What Is a Brazilian Wax Like? Here’s What to Expect (in Excruciating Detail)

I got my first Brazilian wax ever at age 40. I know, I’m so late to the party on this. Who waits until age 40 to get a Brazilian? Well, until then, I thought getting a regular wax was painful enough. And no one was ever like, “Oh God, do you have a baby Chewbacca down there or what?” So I didn’t think I needed to take my regular hair removal any further.

What finally made me go for it was that I’d booked a beach vacation with one of my most fabulous gay friends. He is super finicky, and I know from our conversations about Grindr that he thinks all pubic hair is nasty. Not that his opinion mattered, but I figured if he saw a stray pube—on a woman—he might have a seizure. So to be polite, I thought I’d just ask for an extra vigorous wax.

I was definitely still going for a regular one, just the sideburns, you know? But then the Russian lady said, “Brazilian?” And I just heard myself say, “Yeah, sure.” Then everything just started happening. And now that I’ve ripped the bandage off, I feel like none of my friends, who have been doing this for decades, warned me properly. Here are eight things it might’ve been helpful to know going in.

(1) My waxer, a diligent woman, put her hands everywhere like it was no big deal. No piece of my anatomy was left untouched. Boyfriends have been less thorough than this waxer.

(2) At one point I had to hold my own butt cheeks apart so she could get wax in places I didn’t know there was even hair. (Blame it on my upbringing, but I don’t look at my undercarriage unless something hurts down there.)

(3) She put so much wax in my crack that I thought I felt my butthole getting sealed shut. I started to panic momentarily, thinking I might suffocate, even though I know I don’t breathe through my butthole.

(4) At this salon, there was a small desk fan that points at your genitals to cool down the extremely hot wax that has just been applied there. There were moments when I wanted to go back to the ripping and the burning because it’s just so awkward to sit there with a fan pointed at your crotch. (This isn’t the case everywhere, but just know laying there vag-out is awkward regardless.)

(5) When I went to pee afterward, there was no steady, normal stream. It went everywhere like a lawn sprinkler. I’d say TMI, but when you’re talking about what a brazilian wax is like, there’s no such thing.

(6) When I walk, it feels like I have deli meat in my pants. It’s just so…slippery and smooth.

(7) Also, I had to go to my regular Wednesday spin class because I’d reserved a bike and it was too late to cancel. This isn’t recommended and now I very much know why. Did you know that post-Brazilian, you can feel sweat in your ass crack in a totally new and different way? Now you do.

(8) And finally, when I went to shower and scrub my nethers, they just didn’t feel like mine.

You know when your friends have a baby and they whisper the gross things that happen during childbirth? They always qualify it with, “no one ever tells you.” I feel like that. Only instead of a baby I have baldness. I wish I could say this whole thing is a crime against women that’s worthy of a Law & Order: SVU episode. But sadly for my feminist fury, I kind of like the end result.

If you’ve never dabbled in the Brazilian arts, you can decide for yourself if that fun, streamlined, aerodynamic feel is worth all of the pain and awkwardness. But you won’t be able to say, “No one ever told me.”

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