Issue 1: Firsts

1234V cover Issue 1 WEB

Excerpts from 1234V

Volume One, Issue One: Summer 2007

* * *

My First Brazilian Wax

Emily McNairnay

It wasn’t my idea, but at the time it seemed like a good one. I had never done it before, but why not try it out? Robyn said the Brazilian wax was the way to go. I just made things… well… a whole lot cleaner, tidier and (according to her) nicer to look at. Okay, so why not? Here we were in Thailand, a beautifully hot country where, sooner or later, I would probably put on a bathing suit, thus wanting to get rid of the coat that was keeping me warm in Canada. Robyn said, “I get it done regularly back home.” So okay, I’ll do it.

Robyn is not only into the Brazilian wax, but she’s also into getting a bargain. Well, not actually a bargain so much as the lowest possible price, no matter what. She wouldn’t have it any other way. Brazilian wax plus lowest possible price equal much embarrassment and much, much pain.

The tiny, one-room shop we went to had a sign outside the front door. It read, “Have Hair Removal.” Robyn asked the little Thai woman, whose English was not very advanced (to say the least), how much she charged for a Brazilian wax. The woman looked at us with a polite smile, clearly having no clue what the hell we were talking about. Robyn drew an imaginary circle around her B and said, “All off. No hair.” This time the polite smile turned into an embarrassed giggle. Through the giggles the woman managed to say, “Okay, okay, 200 baht” (the equivalent to just under $7 Canadian). The giggles were not encouraging. In fact at this point I was not feeling too comfortable about the whole thing. I mean, here was this woman who was clearly not comfortable even talking about the Brazilian and I’m thinking if she’s like this now, what is she going to do when I’m lying on my back with my legs all spread? This was turning out to be a not-so-good idea.

So after some bartering over the price (I guess seven whole dollars was a little too steep for good old Robyn), she got the now extremely blushing Thai woman to knock it down to 150 baht.

I got to go first. As Robyn left the room the woman started to get the hot wax ready. As she was doing this I was nervously looking around the place. Hmm… let’s see… a massage table, a hairdressing chair, and a big old open door with no blinds that faced a very busy street. Where was she planning on doing this? Just when I was about to abort the mission, she said, “Okay, ready, come with me.” Thank goodness. She led me behind a curtain. Well, actually an old bed sheet. Behind the curtain was a mattress on the floor. I was thinking to myself, “Oh yes, this is much much better. Yuck.”

*  *  *

We’re standing behind this curtain like a couple 16-year-olds about to do it for the first time, not sure who should make the first move. Finally she says, “You need pants off.” Yes, of course. So off come the pants and my underwear. I carefully lie down on the mattress and spread ’em. I swear she almost gasps. “Yes,” she says as she starts spreading hot wax on me, “White women so hairy than Thai women… wow.” Okay, I’m so out of here. But it’s too late. Without any warning at all, rrrriiiipppp. I can’t see. I’m blind. Suddenly I forget every ounce of embarrassment and can only think about the excruciating pain and trying to keep from vomiting. Again, rrriiiiiippp. Sweet lord the pain.

* * *

With every rip, she let out that same giggle as before, only it was starting to sound a little sinister. Rip after rip, until I was certain this woman was actually enjoying this, all the time throwing in comments like, “So much,” and, “Thai girls not hairy this much.” Just when I was getting ready to this this Thai woman and get the hell out of there she said, “Okay, finish.”

I slowly wiped the tears from my eyes, afraid to look down for fear that all of the flesh from my V had been ripped off. I turned to sit up and the woman said, “Oh, no, not yet.” I was still at the woman’s mercy and went back down. She grabbed a bottle of baby powder and proceeded to powder me up like I was five months old. Whatever, I had no more energy, do what you will little Thai woman. “See look, now so nice like a baby.” I looked down to see what looked not so much like a baby, but more like a plucked chicken. I got up and oh so carefully put my pants back on. She looked at me and said, “400 baht, so hairy.” Although I knew we had agreed on 150 baht, I paid her the 400. I figured an argument would probably only lead to her embarrassing me further, and besides, I was willing to pay the extra 250 baht for what little dignity I had left. Now all I had to do was find a nice stiff drink and an ice pack.

* * *

My First Pap Smear

Sarah Michaelson

I suppose I was a bit on the older side when I got the first ‘smear.’ I was 19 and nervous, real nervous. Now you must seriously remember: if you’ve never before had someone examine you in detail – someone who takes into the account the minutiae of all that is vaginal – someone who is savvy in what every nook and cranny SHOULD look like and you’d know how yours chocks up to the thousands of others that the medical professional has previously viewed – your feelings tend to lean on the side of anxious.

In preparation for the appointment, I behaved much like how I do before a dental check-up: I pre-clean as well as I possibly can, hoping that this will enhance my chances of passing the examination with flying colours (in this case, labia pink). No word of a lie, I probably had three showers that morning, shining it up real good. It was like the serious tidying up my folks do before guests come over (frantic fluffing of the pillows so they’ll look just so), or the first time you have friends to your new apartments, friends that are extremely knowledgeable in what a good apartment looks like. It’s an extremely nerve-racking experience. What if I don’t look all proper down there? What if I accidentally pass gas in his face? What if I tense up and this somehow affects the evaluation? What I’m not as fresh as a daisy?

I get to the doctor’s office, sit down, flip through Chatelaine magazines and other assorted publications, praying that I don’t give off an an ohgodohgodohgodohgod appearance to the other people sitting near me. Sure, they’ve got it soooo easy. They just sit there comfortably reading their MacLean‘s from 1984, patiently awaiting their annual check-up like it’s no big deal. Seriously people! Don’t you worry that your parts are wrong? Don’t you wonder if the doctor is secretly compiling a list of the world’s weirdest body parts? Have you no misgivings that you might be on that list? (!)

Then it was my turn. I stripped off my clothes and put on one of those shitty smock things where your ass hangs out at the back. But here’s the kicker: I’m having my period. The end of my period, but residual blood is blood nonetheless. I sat on the doctor’s table, clenching so hard in hopes of preventing leakage onto the unforgiving gown, and in came the doctor. I leaned back onto the doctor’s table, still clenching, and in came the speculum.

These days, I can’t say that I look forward to getting pap smears, but you gotta get ‘er done.

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