Why Do We Wax?

On the way home from my first waxing experience in Cairo I saw a flayed carcass lying out in the street. I considered it quite an apt metaphor. The thing is I had gone rather a long time between trips and the lady who was waxing me looked close to tears as she tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to remove the hair. In fairness to the distraught beautician the woman who waxes my legs in London often comments on the volume of hair on my legs and its peculiar ‘stubbornness’. It is this kind of compliment that often makes me wonder why I masochistically pay to be plucked like a chicken.

Clearly if I ever really looked into this I would find that women have been dealing with this crap for a long time. After all some of the earliest hair removal we know of happened thousands of years ago, here in Egypt. The Ancient Egyptians though were a little more egalitarian in their approach to hair removal as the men too had to put up with this kind of shenanigans. I like to imagine an Ancient Egyptian paying to have his dignity waxed off him whilst his beautician remarks on the sheer staying power of his hair.

It makes sense that the men eventually called time on this nonsense but the question still remains, why haven’t we? The answer to our waxing woes seems simple: men don’t love hairy women. But a lot of what we did because men liked it we have given up on. For example, women now feel able to have careers once they are married. The insane pressure to be a stay-at-home domestic goddess who has dinner on the table and make up on the face before her husband even walks through the door has abated.

Yet hair removal remains.

The thing is that whilst waxing trends may now exist to please men we also get a thrill from the feeling of smooth limbs. I, a girl who once invited her friends to feel her legs because they were ‘as smooth as a lubricated dolphin’, am not immune to this. When, due to laziness, I let my legs run wild during winter, my Christmas Eve treat is a shave because hair removal makes me feel great and, yes, more beautiful. At many times in my life I have attempted to be the sort of free spirit who runs around with unshaved armpits in tank tops. At school my party trick was growing out the hair on my legs and then wearing a P.E skirt, however my legs never stayed out for long and come Summer I would be back developing a rash from persistent shaving.

So, until I develop a more cavalier ‘lotsa hair, don’t care’ attitude you can continue to find me every couple of weeks laid out on a waxing bed, wondering what on earth we women go through all of this for. And if it’s any encouragement my waxing lady and I get along quite well now.


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