Manscaping: A slash-and-burn affair

Spinnaker

One Spinnaker staffer gives you the low-down on trimming downtown

With Christmas fast approaching, many people are breaking out the shears to trim their tree, but whether or not you’re a Christian, you can still get into the “trimming spirit” on your face, arms, back or … below.

Initially, I wasn’t too nuts about writing an article on “manscaping,” – the art of male body hair grooming, particularly below the belt – but when life hands you lemons, shave ‘em.

The most gonzo thing to do was to go balls to the wall and get a Brazilian wax. In the interest of science, I only got half of my carriage waxed and shaved the rest so I can hopefully give readers insight to both hair-removal styles. What follows is an account of the procedure, the days after and a little info.

Metrosexual has become a common term in the last 10 years, and even if all guys aren’t going out buying man-purses (“murses,” if you will), our society has become more accepting of grooming habits America and other western countries once considered effeminate and taboo. Wanderlea, my chosen manscaper, sees about a third more men than she did 20 years ago, she said.

“I think we want to feel [the skin] more,” she said. “It makes you more sensitive.”

Many typically think porn stars would overwhelmingly patronize services like Wanderlea’s, but while she does see one pornographer, she said athletes and doctors are more common. Attempts to speak with local dermatologists, urologists and the Mayo Clinic’s public relations department all proved to be unsuccessful by press time.

Day 1 – After a few embarrassing phone calls, I managed to track down a beautician who would even give a man a Brazilian. It’s a request that grows more common, but beauticians are justifiably reluctant to touch the baser sex, according to Wanderlea.

When I arrived at her office, Wanderlea and I spoke about the procedure, and she shared some post-waxing tips with me. I asked her what to expect as the hair returns, and she laughed while incredulously asking, “What? You mean besides in-grown hairs?” The biggest problem is bacterial infection in the pores, which can set in the first 10 hours after waxing. Infections are rare if one follows a few simple hygienic rules, she said.

Wanderlea assured me that the large amount of whiskey (5/2/88, officer) I had before coming into her office was normal and a good idea.

“They usually give you some wine at a lot of spas,” she said. “The alcohol dulls the pain.”

It’s hard to retain your masculinity when getting a Brazilian wax, but I like to think I did so by not screaming when Wanderlea took the first rip. Overall, the event wasn’t terribly painful, and Wanderlea said that it actually gets easier as you go, because the body secretes more and more cortisol, which is — among other things — a natural pain-killer.

There was no blood, but that ain’t usually the case, Wanderlea said. I wasn’t that lucky when I got home and shaved the other half. I blame my poor razor skills on the fact that I was a little drunk. If anyone tries the shaving method, I suggest short, careful (oh-so careful) strokes combined with sobriety.

Day 2 – Initial redness and irritation continues. It looks like I have eczema EVERYWHERE below my belt. People do this for beauty?

Day 3 – I’m assuming porn stars never ride bikes. Ouch! Actually, Wanderlea said she has two cyclists who come to her. I don’t know how they do it.

Day 4 – The redness and omnipresent, tiny, white bumps are finally subsiding. But what will emerge?

Day 6 – I look in the mirror before I get in the shower and lament my pre-pubescent state. My junk looks like a sad baby elephant.

Day 10 – The shaved side is starting to grow back in. My pre-pubescent pubic region commenced some wonderful changes, and there’s hair growing where there was no hair before. With all these pimples and scattered stubble, my crotch looks like my face did when I was 14 …

Day 14 – My lower stomach is a temple to the two-faced god Janus, and there’s a clear division between the ex-shaved half and the still-bare-waxed area. Starting to notice some red spots on the waxed side, however.

Day 18 – Oh, God, it itches! Searching frantically for some sandpaper or a cheese-grater.

Day 22 – Everything’s pretty much grown in, and with the exception of a few remaining ingrown hairs, things are back to normal.

OK, so I don’t think I’d ever do that again. I’m not trying to make pass any judgment or turn anyone off to the idea of hardcore body hair removal (in the words of Russell Simmons, “Do you!”). Some of the discomfort was probably avoidable. I didn’t  really do any of the stuff on Wanderlea’s list of “aftercare tips,” because moisturizing with tee tree oil after every shower and abstaining from sexual activity for 10 hours after the procedure seemed like putting on airs.

Next time, find out what a mullet can do for your resume.