Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Cooter Pie

Doesn't that phrase just crack you up? Kinda like the idea of shaving all the hair off your vulva, right?

Or so I thought until I heard about the Brazilian wax.

Don't worry, I didn't just hear about the "killer B," though we in the midwest are admittedly late in catching on to national fads. I was reminded of this severe waxing over the weekend when I read an essay on the subject in the New York Times magazine. The author writes, "Pubic hair is out...this mossy covering is deemed no more than an aesthetic hindrance to the unfettered male gaze."

And the result? "As recently noted in an article in The Wall Street Journal, vaginal plastic surgery is one of the field's fastest growing sectors."

A bald, baby vulva isn't enough. Now it has to be sculpted. Sheesh.

This got me thinking. I have seen a few vulvas in my day, now that I've spent some hours at the business ends of birthing women. I don't remember a one. Vulva, that is. It's hard to explain unless you've witnessed birth yourself, but the focus, even though you're stairing down there, is on the baby's head or its absence. Surrounding terrain just doesn't register.

I can say with confidence, however, that all the women I've worked with so far have had hair between their legs. Not that I was consciously noting it at the time. But the sight of a bare mons and labia would be so shocking, I'm sure I'd not forget it. It would look so incongruously girly on a fertile, powerful woman.

Which makes me wonder if women who hire doulas are less likely to fuss over their pubic hair, or if my sample size is still too small (or too far from the standard deviation -- this is Ann Arbor after all) to mean anything.


Blogger Kristina said...

I think we've done about the same number of births (in the 20s), and I have only seen one bald vulva so far. It did take me by surprise (I can't help but continue to wonder- did she do it herself or did her DH do it? LOL)

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*ahem* I shave (though not the bush itself, so it's not an immature look so much as a topiary or poodle effect *g*), and have hired a midwife who runs her own independent birth center. I assume that when I can no longer view past the belly, the Mr. will keep up the gardening for me.

Hadn't occurred to me that it might be so surprising, overall.

7:30 PM  
Blogger I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

Since I caught the one babe and am sometimes requested by the mother and/or her partner to give a status report (which is often better than partner looking!) I have seen more than my fair share, too.

14 years: none bald, that I recall...and as you said, doulicia, I think I'd remember. Spending most of my time away from the laboring woman's lower half, however, I hadn't ever thought about it, as in what's more common. I'd say completely bikini-runway-model-Brazilian-waxed is uncommon, just in my experience.

And as much as I make the effort to remain at the laboring woman's head/shoulder area, it's almost inevitable (especially with an uninhibited woman) to see the babe born, even from up at the head of the bed.

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 38+5 weeks, and I do try to keep it clean down there (I can hack a lot off just by feel), but bald? Never.

It's a little perverse, isn't it, wanting to look like a pre-pubescent girl? I think it would freak out my DH.

10:22 PM  
Blogger doulicia said...

As possibly the world's hairiest woman, I admire the shavers in the world. I usually try it once a swimsuit season, to give the illusion that I don't grow hair beyond the range of coverage. Then I spend the next two weeks itchy and sore from ingrown hairs and swear off the whole business. Invariably this prompts my mother to survey me with disapproving eyes and say in a stage whisper, "You need to get that cleaned up."

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Shamhat said...

I'm in New York City and have worked labor and delivery both on the north end of Manhattan with women from the Dominican Republic and on the Upper East Side with women who schedule their sections between their hair appointment and their manicure. The Dominican women tend to get full Brazilians, and they must be waxing because they're in natural labor and thus couldn't have predicted the onset. The UES women don't.

10:04 AM  
Anonymous nurseknitty said...

Perhaps there tends to be more hair on women who are giving birth because after a certain point it becomes impossible to see down there.

Just a thought

10:24 AM  
Blogger I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

I wonder if those women who get the Brazilians have a higher tolerance for the pain, due to the waxing experience?

(Or do they wish they had an epidural for the waxing, too, and just suffer through it?)


2:57 PM  
Blogger doulicia said...

Maybe hospital L&D units could combine with salons to offer waxing during labor for women who have an epidural. You finish labor with a baby AND a styled groin area.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous Shamhat said...

Aw come on, they'd make me do it. It's bad enough that I have to shave them "a little off the top" for their sections--and our rate is pushing 40%.

8:47 PM  
Blogger wanderglow said...

My OB does lazer hair removal as well, but I've never taken him up on it. And I live in a smallish, conservative town. So even if you are pregnant, there are ways to be bald even when you can't get a razor past your belly.

I've done the bald thing, but sheesh - talk about the itching! Now I just use my hubby's goatee trimmer to get things in control but not bald. It's quick and works for me.

1:32 AM  
Blogger Dr. Deborah Serani said...

I have been told that the Brazilian is an almost complete waxing. The Sphynx waxes everything away. Everything. I don't get it actually, the need for it and all.


3:16 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

All I can think of is...ouch! No way!

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw Woopie Goldberg do a stand up on tv recently and she said she got one small portion of a wax and stopped at that.... very funny
in the last 3-4 years have seen more shaved women it is surprising - and I do have a negative bias about it- when my first was born the hospital shaved you and we were fighting that- and the irritation when growing back ......

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think i can shed a little light on this. i get the sphynx wax. but, i didn't even shave or trim with my previous partner. all i can tell you is about the difference in the sex i have/had with the two different people. namely, that with the previous person it was less...awake, exploratory...more...shall we say, boring. not for anything, but the women i know who are having children most likely either weren't having the most time-taking, wild sex in the world in order to get pregnant, and even if they did, that really slowed down once they were pregnant -- thus i would imagine the waxing would become a pretty secondary priority.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Waxing Expert said...

Ladies, there is an article with great home waxing tips. I found it very interesting and now recommend it to everybody to read.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was looking for a recipe for cooter pie

11:05 PM  
Blogger TsaphanBabe said...

I am so relieved to read that there are other women who think bald vulvas shouldn't be the norm. Or, rather, we shouldn't be expected... oh, you all know. I blogged about it a bunch. In particular I blogged about it today for International Women's Day. I'm trying to get the hash tage #baldvulvas going on Twitter so people might stop and think before they assume it's how it should be. Join me?

7:59 PM  

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