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Wax and wane 

Lezlie Lowe bares it all for her column.

Ladies, pull up your pants. Brazilian wax jobs are going out of style.

In case you’ve managed to miss this decade-and-a-half-old trend in pubic hair management that hit its height in the late ’90s, or if you’ve never been plucky enough to ask someone the ins and outs, here goes:

You lie naked from the waist down (you can wear a thong, but it’s easier if you’re, um, unencumbered) while an aesthetician applies warm wax to every wisp of pubic hair you’ve got. Including the bushy front part. Including the labia. All the way in. And, yes, all the way up the back too (you can flip onto your stomach for that part). You’re left with a one centimetre by three centimetre rectangle in the front, or a small triangle, if that’s your preference.

But according to the February 2006 issue of Elle Canada, a little grass on the lawn is a good thing these days. The Brazilian, which author Clara Young calls “a late 20th-century torture technique that would not be out of place at a sleepover with the Marquis de Sade,” is on the wane.

The story, which solicits the opinions of A-list aestheticians and a nurse from Vancouver’s Pine Free Clinic (who has “confronted many a mound”), says these days more women are opting to keep more hair. Author Young doesn’t speculate why.

I will: It’s the ’80s influence. Big hair is back. The just-released March 2006 Vogue showcases a ton of backcombed beauties, multi-colour geometric patterns galore, plus a trend report on “the bold brow.”

The bold bush is next.

But don’t let’s get carried away. In the Elle Canada piece, spa-owner Christine Chin insists that the full-fluff muff isn’t a must-have yet. Except with the cotton-briefs clientele — “They don’t like the pain.”

A Brazilian-devotee friend of mine told me that once I had done it, I would (wink) understand.

Traditional feminism understands. Twisty Farmer, on her blog I Blame the Patriarchy (blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com) gets right to the second-wave point when she frames Brazilian wax jobs as entailing “submissiveness and conformity and capitulation to white male supremacy.”

My aesthetician — ever the professional — won’t call it for the white male supremacists or the feminists. All she says is during the busy season, she does at least two a day.

The politics are prickly. But not the practice, which I discovered when I had my first Brazilian this week.

I’m no newbie to the bikini wax. But I stick to the fringes, if you know what I mean. It’s not a pain thing — those eastern European spas where beefy women scour you with boar bristle brushes would be an addiction if I lived in Krakow.

The Brazilian has always been a why-bother question for me. Why trouble baring — no, like, really baring — your goods for the application of hot wax? Then again, when you’ve given birth, what’s there left to be modest about?

So now I’ve done it. I can’t bow out of the philosophical debate any longer. I have to pick sides — the feminists or the buff-lovers.

My answer is this: I understand (wink). It feels good. It’s calming. Like decluttering. And it’s the same as shaving your head — it might not look great, but you can’t stop touching it. I guess I’ve never been much for trends. So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999.

Keeping it trim, or going au naturel? Send your preference to: lezliel@thecoast.ca

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