A couple weeks ago, over drinks with The Uniter’s culture editor, Dunja Kovacevic, I sarcastically suggested it would be great to have hair torn from my pubic region with sticky, warm gel so I could write about it.
Well, I am an impulsively sarcastic person, but this is the first time I’ve gotten into serious trouble because of it.
Kovacevic thought it was a great idea, and I was soon off to Aesthetics for Men, a salon in Winnipeg specializing in hair removal treatments for men.
I had earlier been told that the pain felt by first timers is mostly due to tense nerves and muscles.
So, prior my appointment, I did a short yoga session and took a warm shower.
Yet, stepping up to the front door, I was overcome with the same fear I’m certain first-time war correspondents must feel.
Aesthetics for Men is owned by Nikki Shorten, a woman who made me feel significantly better about saying goodbye to my fuzzy-wuzzy-buddies; she is personal, friendly and reassuring.
Shorten even offers customers her cell number in case they have questions or concerns about the procedure.
“I tell people they can text me because sometimes it’s easier to ask questions about these sorts of things in writing, rather than over the phone,” she told me.
She explained to me that Brazilians for men - also known as manzilians - involve the removal of all hair from the male pubic region and buttocks area.
There are two ways to go about doing this: waxing and sugaring.
Waxing involves spreading a warm wax over the skin then removing it with a cloth strip.
Sugaring involves applying a warm gel made of sugar, lemon and water, and removing it in a similar fashion.
“In the aesthetics world, there is a war going on - the estheticians versus the sugaring technicians,” Shorten explained. “I do both, and I see the benefits of both.”
For manzilians, though, Shorten recommends sugaring, which she insists is gentler on the skin.
After a brief waiting period, I entered the room where the procedure takes place with Dylan Hewlett, The Uniter’s photo editor.
Hewlett and I earlier agreed he should photograph the event in detail.
However, to my disappointment, The Uniter is only using the waist-up photos.
But I digress.
I took my pants off, sat bare-ass down on a blanketed table, then had a goddamn awkward conversation with Hewlett about pubic hair length while we waited for Shorten.
Speaking of length, when Shorten arrived, she explained my hair was a tad too long, and my roots were notably tenacious. At first I thought this made me some sort of superhuman, but it just meant the hair would be harder to remove.
“The hair should be at least between a quarter of an inch to two quarters of an inch long,” explained Shorten. “I recommend not going beyond three quarters of an inch. The shorter the hair, sometimes the more you have to work at it.”
We began with the pelvis region, which is surprisingly more sensitive than the shaft, scrotum and anal area. A few of the strips that were pulled off made me cringe and tense up, but the bulk of it was very manageable.
And then it got easier.
The area below the scrotum proved only periodically distressful. But the shaft was no worse than removing an old band-aid, and my buttocks hardly noticed they were beset with warm jelly.
Life after fuzz
I went home that evening feeling naked, clean, smooth, proud and somewhat afraid to look at myself naked in the mirror.
However, Shorten earlier assured me the brief unpleasantness was well worth it.
“It certainly addresses any perspiration or chafing issues, it helps with odours, is generally more sanitary and it looks better,” she said.
She also claimed your significant other will love you for it.
“It increases your sensitivity and feels much nicer against the skin,” she said. “Once your girlfriend experiences it, she will never let you go back.”
And so, in an interview that proved to be the greatest note-taking challenge of my life, my partner voiced agreement with most of Shorten’s statements.
She explained that bare skin on bare skin, previously fuzzy, produced an entirely new kind of pleasure.
However, for her, my manzilian was not so life changing that she would commit me to monthly procedures; if I wanted to grow it back, that was fine.
The manzilian also requires maintenance, including exfoliation two to three days a week - otherwise you’ll be dealing with ingrown hairs. This should be done while you’re dry, not in the shower.
I admit - it took a couple days to get used to.
Initially, I felt naked and boyish, but soon I enjoyed feeling clean and smooth. And, without going into much detail, I should say Shorten was not kidding about the increased sensitivity.
So, would I do it again?
So far as I can see, there’s no reason not to.
In fact, I’m a bit confused about the widespread fear of male hair removal. Shorten thinks it may have something to do with how it was depicted in a hit film from 2005.
“After that stupid movie - 40 Year Old Virgin - we saw a definite decline in business,” she explained. “They don’t even use correct procedure in it.
“Most people say real-life manzilians are much less painful than tattoos.”
Aesthetics for Men is located at 873 Notre Dame Ave. Visit http://www.aestheticsformen.com.
Published in Volume 67, Number 10 of The Uniter (November 7, 2012)