â€œNow if you just roll onto your front and pull your cheeks apart, Iâ€™ll start on the back bit. â€œ Numbly obliging the consultantâ€™s demands, I did as I was asked and in doing so caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror: naked, lying on table in the middle of a salon in Londonâ€™s Soho, pulling my buttocks apart so a young lady could wax the most unholy of cracks. This, I glumly realised, was somewhat of a low point.
When I opened the 52 New Things project to suggestions from the great and good of the internet, I always knew that there would be a high risk of ending up doing something hideous and painful. Sure enough, within a few days of the site going live I had been bombarded with all manner of suggestions for hideous and painful new things. On hindsight I should have probably known that friends and colleagues would highjack the facility and repeatedly suggest I get a back, sack and crack wax, that most intimate of male hair removal. Although every instinct cried out otherwise, I decided to call their bluff and press ahead with the suggestion. After all, it really was a truly new thing.
One bluff called and an ill-advised internet search at work later, Iâ€™d tracked down the Soho Salon run by a nice chap called Fernando and was all booked in for the first weekend in July. My friend Scott, who by now was regretting both making the initial suggestion and subsequently agreeing to accompany me in a moment of pride-filled madness, paled visibly when I told him that his days of having a hairy undercarriage were numbered. I fully expected him to pull out.
With something like this, itâ€™s not only stigma attached to the process, itâ€™s the anticipation of the pain involved. Girls always scoff and say things like, â€œOh how can you be so weedy, we have to go through childbirthâ€ while staring triumphantly at our petrified faces. But seeing as most girls seem to be waxing from the age of about 10 these days, they canâ€™t possibly know the fear we feel at the thought of having the long, thick hairs pulled out of our precious testicles by their very roots.
The big day arrived and we made our way to Soho, having spent the previous night saying goodbye to each of my pubic hairs individually. I was feeling particularly nervous as I knew Iâ€™d be filming myself throughout the entire treatment (see video below), a job I would later come to regret. We arrived in Soho Square to find balloons, multi-coloured flags and pop-up bars being set up all over the place.
â€œMaybe they knew we were coming and wanted to make us feel specials,â€ said Scott. â€œOr,â€ I said, spying some policemen handing out free condoms and lube, â€œmaybe its Gay Pride today.â€ It turns out that, in a freakishly appropriate coincidence, Iâ€™d managed to book my debut back, sack and crack wax, which is so beloved by the gay community, on the same day as Londonâ€™s Gay Pride. In a funny way, it was actually wonderfully poetic….
We arrived at the salon and took our seats in the surprisingly calming waiting area. I was due to be waxed by Fernando himself (at his request, I might add), something I was a little unsure about. Iâ€™d thought about it a lot but I just couldnâ€™t work out what was worse â€“ having my most intimate areas waxed by a man, or having my most intimate areas waxed by a beautiful, young woman. Either option presented a whole host of issues and dilemmas, most of which you can guess and none of which Iâ€™ll go into here. In the end, the decision was made for us as Fernando was nowhere to be seen and we were duly led into our treatment rooms by two lovely Polish girls called Kasia and Carol.
I am not familiar with the process of sleeping with a prostitute, having always somehow managed to attract girls without needing to pay them. However as I stripped off in that tiny little room and draped a flannel-sized towel over groin, I began to get a vague impression of what it might be like â€“ cold, stark and deeply, deeply humiliating. Carol put me at ease by chatting about mudanities like where Iâ€™d come from and what the project was all about. Then, without warning and in one swift movement, sheâ€™d whipped off the towel and liberally applied talc to my groin area. She then started lifting, moving, parting, tugging and generally getting a good feel for the area in question (I warn you now itâ€™s going to get more and more difficult to describe the process without sounding like an innuendo-strewn British seaside postcard).
