I don't get why aestheticians like their jobs!
December 23, 2009 7:20 AM   Subscribe

I have finally worked up enough nerve to try getting a brazilian wax. It's not the pain; it's the privacy issue. My appointment is booked. I've been to gynos etc. Why does this seem different? I just can't get past the idea that the waxers must think it's a yucky job. But then, I think to myself, why did they end up in that job? Do people actually LIKE waxing other people's genitals?

For example, the salon I've booked an appointment at is strictly a brazilian waxing salon. So the staff there are literally waxing vaginas etc all day long. They must enjoy or at least not hate doing it. How is this possible? How do they end up in the profession? If I can understand this, perhaps I will stop feeling so nervous.

Any further hints or encouragement or anecdotes to relax me about the whole thing are appreciated. Why am I so nervous when it aint no thing to other people!? The idea of someone paying such close attention to my private parts in a non-sexual non-clinical way is freaky!
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How do proctologists do their jobs? At some point you just get inured to others' body parts.
posted by dfriedman at 7:26 AM on December 23, 2009

A good start would be to stop judging others using your own set of preferences. It's a job. Whatever it is that you do in your life, there's probably somebody other there who doesn't "get" it.

Treat them like the professionals that they are and stop worrying about their motives.
posted by war wrath of wraith at 7:27 AM on December 23, 2009 [4 favorites]

Sometimes they will offer you a little paper panty to wear. This does basically nothing, because they just shove it aside to wax the parts they're going to wax. But it might make you feel better.

In my experience, there are two ways folks go when they have to deal with your junk as part of their jobs. There's the silent, let's get this over with route, which can be awkward and uncomfortable and have long, drawn out seeming periods of dead air. And there's the chatty, gossipy, route, where they basically act like a hair stylist and interject "bend your left leg" into their running commentary about weekend plans. I do not like making small talk with strangers, but trust me that the second way is better, even if you're introverted and normally keep your business interactions brusque.
posted by vilthuril at 7:28 AM on December 23, 2009 [3 favorites]

Lots of people have yucky jobs. For all sorts of reasons, either personal or economical, they're worth doing. Whether you're eating at restaurants, putting out your garbage for pick-up, or dropping off kids at day-care, you have to imagine that it's someone's job to clean up the stuff that you don't/can't handle yourself. Tip well and enjoy with a clean conscience.
posted by hermitosis at 7:31 AM on December 23, 2009

in a non-sexual non-clinical way is freaky!

Getting a brazilian is absolutely clinical. It's not somewhere you'd like to have something go wrong. Just think of it that way.
posted by meerkatty at 7:31 AM on December 23, 2009

Yeah, a Brazilian is very far from a sexual experience for anyone involved. I personally hate them and only did it once with a friend, but it wasn't freaky, just owww.

I never thought of it the way vilthuril described, but it's true. Chatting is good.
posted by Pax at 7:34 AM on December 23, 2009

For the aestheticians I know, waxing is only one part of their jobs. But yeah, some of them like it because it's fairly straightforward and there's always a demand. The woman who does my eyebrows has very gleefully said she loves waxing. I think she likes the precision involved.

My sister does spray tans by hand, with an airbrush. She has to stand in a stall with naked people constantly, but likes it because she gets to chat and the spraying is something she can do in her sleep. I assume waxing may be like that for some people.

You'd be surprised how clinical it is, actually. Everything is very clean, the aestheticians wear gloves, and it seems more like a medical procedure than, say, getting your haircut. It really is sort of like going to the gynocologist, and most of the time it's more comfortable.

And I don't think they're paying that much attention to your parts; they're paying attention to evenly distributing the wax and getting all the hair. It's really not a big deal at all. Good luck!
posted by lunalaguna at 7:34 AM on December 23, 2009

How is this possible? How do they end up in the profession? If I can understand this, perhaps I will stop feeling so nervous.

Do people actually LIKE waxing other people's genitals?

Most people want to be able to do their job well, no matter what it is, because it's their source of money.

EVERY job has some boring aspect to it. They've seen dozens if not hundreds of vaginas. Yes, yours is special and unique, but to them it's just another way to pay the bills and one more thing to do until they're lunch break.

