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Scream, scratch or snip?

Woman SmilingI have a close friend, Helena, who lives in Sao Paulo. She’s Brazilian.

But that’s not the kind of Brazilian I want to talk about today. I want to talk about the kind that causes women considerable albeit temporary pain, and costs time and money. Yes. That Brazilian, a “Brazilian Wax” designed to give mature women that squeaky clean and bare look reminiscent of a five-year old girl.        

In the photos and demos, the procedure looks fast. Not so.  Every pubic hair is yanked out at the follicles, so it’s an elongated, painful process. I’m told that the tears accompanied by screams and expletives can only be drowned out by a loud marching band. The good news: once it’s done, there are no long-term negative side effects—just more halting pain and expense to look forward to the next time around. 

But let’s not forget the good old-fashioned shaving of one’s pubic hair. Here the ramifications can be terrible and long-lasting: irritation, ongoing itching as the hair grows back and worse still, possible infection. Why? Open, microscopic wounds develop from the irritated and inflamed hair follicles that are left behind. 

Ladies, I now have a few questions to get us even more focused on our pubic hair.      

  1. Is waxing or shaving down there anti-feminist?
  2. Is it offensive?
  3. Is it a cultural trend spawned by thongs and bikinis?
  4. Is it a misguided attempt at hygiene?
  5. Is it to mimic the hairless actors we as a society emulate?
  6. Is it a desire to return to our childhood innocence?
  7. Is it a need to keep up with our sisters who have also gone bare?
  8. Is it out of desire to please our misters?
  9. Is it a practical need to get beach ready?
  10. Is it to please ourselves and enhance our self-esteem and confidence?

First off, there is no right or wrong answer, but we need to be clear on our motivation and then look to our management options. I appreciate you might not want to be self-conscious in your bathing suit. I also appreciate that you want to be appealing down there for your lover. Who wouldn’t?  

But honestly, we need our pubic hair. Just like the hair on our heads that regulate temperature or the hair in our noses and ears that act as filters, our pubic hair serves a purpose: to protect us. It provides a cushion against friction that can cause skin abrasion and injury. It also protects us from bacteria and other unwanted pathogens.

I have a friend, Martha, who’s been a nurse for 25 years. She said there was a time that doctors persisted in shaving women who were giving birth. In time, they disbanded this practice as it was found that body part shaving prior to surgery (including shaving of the vagina) increased surgical site infections.

Imagine these birthing moms—women who were already embarking on a major life changehaving to deal with the itch and sometimes more? Martha also told me that over the years, she’s  witnessed many young nurses scratching up a storm down there.    

I’m told that “trimming” is an excellent alternative to the Brazilian or shaving. Trimming maintains protection, is pain free, washroom-centric and cheap. All you need is a one-time investment in a good pair of cuticle scissors and snip snip at your convenience. Do you think some of those young nurses might like to trim instead? 

Well, whatever sociological theories propel pubic hair removal, the next time I’ve got an itch that needs scratching, it sure won’t have originated from a razorblade. I’m also sticking with Helena, my Brazilian buddy. She’s a dear and I like the weather in Sao Paulo. Cheers and happy bikini season.

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