Monday, August 16, 2010

Valley Haggard's Brazilian Experience

Valley Haggard is the wonderful woman with whom I'm doing the Collaborative show in Ashland in February.  Right before she came to model for me the second time a couple of weeks ago, she had gotten a Brazilian - don't know what that is?  Read on!

The Heartbreaker

Seeing myself differently, or how to wax poetic.
By Valley Haggard

Ever since my husband and I went to see “The Vagina Monologues” on Valentine’s Day in 2001, I swore I would never, ever shave Down There. I barely shave my legs past the knees and only recently have I started shaving my armpits in any season other than summer. But approaching my 35th
birthday, I feel it is time to find a rite of passage for my entry into this new stage of womanhood.

One of my best friends flew to Africa for her 35th, another to Paris. Me? I book a Brazilian.  To be honest, I don’t know precisely what a Brazilian Heartbreaker is when I call Bombshell Brazilian
Waxing and Skincare Studio in Carytown to schedule my appointment, but when the owner, Melissa Bryant, advises me to take four ibuprofen before I come in, I start to get a clearer picture.

“I’m not interested in money, I just want to be wonderful,” proclaims Marilyn Monroe from the wall of the adorable, spotless salon where everything is either pink, black or leopard print. Melissa greets me, nodding with empathy as I explain how terrified and excited I am. The former general manager of Nesbit’s Salon, Melissa opened Bombshell in February, offering tanning, hair and nail work, makeup and all manner of waxing. She has spent many years making women wonderful.

As I make myself comfortable on her table, inspecting various bottles of ointment, tweezers and a huge vat of hot green wax, Melissa turns down Frank Sinatra on the phonograph and explains the process. “First,” she says, “you’re going to do the frog.” There are, I discover, several other yoga positions I will find myself in over the course of the next hour, including the pretzel and a modified happy baby. Totally exposed from the waist down, I bend my legs into V’s as Melissa slathers me with a healthy dose of lotion and lidocaine numbing spray. “I call this greasing the pan,” she laughs, before trimming me with an electric razor. I imagine that I am about to mow the lawn with a sickle on the hottest day of the year, and a tiny bead of sweat forms on my brow.

But the wax is hot in a pleasant way and although I brace every muscle in my body for the first pull, the pain is surprisingly mild. I thank my lucky stars, because in order to complete the job, Melissa must revisit my most delicate regions with this wax and yank process a few dozen more times. Her upbeat, professional bedside manner could school more than a few gynecologists, I think, shocked to find myself yammering away as if I were wearing pants, in a coffee shop somewhere.

“I am so OCD,” says Melissa, fastidiously cleaning me up with a razor and tweezers, fashioning
a perfect heart out of heretofore raw materials, coating the final product in baby powder and tea tree oil. “This is Bactine for your hoo-ha,” she explains, admiring her handiwork. And I must say, for a girl like me, the results are both pretty and pretty shocking. “I kicked ass!” I tell Melissa and she agrees. After this, I could do most anything.

She sends me out the door with congratulations and a care package: detailed maintenance instructions, an exfoliating glove and a blow pop. As I walk to the car I feel triumphant with my secret. There’s a fine line between a skinned cat and a fresh peach, but who’s splitting hairs?

Reprinted with permission by the author.  Original article can be found at's writing will be combined with my paintings in our collaborative show at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, VA, in Feburary 2011.  More details to follow as the time gets closer!

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