The first time I went to get my vagina waxed I’d been thinking about it for about 6 months. I’d read articles in favour of and totally against the practice. I’d heard a friend talking about how she got it done and why (softer hair, good sensation) and read a polemical attack on the practice which ended with words something like “every strip of wax is another blow against the fight for women’s rights”. And still, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I’ve had one or two of those occasions in life where I shaved, I’m sure everyone has at some point? No? Maybe it was just me. But the itching regrowth! Ingrown hairs! And I’ve also pouted polemic myself, thinking how weird is it that guys want pussy’s that look like little girls, that’s just nasty, smacks of paedophilia.

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But still, this sneaky idea of a Hollywood (the all off back to front as opposed to all the other shapes, patterns and extent of hair removal on offer) kept cropping up for me. Am I at the mercy of an idealised standard of women’s beauty? The dupe of a woman at the mercy of some man who prefers it this way? Too easily influenced? Unable to stand up for my own opinion? The questioning and arguments in my head were endless.

And in the end, I succumbed. I damaged the fight for the rights of women’s bodies, gave in to social pressure (which has never been directly exerted) and went off to the beauty salon and exposed my beautiful vagina to the eyes and hands of a stranger who was certainly no stranger by the time I left. I started joking about levels of embarrassment as soon as I walked in the door (a very effective coping mechanism). I started with my legs so I could work my way up to it (or get scared of the pain and opt out).

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And then she started. The first rrrrrrriiiiippp. F*CK it was painful. She quickly pressed her hand down, exerting pressure to help with the pain. Deforestation commenced. Because it was my first time, it took WAY long, and the same spot needed to be waxed over and over. My poor skin being exposed rip by agonising rip. In between the waxer would be casually patting my vag like an old pet while we were skinnering to check if the wax was set. Then she’d rrrrriiiiipp and ask ‘are you okay?’. A long breath in and a conscious relax to deal with the pain and I would say ‘okay’. I flinched more than once. Cried out at least twice. And yet, I never stopped it.

And that night my hopefully imagined smooth skin encounter with my lover was out of the question, I was so sore; it felt like one big bruise.

The smooth satin finish I thought would be there, the next day was a morass of red angry bumps, two days later morphed into red ugly bumps with yellow heads in a morass of pimples, and ongoing discomfort.

But I still haven’t given up on the idea, maybe next time it will be better….