer EMMA BEKKER's sister treated her to a Brazilian by Zahira, an expert in waxing secret places.


THE whole fuss about getting rid of body hair was just a shaggy-dog story in my youth. Our home culture did not allow for flamboyant hair-removal rituals. My father's daily shaving routine and my mother's sporadic leg and underarm hair removal were the sum total of my early exposure to follicle fights.

When puberty arrived particularly early and blessed me with a lush, dark pubic bush, all hell was let loose in my childhood mind.

On the eve of a Voortrekker camp (and the oppressive fear of undressing and showering in front of friends), I tried to trim the ample evidence of my flourishing femininity in the shower with my clumsy 10-year-old hand and my father's razor. The motto of the Voortrekker movement is “Hou koers" (stay the course), but my hand failed to live up to this motto. The end product looked like a small forest animal that had  escaped from the clutches of a predator.

Afterwards, I decided to let Mother Nature take her course. Girls living in parsonages were not encouraged to wear bikinis, so there was no need to bring a blade near the labial lips in the near future. Mercifully, bathing suits were also not the main leisure attire on the Highveld.

My baby sister, who is 11 years younger than me, would overthrow the old order. She has a body for bikinis, comes from a generation of diligent hair removers and has not been a victim of pastoral prudishness.

In the mid-2000s, we were colleagues at my slimming practice, The Body Sculpting Studio, in Greenside, Johannesburg. Our day job involved applying “faradic pads" (“those pads that shock your fat," as one customer put it) to suburban women and men and performing anti-cellulite massages with a machine that looks like a sex toy for giants or the brave, or both.

Intimate tales

The wonderful thing about our customer base was that they eagerly shared fantastic advice and intimate anecdotes with us. It was as if those fat shock pads released all the excesses of the body through the mouth.

Miet, my sister, is an expert at telling jokes and funny stories, and our Muslim customers, in particular, were generous with their recommendations. Miet's inquiries about the best salon for waxing led her into the skilled hands of one Zahira, at the Fordsburg Day Clinic.

After her first visit, Miet returned triumphantly with only her eyelashes, eyebrows and coiffure still intact. That evening during dinner, she declared: “Zahira waxes like a machine. I would like to treat you to a wax. To a Brazilian. Come on, you need it in your life."

Shocked, I sniffed chardonnay through my sinuses while my husband squeezed my hand ominously. “Em, I'll treat you," my lover offered. At that stage, our marriage was already well past the decade mark, three children were progressing quickly through primary school, and he had never come knocking at my pubic entrance with the suggestion of hair removal. New vistas beckoned. I agreed, consoling myself with the knowledge that there were hospital facilities next to the salon.

The last time my entire pubic milieu was depilated was a kind of religious experience. I was almost 22 and experiencing labour pains in the Marifont Maternity Home, a Roman Catholic institution in Pretoria. As I lay on a hospital bed like a spreadeagled dissection frog, a cheerful Irish nun prepared my entire foyer and back door with an old metal razor and baby powder for childbirth and all the complications that come with it, while another nun sat next to me and prayed.

I can remember how I kept focusing on the tortured face of a crucified figure as the hair disappeared and the contractions intensified. Fortunately, this time I didn't have to fear giving birth, but I could do with a nun praying next to me.

The day dawns

The day of waxing and wonder dawned. That morning, I warned my husband to say goodbye to the serval cat, since there would probably be a sphynx cat at home by the time he returned from work. He giggled like a schoolboy who'd stolen a Scope when he kissed me before driving to work. “Vulva dance in the twilight," he whispered huskily. I felt a bit stronger about my consent.

Before we left the house, my sister advised that we each take a Myprodol. She claimed it would take the edge off. I swallowed two. On the way to Fordsburg, Miet encouraged me by singing adapted lyrics of the Gypsy Kings' Volare: “Holhare, oh-oh, kanthare, oh-oh-oh-oh…" The Brazilian had a soundtrack.

Miet entered first and I was left in the reception room with a group of heavily clothed women and a little girl of about five. The child asked me cheekily: “Auntie, why are you dressed so immodestly?" Before I could answer, Miet came out beaming and I was pulled inside.

Zahira looked like a tiny bird in black clothes. The treatment room smelt like a strawberry eraser. Soothing Islamic incantations played in the background. I wondered how I would feel if I had to take off my panties to the beat of Afrikaans gospel. Sudden relief that there was no need to “sweef soos 'n arend" with wax on my vulva.

She explained the procedure in delicate language and the translation was indeed “Arse hair, oh-oh, side hair, oh-oh-oh-oh…” And, let me add, the “oh-oh-oh-oh" was real.

What started as a pleasant warm feeling in the cleft between my buttocks was followed by a pain that felt as if chapters were being torn from my life story. I gritted my teeth, tried not to blaspheme in any faith's direction, and attempted a smile as she showed me how many hairs per pubic centimetre were sticking to the pink wax. The products looked like newborn hedgehogs.

Warm sensation, tearing. I started thinking anxiously about a “safe word", but she assured me  she was almost done. I was, too.

“We only have the edges of the lips left.”

This is when all my labia started trembling. Zahira cryptically deployed a pair of scissors and held a hand mirror closer. The fruit of her waxing technique looked like a Nazi disguised as a Brazilian: a neat Führer moustache emerged from the stripped white landscape. 

“This is great, Zahira. I will pay full price AND a tip you if we stop now. We have invented a new style: The Brazilian Dictator.” Zahira didn't understand a word and I felt immodest all over again. 

This is it

When he got home, my husband pulled me into our room for the big reveal. I vibrated from an endorphin rush after all the cosmetic hardship. He grabbed a torch and I contorted myself pantyless into all sorts of poses so  he could pay homage to the Brazilian Dictator in her full glory.

“And? What do you think of the new look?” (Watch out if you don't like it, you scoundrel.)

“Hmmm. It's kinky. This morning I still had a view of the bushveld, but this is more like one of those Zen gardens that are so bare, with the gravel. It excites me. But it almost feels like I need a rake as well.

♦ VWB ♦

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