I use to have to do a lot of photo retouching of male and female genital and while the first few I did were "OMG, HOW DID I END UP IN THIS POSITION" after a while it just became a job, which I tried to do really well. Eventually I had seen enough photos of penises and vaginas were it wasn't so weird to be dealing with them. I imagine waxers are much the same way.

I use to be a a freaky about doctors and having them touch me, as it seemed gross having to deal with the actual meat and potatoes so to speak of the human body. Then I took some volunteer classes that taught a lot of first aid and I really got into it, started seeing the body as a fantastic machine with so many parts to study and learn about, it became a thing of beauty. For a while I entertained the idea of becoming a nurse of some sort, just so I could work more with the body. So in the end, it's just a matter of perspective.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:38 AM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Aestheticians seem to look at bodies (or parts of bodies) the way mechanics look at cars. During my very first European Facial, the girl working on my skin used a kleenex and a tool to remove blemishes, etc. from my face. I literally said out loud "Oh my gosh, you don't have to do THAT! Goodness, I'll take care of that later!" She responded by reminding me that the removal was part of the service, and that she did it every time she did a facial before a chemical peel.

Waxing is similar - I go to Ziba out here in So Cal, and the ladies are always very nice, chatty and really come across like theyunderstandthat you're about to expose your ladyparts to a stranger to be waxed. Take some Advil or similar about 40 minutes before, relax and it will be over before you know it. :)
posted by Cookbooks and Chaos at 7:43 AM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Many unpleasant jobs pay well, or offer employment to people with limited education. The (sort-of) free market is at work. My advice: Tip well.
posted by theora55 at 7:51 AM on December 23, 2009

So the staff there are literally waxing vaginas etc all day long

First (because this usage drives me up a wall) I'd like to point out that they are not waxing vaginas. If you have hair growing out of your vagina, that's a problem. Its actually your labia (technically the Labia majora) that is being waxed. Your vagina is the part on the inside, and during a waxing the tech is very unlikely to need to touch or look at your vagina.

Second, to answer your actual question, I'd say you actually hit on it in your second sentence: its a privacy thing. Some people are either brought up or are hard wired to feel like the act of seeing nude bodies all day is ... well, yuchy. Or bad. Or weird. But to a lot of other people in the world, seeing naked bodies is a normal part of life. Bodies are beautiful things. Another way of looking at the job these women do is that they are taking your already beautiful body and adorning it, making it more beautiful.

Think about how you are in a locker room: Are you the sort who can just strip down and change without thinking of it, or are you the type who goes into a private room to change, or who tries to hide her body? Now look around your imaginary locker room - some women are doing something different than you are, aren't they?

People feel lots of different ways about nudity. And, frankly, the more you're around it the more you see that its no big deal.
posted by anastasiav at 7:52 AM on December 23, 2009 [9 favorites]

Vaginas are internal. They're waxing the mons pubis and the labia. nsfw
posted by iconomy at 7:52 AM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

I find waxing to be very clinical. In the US aestheticians and waxers need to pass state licensing tests for cleanliness / proper disinfecting of materials, etc. It is essetially a hybrid of a trade and light medical profession.

Also, some people are just not hung up about looking at bodies. If you work with them every day, after only a short time it does'nt even phase you. Anastasiav is right about how people were raised differently - me, I'm a change in front of girls in the locker room type person, because really what do I have that other women haven't already seen?
posted by WeekendJen at 8:12 AM on December 23, 2009

You know, I talked about this fairly at length with an aesthetician, while she was waxing away. She loves doing what she does. She loves hearing about how much her clients' partners love it. She told me about a middle aged client who went as a surprise for her husband, and it completely rejuvenated their sex life. She told me that I could come back on my period, she'd just push the string aside; I could come back pregnant, she'd work with me to be able to make it comfortable. That tells me that she is very straight forward about this.

So, for this particular woman, she loved the job because she made people feel good, and she could do it in a very positive way (no shame with periods, pregnancy). If people are going to get waxed, well, someone's got to do it!
posted by teragram at 8:18 AM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

Watch this video and tell me if you think the aesthetician hates her job (mildly NSFW; no actual nudity).
posted by saladin at 8:26 AM on December 23, 2009

Don't feel bad. It's just hair to be removed. You might find this link helpful.
posted by jennyhead at 8:44 AM on December 23, 2009


posted by jennyhead at 8:44 AM on December 23, 2009

You were self conscious the first time you went to the gyno though, right? Felt all weird about hanging your ass off the table, knees spayed apart? It's the same with waxing - the first time you feel like a freaky exhibitionist. But after you see how completely blase the waxer is, you will realize that it's just as interesting/boring tasteful/distasteful to them as anything is once they've done it a million times.

