This is a difficult time to be a woman in America. In the contradictory land of double 0s and “lady lumps,” every body part – from nose to neck to tummy to thigh – is scrutinized. For most of us, unfortunately, the perfect female form is about as attainable as a Pulitzer Prize for sex columning – not that I don’t aspire to both. I decided last summer that I would take one step toward achieving at least the former. I succumbed to the Brazilian trend. If the media was going to make me feel bad about my body on a daily basis, at least I could rest assured knowing that my vagina was up to snuff. And so I headed to the beauty salon. 

I know what you’re thinking. Devoting an entire column to the 15-minute ordeal my vagina underwent? Wouldn't some people call that tacky? Narcissistic? Entirely too much information? Check, check, and double-check. So for the queasy, stop reading now before I wax philosophical (not to be ironic) on a subject you'd rather not know more about.

Let me start off by saying that I'm a frequent and avid waxer. I’ve had plenty of bikini waxes before. But this is not a bikini wax. I cannot emphasize that enough. I could bold, italicize, and underline that statement and the html still would not do it justice. Even though layers of skin have been viciously ripped off my eyelids, upper lip, arms, and legs, never has an esthetician ventured to more intimate territory.

On one late summer evening around 8:30 PST, all that changed. I lost my Brazilian cherry.

“Lena,” “lost,” and “cherry” all in the same sentence? Isn’t this old news? But trust me, "losing my cherry" in the most literal of ways was right on top of the Worst Fear List as I laid on my back with hot wax dripping down my nether regions.

I should clarify that I didn't get a Brazilian in the strictest sense. Technically, a Brazilian leaves a small rectangular (sometimes, triangular) pattern. My vagina approached waxing like it approached dating: bravely, but oh so foolishly. I wanted to take it all off. To some extent, I think I assumed this would be a great new experience. Kind of like getting your hair done for the first time. Not even close. Picking out nail polish colors for a manicure? Fun. Picking out a pattern for a down-there waxing? Not so much. First, it's Brazilians; next, it's childbirth. God, the things I do for guys.

I don't know what it is I expected. In retrospect, this was something I should've mentally prepared for. My clueless self in for a severe reality check. Walking into the salon an hour late for my appointment, I disrobed, laid back, and spread wide. Less than a minute later, the first yank. And that's when the full enormity of the situation hit me: this was the stupidest decision I’d made during my short stint in adulthood.

To be perfectly honest, I probably would've ditched my money and run out of there in the first sixty seconds had this whole procedure not been for my boyfriend at the time. On the eve of his return from a 10-day Eurotrip, I wanted to welcome him back with a prepubescent surprise. The most prominent thought running through my mind during the ordeal was, "This has got to be love. It's just got to be." Because really, if it's not love to have my cunt torn apart for non-life-threatening reasons, then tell me, what the hell is this elusive concept we call "love"?

Regardless of Cosmopolitan’s claims to “slip and slide” sensations, this was not something I'd do for anyone but a steady boyfriend. Sure, it is a beauty regimen, which seems to imply that it's done for my own sake as well, but if it were up to me alone, I'd opt for the razor. After all, if I can deal with stubble every time I kiss my man, he can deal with the same on the rare occasions when he ventures down to my naughty bits.

I'm not sure how I got through the entire session but I recall a lot of deep breathing, a lot of pained facial expressions, and a lot of fist clenching. Again, just like childbirth, except the result doesn’t stay around for 18 years.

Post-waxing, I left a hefty tip — because really, who wants to touch that shit, especially my shit? — and hobbled over to coffee shop to recover. Stinging as I was, I resorted to two surefire comforts: free wireless internet and sugar.

Over drinks, my friend asked me, "So would you ever do it again?" I pondered for a moment and responded, "Only if I were in love."

Lena no longer believes in love, but keeps up the facade at
Questions? Comments? Email Lena at Elle @