The Bikini Waxer With an Aversion to Female Anatomy

Note: Individuals pictured are not the sources of these stories.Photo: Christopher Anderson/Magnum Photos/New York Magazine

I look at vagina all day, but you become numb to it. I started out doing facials, but I’d do eight facials in a day and I’d be exhausted. Waxing is so much faster—you can bang out a minimum of twelve clients in one day, and because of the intimate nature of it, you get more repeat clients. When I first started here, four years ago, I’d done Brazilians before, but I’d never done like eight Brazilians in one day. Now I do everything, everything, everything. Every little crevice, nook, and cranny.

A lot of people are super-nervous their first time. I’ve had people cover their vaginas in front of me so their hands are in the way, or people wear underwear—I’m like, “Um, you’re going to have to remove those.” Or they won’t open their legs. Younger girls are the most nervous and tense, which makes the wax more difficult. And overweight people are a little more shy. Knock on wood, I’ve never had anybody pass out and I’ve never gotten kicked, but I have co-workers who have. I’ve had clients tell me horror stories about other waxers ripping their labia, because the inner part is so delicate and if you’re not careful, you can split it.

Everyone thinks they’re the hairiest person in the world. Nine times out of ten, they’re not. I mean, some people, yes, have thick and coarse hair. I’ve seen women’s bikini lines grow out into their thighs. But most think they’re worse than they really are. And I try to reassure people: Even if they are that bad, I say I’ve seen worse. In school, I was taught to have people get on all fours like a dog to get the back part, which to me is humiliating. So I’ve learned to have them hug their knees instead. I try to make people comfortable.

I just try to remember one or two little things about every client that I can bring up and make them feel special. But sometimes I won’t recognize somebody until they drop their pants. Vaginas are all really different, and I must say, some are really gross. I have some people who think it’s okay to come straight from the gym and not shower. At the last place I worked, I would lie and say that the hair’s too short or too long. But at my current spa, we’re not supposed to turn anyone away, so sometimes I just have to suck it up and do it. I’ll put it to you this way: I’m glad I’m not a lesbian. We try to mention that people should clean themselves without saying, “Hose yourself down!” So we say at the beginning, “Here are some baby wipes so you can clean yourself up,” like it’s just part of the procedure. I personally have not seen an STD flare-up, but one of my co-workers has seen people with bad herpes. And, legally, we’re not allowed to deal with that, so she just said, “Oh, well, you need to go see your gynecologist before I can wax you.” We try to blame things on company protocol. That’s the safest thing.

Sometimes piercings get in the way, depending on the shape and size of the vagina. I had one client who brought in a stencil of a W because that was her boyfriend’s name, and that was a challenge—T’s are easy, L’s are easy, W’s are difficult. We don’t offer dyeing at the spa where I work, but we do the Vajewel, which is Swarovski crystals that stick on the skin in a design, and vagina airbrush tattoos—stars, hearts, whatever. The Vajewel is really popular, I do at least one a day. I just did one of a cherry design.

When I first started, maybe 50 percent of my clients did Brazilians, and now I’d say 85 percent. And I’ve seen all ages, from 15 to 70. I had this woman come in who was 65 who had never been waxed but had met a guy online and wanted a Brazilian, and she was such a champ. I get a lot of girls in high school, and I don’t feel weird about that, but I ask them if they’re hooking up. A lot of them do it for sports like swimming, but then I do have seniors who are having sex and are like, “Yeah, I need a wax for prom!”

I wax the underarms of one girl who’s now 11 but I started seeing at 10. She needed it, and her mom never wanted her to shave, but I feel bad torturing this poor little girl. I’ve had other young kids whose moms have forced them to wax their lip or eyebrows, and they’re like crying. That’s the only time I feel uncomfortable.

As told to Rachel Baker

The Bikini Waxer With an Aversion to Female Anatomy