They should have you on a paper/cloth covered table, and the paper/cloth should be changed for each customer. They should be wearing gloves, and they should use a fresh wooden spatula/depressor each time they dip into the pot of wax. As long as all three of those things are happening, they take their job and the sterility of the environment seriously, which makes a much more clinical experience.

Last point: you never know what people love doing. Several aestheticians I know LOVE the pore extraction (zit picking) they are required to do during facials. Another I used to go to loved doing electrolysis - she'd be all 'LOOK at that one! That guy's never coming back!' It didn't matter that it was bikini area, for her it was about conquering hair follicles.
posted by 8dot3 at 10:42 AM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Being a waxing aesthetician is a reasonably well-paying job by the standards of the beauty industry, and the people who do it aren't getting off on it any more than the people who do pedicures are getting off on touching strangers' feet.

It's like any other beauty industry job: you have to have a combination of engagement with people and the ability to deal with them with enough detachment and professionalism so that it doesn't seem weird that one of you is touching the other in parts strangers usually don't touch.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:05 AM on December 23, 2009

A lot of aestheticians don't just do Brazilians all day, they also do other waxing and other services besides waxing.
posted by ishotjr at 12:25 PM on December 23, 2009

I go to my urologist and a (female) nurse or technician inserts a catheter through my penis and up into my bladder. It's her job. Neither of us treats the other like an individual person. She's the technician and I'm the body parts. That's the way every doctor's office, and every bikini waxer's studio, is set up.

Neither of us gets off. Neither of us even thinks about it.
posted by KRS at 1:58 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

I worked in a salon that specilized in facials and waxing back in the day. As mentioned above, waxing is waxing to aestheticians. No one bats an eye. But if you are really wary, maybe don't go ahead with it. Even if everything is on the up and up, if you feel uncomfortable, it's not worth it.
posted by marimeko at 3:34 PM on December 23, 2009

My further hint of encouragement is this: take a tylenol two hours before. It makes a difference. Don't get in a hot tub that day or have sex within a few hours and you'll be fine... if you think that brazilian waxes are creepy, imagine some of the things a dental hygienist has to deal with and she's looking you straight in the eye when she's doing it, too.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 5:48 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

It helps me to think of my aesthetician as a type of doctor. There's a bright light and a magnifying glass which helps conjure up dentist visits, and the big padded chair/table thing covered with that sterile white exam table paper. Even the title, "aesthetician", is so hermetic and, well, doctor-y! Sure she has zen garden photos up and himilayian ambient trance playing but that just makes her a really hip doctor. It also helps that she doesn't break a sentence when delving right into the bajingo-area, and genuinely enjoys her job and clients. It might make you feel better to ask your waxer yourself why she does what she does. Everyone asks them, it's par for the course. Mine says that she most loves helping women (and many men!) feel good about themselves, improving their sex lives and generally helping Stella get her groove back. She is also really into the health and hygiene angle and that's her main interest (again, doctorly) and reason for encouraging it.

It is totally clinical, and yet totally ok to talk about how it affects you sexually if you want to! This makes the aestheticians' office is a really unique and relaxing space of confidentiality that you rarely get with any other professional. I hope you have a good first experience and love the results enough to make all the worrying worth it. Some tips -- take some baby wipes to freshen up in the bathroom first, pop an aspirin, and try to talk/yell/speak in tongues through it as much as you can, trust me they've heard it all. Also don't go if your period pops up, not because of the icky factor, but because you're more sensitive to pain then. Good luck!
posted by Juicy Avenger at 12:47 AM on December 24, 2009

I felt similarly concerned about feeling uncomfortable. And then that first patch of hair came off and I completely forgot about decorum. I screamed and writhed for the next 15 minutes. I felt bonded with the esthetician after that. She thought I was hilarious.
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 12:28 AM on February 1, 2010

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