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The “Other” Landing Strip

...These Brazilians! (Brazil, January 2015)
…These Brazilians!

“Take off your shorts, lay here and spread your legs.”

No one had talked to me like this since my weekly appointment with the ob-gyn when I was pregnant.

“Lift your hips and your bum.”

And I’m about to pay for this.

“Open your legs as wide as you can!”

6,000 pesos, actually. Okay, it’s only $10.

“One leg up now…”

I’m a masochist. I’m the one who decided it was time to lose my Brazilian wax virginity. Will it hurt, mommy?

Just a few weeks ago, we were in Santiago, Chile. It was a lovely day and it got even better when Mark fell asleep in his stroller—an impromptu siesta Latina, good boy. Conveniently, we were only a block from the hotel, so instead of keeping on walking, Feng decided to bring him back to the room and take a nap as well.

I had an hour or two of free time. A rare commodity.

I enjoyed a cup of coffee at a terrace, but I sipped it too fast, and ten minutes later I was done.

I wanted to do something for myself. Anywhere in Asia, I would have gotten a massage, but this is not a common cheap treat in Latin America. I didn’t need a haircut. What I needed, though, was depilación.

For years, I shaved my legs. I, 2010, I traded my razor for a depilator. Even though it sounds barbaric, pulling hair is better than shaving in the long run. The first time, it hurts like hell, and then it magically gets better as if your body could remember that it’s okay to run a device that plucks your hair out very fast over sensitive areas.

Life is weird. Bodies are weird.

But I don’t travel with my depilator because the voltage is usually different from North America. So by the time we reached Santiago, I’m very ashamed to say that I had hairy legs. It wasn’t that bad, but it was bothering me.

I have standards, after all.

Fortunately, many Latinas have the same problem as I do—hair that needs to be removed one way or another. Just my luck. Seriously, forget about hair removal in China, I don’t even think such business exist. Lucky Asian women!

I pushed the door of one of the many salons advertising depilación and asked if they could wax my piernas.

Twenty minutes later, I was hair free and my skin had never been so smooth. And it was almost painless! The one and only time I had tried to wax my legs at home had been a disastrous failure. I couldn’t bring myself to pull the strip of wax off. It’s much easier when someone else does the job, and the woman was clearly good at it.

“What now?” she asked, a smile on her lips as I was running my hand on my smooth skin. “Cavado?”


I had never heard the word before. She pointed to my crotch.

Oh, that. I thought the word “bikini” worked in every language.

Never mind linguistic considerations.

I paused for a second.

“…¿Y por qué no?”

That’s the thing—when you travel, you’ve already stepped out of your comfort zone. A bit more or a bit less… may as well strip in front of a stranger and have my most intimate parts waxed, right?

Okay, it’s a bit of a stretch (pun intended). But I’m not shy and I’m comfortable with my body.

Or so I told myself as I was going through the motion. Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt much—not as much as I thought it would. I had to avoid thinking of the hair begging for mercy as warm wax was trapping them and pulling them out. I had to focus on something else—the fact a fifty-something woman was waxing me enthusiastically? The crucifix around her neck? Her being waxed…—no, no, too awkward!

It didn’t take long. Ten minutes later, she was done… and it felt awesome. “Take a look!” the esthetician encouraged me. Ah, this was why there was a big mirror on the wall. I took a look under her watchful eye, careful to strike the right balance between “appreciative of the work” and “porn-star-in-training”.

“Your husband will like it,” she winked.

I didn’t even think of that part, at this stage. It just… felt great. It felt clean. It felt right.

Oh, why no one had told me how awesome Brazilian waxes are before? I thought it was something only women named “sexyyy69cindy” did!

After a haircut, you take a selfie and share your new look with the world. Ahem, what was I supposed to do after a Brazilian wax? Trust me, finding an appropriate relevant picture for this article was tough.

Eventually, I had to share the news with Feng. “Don’t scream,” I warned…

On one hand, I’m not a big fan of adding yet another beauty chore to my list, that I find already too long for someone who claims to be low maintenance and doesn’t even wear makeup. Plus, waxing isn’t as cheap in Canada as it is in Chile and I’m not sure I can do the job myself. On the other hand, it does make me feel good, so…

Yep, I’m adopting Brazilian waxes.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

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