An Open Apology to Our Labia

Illustration for article titled An Open Apology to Our Labia

Every so often, there comes along a tale of the rites of female passage gone so terribly wrong that one is left trembling. I'm not talking about any of the fictitious tripe some unpaid Cosmo intern spit out for the "Confessions" column—I'm talking about the true-life horrors of that wildly popular version of genital mutilation known as The Brazilian. Not that I'm above dutifully visiting my doting waxer (what up, Maya!) every few weeks, spreading my legs and asscheeks with glee as she efficiently rips out my lady-hair until I'm shiny and bald like a fetus. I don't know when having public hair became the more exotic option, but ever since the first de-furring, I've been fully in favor of seeing my labia looking happy and oh-so-smooth. And yet, there is danger! An inexperienced waxer can cause mental anguish or, worse, serious physical trauma. None of us are immune, and no one is safe. (Even my own over-aggressive usage of Folisan too soon after an otherwise perfect wax can cause first-degree burns. Have you ever peeled dead flesh off of your ladyflower? Highly recommend it.) Anyhow: Isn't it about time we all apologize to our sensitive bits? Take, for example, the following from a reader, a journalist who ended up leaving her labia behind in the emergency room:

I need to apologize to my labia. I put them through so much, but this most recent injustice really deserves a public confession.

It started all when I moved to a new city, and went looking for a place to get a Brazilian. Several people recommended the "wax nazi" who worked in the back room of a just-sanitary-enough nail salon. I guess I should have known better than to trust my nethers to a "nazi," but when I heard her thick Russian accent I figured she got the name from someone who didn't know the difference between nyet and nein. I also should have known better when I saw the roll of duct tape sitting next to the warming pot of wax. But a friend had warned me about her unorthodox technique and said her method was no more painful than the traditional muslin strips.

So I took off my pants, hopped onto the table, and prepared to go to my happy place for the duration of the procedure. Unfortunately, the nazi started barking orders, and I realized the waxing wasn't going to be passive. "Bend zee leg." Okay, fine. "Press knee to table." Okay, fine. "Now, holt zee lip." Excuse me? "Holt zee lip. Here, give me hand, and holt here, tight." Okay, so she needed a little help holding the skin taught while she waxed. Fine. I continued following her instructions, feeling uncomfortable and hairy—the usual for a bikini wax.


So, all well and good until I heard a rip of the wax followed by a surprised grunt from the nazi. Hmmm. Something was wrong. Nazi was dabbing my inner thighs, presumably wiping off extra wax. Then she asked me to press a paper towel to my undercarriage. Again, not so weird since this had been an interactive experience from the beginning. Finally, she asked me to sit up. That's when I knew something was wrong. Not sure how to explain this so it doesn't turn into a horror story, but, well, I was bleeding all over the table.

I jumped up, and she started babbling in Russian. Every now and then she would switch to English and say something to the effect of, "Eez vine, eez vine."

"Actually," I said, "Eez not vine at all." In fact, it was so very far from fine.

In the next few hours, more people saw my vagina than have seen my vagina in my entire life. First, there was my roommate, followed by my best friend who worked at Planned Parenthood, her supervisor, the triage nurse at the hospital, the ER resident on duty, a rape counselor (summoned when no one believed what happened between my legs was really caused by a waxing accident), some students, some more doctors, a gynecologist, and finally there was the plastic surgeon called in for a consult.


He was the last person to see my vagina for a very, very long time, and his pronouncement was this: "Well, it's finally stopped bleeding, and it really could use some stitches. But, I'm afraid there isn't much left to stitch up." And that is why I must apologize. So:

Dear Labia,
I know we don't talk often. But Majora, Minora, listen: I still don't get which of you is which, but I know I hurt you both. You have protected me my whole life and I treated you so very badly. I know this happened months ago and you're still mad... but you survived, didn't you? And, hey, we really enjoyed those few weeks with the painkillers, didn't we? I just want you to know I've learned my lesson. One of you (Majora, I think) is meant to be covered with soft downy hair, and I hereby promise not to try and change that ever again.


Your Owner

You SO want the epilogue on this one: In the name of journalism and protecting his lady, this brave woman's even-braver boyfriend then went to see the same nazi for a back wax. He gave the nazi his business card, to which she said, "Oh! Someone from your publication came in last week! But it did not go so well because she had sex!" The boyfriend's all-too-knowing response: "Uh, no she didn't." Figures that a crazy bitch would try to cover up her mistake with some grotesque puritanical admonishment of pre-wax sex, which probably wouldn't make any difference even if you were slapping on the wax while riding cowgirl.

We know you have your own stories. Leave them in the comments, and perhaps we can heal together.

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girlfriend 6.0

I cut my labia once with a pair of scissors while trimming.

That wasn't fun.