In a sense, this is a sequel to the post ‘Why did we decide to write this blog? Because we want to!’. It will still make sense if you don’t read that post first, but you’ll miss the exciting and controversial journey that led to a 47 year old adolescent lying on a table in a beauty salon having his trousers yanked down.
The first obsession that I identified was the removal of my body hair. As the years advance it grows in weird, clumpy ways in odd places on the male body; tufted on the shoulders, like epaulettes; in strong diagonals over the shoulder blades on my back; in a fine, downy, thick band around my waist like a weightlifter’s belt. And all of them, each perfectly normal, with the potential to cause nauseous waves of revulsion whenever I caught sight of them in the mirror.
I researched different ways to remove said body hair. The obvious answer was shaving, but that was out of the question for me. Partly because the hair around my body grows back so quickly it’s visible, or at the very least it moves quicker than Phil Jones, but mostly because the hair that upsets me most is on my back and difficult to reach. Yes you can get long-handled razors but if I’m going to get rid I want to make sure it’s done properly, and for that you need precision control, not a razor blade on the end of a toilet plunger. Next option.
I read the reviews of Veet male hair removal cream. Noped the fuck out of that. Next option.
And then I started thinking about having my back waxed. The idea came from out of nowhere and, as I do, I researched online thoroughly (“does waxing hurt”, “how much does waxing hurt”, “will I be able to sit down after being waxed”, “has anyone ever died from waxing”). But this is symptomatic of the way my brain is working at the moment. Where once ideas used to flash through my brain like a nighttime show at the Blackpool illuminations, now they’re like an insidious brain parasite; they burrow deeper and deeper, hooking in to the fleshy parts with rows of teeth beneath sightless eyes, feeding until they’re bulging and and pulsing, covered in mucus and spreading a slow, burning poison throughout my system. Also they’re pretty grim.
But there was something else too. Throughout this – whatever is happening to me – I’ve been worried that my trans is transitory in nature, just a phase brought on my by mental health condition. And that’s an issue for me because apart from all the mad stuff that I feel the need to do, I am starting to feel more authentically me and I would be said if this was just a part of my illness. So I began to see waxing as a test. If the changes were superficial, I reasoned, and just transitory in nature I would likely not go through with it. I would be too embarrassed to even book a waxing, let alone go through with one.
“Take your shirt off and loosen your trousers. I’ll be back in five minutes.”
In the end I booked with Wax Inc. in Sheffield. I was told it would take 15 minutes, so I booked to go in one lunchtime while I was at work. “My name is Natalie,” said Natalie, “jump up on the table”. She could have added, “and I’m in charge” but she didn’t need to because you knew that Natalie was In Charge the minute she walked in.
“Is this going to hurt?” I asked wimpishly as I jumped up on the table.
“I don’t know,” she said. “Different people feel it in different ways.” She started stirring what looked like slow cookers full of hot Angel Delight. “I like your tattoo. What is it?”
“It’s just a trash polka design,” I said. “Does it hurt more than getting a tattoo?”
“I don’t know,” she said, yanking my trousers down and tucking a towel into the waistband. “You tell me.”
“Okay, well does it hurt less than getting a tattoo?”
“I don’t know,” she said, oiling my back vigorously. “You tell me. Did it hurt getting your tattoo?”
“Only on the wrist and in the crook of the arm,” I said. “If it hurts less than those bits I’ll be fine. Does it hurt that much?”
“I don’t know,” she said as she started spatulating hot wax onto my back and pressing strips of paper onto it, “you tell me.”
“Does it hurt-”
Actually, no, it didn’t hurt that much. There was definitely some shock and awe involved though. I think it did help that I was distracted though. I liked Natalie’s style.
And that was pretty much it. Take your shirt off, pull your trousers down until you’re showing off your builder’s decolletage, and lay on your stomach. Your waxer will tuck a towel into your trousers to make sure that nothing spills onto your clothes. Then, they apply some sort of lotion and rub it in – sorry, I didn’t ask what it was due to fixating on the pain – but that part was nice.
The actual waxing works like this. The hot wax – it doesn’t feel all that hot, it’s quite nice – is applied to your back with a spatula or spatula-like device. Then, paper is pressed into the wax. When the paper is ripped off (at pace), the wax, your hair, and your dignity comes away with it.
Actually, nah, it’s not really that bad. It does come as a surprise, that first strip. And I hate my sides being touched, so when the wax came round the sides that bit was very uncomfortable, but that’s me and not the waxing. But 90% of it was actually okay. More lotion and I was shuffled out of the door.
And that was literally that. And Natalie was great. You know when someone is just so In Charge you know you’re dealing with a professional? That was Natalie. The whole service – from booking, to automated text reminders of the appointment, the cleanliness of the room, the speed of the service, and the follow-up booking texts – just gave the impression that you were dealing with a professional, and the tremendous reviews on Facebook back that up.
I will definitely be going back. The first back waxing will need redoing in about five weeks, so if I don’t have anything else done first, I will definitely have that done. My body image issues are such that I think I need to remove all my body hair before I feel better and while I may experiment with other methods, I was so impressed with the wax finish that I will definitely go back again to get other parts done.
Although, there is no way I am letting her or anyone else tear strips of hot wax off my balls. Will get back to you on that.