Having sized up the lay of the land (told you), she muttered a warning that she was about to apply some hot wax and â€œeet mite be a leetle otâ€. Scalding more like. Scalding, burning, molten wax, all over my right testicle and groin. I thought it was going to sink through my skin, into my body and onto the table below. But then, just when I was about to wipe the stuff off with my bare hands and throw it at the wall, it cooled dramatically and instantly. Carol began to test the tackiness, presumably judging when it was dry enough to remove. It felt a little bit like Iâ€™d been anaesthetised down there, with every prod and touch feeling distant and muffled. It was actually quite calming in a way and I began to relax slightly, the weird plinky plonky music distracting me from the pretty lady caressing Little Nick and the Brothers Grim. The serenity was broken with a quick headâ€™s up from Carol â€“ the wax was set and she was about to remove it. Was I ready? â€œWell, when you say ready, what exactly do you mean?â€ I said. â€œIf you mean ready for the……..â€ I didnâ€™t get any further. Sheâ€™d begun.
American novelist William Faulkner once said that given the choice between pain and nothing, he would choose pain. Sadly old Bill Faulkner lived in the early 1900s when wax was just used for candles and making moustaches look awesome. Had he been around long enough to experience solidified wax being ripped off one of his gonads he probably would have chosen the painless experience of nothing every time. It is hard to describe what itâ€™s like to have the hair ripped out of your balls by their very follicles. Every man has got it caught in his flies at some point or another â€“ so take that pain, remember it, double it, double it again, then times it by a billion and you are getting close to what it feels like to have your testicles waxed. The pain is unimaginable and utterly pure. It feels like your skin is coming off with the wax and your mind is utterly besotted with how to stop this gut-wrenching pain. And then, 3 or 4 seconds after it started, it disappears as quickly as it arrived, leaving nothing but a faint throbbing and one motherfucker of an adrenalin rush.
As Carol proudly displayed the results of the first wax (think furball in a pile of cat sick), I honestly contemplated giving up and going home with one bald testicle and the rest of my pride intact. But before I could make my excuses the sly woman had homed in on Mr Left and liberally applied round two. RIIIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPP. My virgin forest was razed to the ground by the imperialist hand of the waxer. I risked a glance down, wiping away the beads of sweat and tears as I did. Horrified, I realised that at this point I had an actual manzilian….
It took another couple of applications to fully level the area. At one point Carolâ€™s hand slipped, meaning it took her 4 whole attempts to rip the wax off. I have no shame in admitting that a little tear escaped at this point. I looked down and saw, with some satisfaction and immense relief that she appeared to be finished. The area was mostly clear and, although red in places, largely tidy. I lay back and waited for the command to turn over. Instead I felt Carol reach for Little Nick and apply what felt like a plaster to the entire length.
â€œAh,â€ I thought, â€œthis will be the cooling strip to alleviate some of the raw pain. How nice of Carol to do that without me even asking. Hang on, why is she removing it so quickly. Oh no, OH NO. PLEASE NO. SHEâ€™S WAXING MY KNOB.â€
After that, my spirit was broken. I numbly flipped over onto my front and, as requested, pulled my buttocks apart to allow this stranger to wax my butt crack. Humiliating doesnâ€™t even cover it. I felt used, shamed, alone. The sensation of wax against a part of me that had never seen the light of day was strange but surprisingly unpainful. Even the back waxing was bearable and, weirdly, slightly relaxing after the trauma of the front side.
After tidying up a few stragglers and applying some much needed lotion that under different circumstances would have been a hugely enjoyable experience, she left me to get dressed. I stood up and peeled the paper sheet from my sweaty back and took my first look at my newly-waxed body. It looked ridiculous. Hair covered my chest and met my snail trail until being abruptly cut off in a straight line with nothing but raw pink skin underneath. My balls looked strangely vulnerable without their protective layer of hair but, on one of the few upsides, Little Nick benefited from an extra inch or so without the dense brush of curlies at the base. Scant reward for having my sack and crack waxed though to be honest. However, to be fair, the pain had disappeared completely, replaced instead by a warm throbbing.
I met Scott outside and we gingerly walked to the nearest pub, slightly bow-legged and without looking each other in the eye. The sensation of walking along without any hair down there is bizarre â€“ everything feels a lot more……tender and apparent. And to be honest, it is not that unpleasant. Now that itâ€™s all over, itâ€™s actually a bit of a novelty although I have no idea why a heterosexual man would have the procedure done. A gay man, with all the intricacies being gay involves, that I can understand, but not a straight man. When Mrs New Things saw my new wax she laughed so hard tears came out. That says it all.
New Thing #25 â€“ The Back, Sack & Crack Wax. Done, and never forgotten.
With special thanks to Fernando and the team at the Soho Salon.