There are many ways we avoid looking like jungle men or cave men. One of these ways is hair removal. I don’t think our ancestors cared about hair removal. Or did they? If any one of you has a 200 year old relative, please ask. There are many ways to remove hair, threading, tweezing, laser, good old shaving and WAXING. I am a girl who likes looking and feeling good. This often involves hair removal from places I don’t want it. This is my choice. Don’t tell me about how fur keeps me warm or absorbs sweat or whatever biology you learnt in high school. I have known about waxing all my life but it’s not something I ever considered either because I was penny pinching, scared or I was just comfortable with shaving. We have perfected the inventions of our ancestors its mind boggling.

I had accompanied a friend to her usual hair removal routine. It’s a thing women do regularly and she listed the benefits of waxing. Here are some of them:

  • It lasts longer than shaving because it pulls the hair from the roots.
  • No cuts or nicks that can leave you with scars, especially if you are like me that has skin susceptible to discoloration even for a minor cut.
  • Shaving can cause rashes on sensitive skin.
  • For many, waxing makes the hair grow slower and finer .
  • Waxing produces smoother results because hair is pulled from the root.
  • Shaving can result to stubbles.   If you don’t shave often enough, your legs will feel rough and abrasive.
  • Waxing will make your skin feel smoother longer without feeling itchy, because of slower hair regrowth.
  • Contrary to popular belief, waxing is not always painful. If you do it right, it is almost pain-free.
  • Waxing is fast and convenient
  • Skin is less susceptible to irritations associated with shaving.

So sometime last week, I decided to discover the places in Nairobi where women have their hair removed. I went to my usual salon where I do my eyebrows and looked at the cost.I called a friend to ask where she does her waxing. In the end, I found an adorable woman in Imenti house (it had to be) on Tom Mboya street to do the did. Her waxing parlor has no name. It’s just labeled threading and waxing available. It was the first time so of course I had to research well. So, I went to wax my armpits you know you have to start small right. I told her I needed to wax the hairs off my armpits because you know usafi, sweat and new things. I also was tired of shaving, hair grows too fast. She has this bed that looked like a theatre bed and she asks you to remove your top and lay on it. If you have a vest like I did the better for you as your armpits can be waxed without your boobs having a conversation with Mellie, that’s her name. All you have to do is lay on it and lift your arms over your head. One after the other. I was scared shitless and I told her. She casually said unless you have tried something don’t trust people’s opinions. Where has she been all my life with these words of wisdom?

She warmed the wax and applied it on me. Oh sorry on my underarms. Strip, strip, strip! I was done in less than ten minutes for both armpits. I did not feel any pain. Boy was I thrilled I paid her ksh 100 with a promise that I would be back for a bikini wax. Before I left she asked to see my nether regions so that she can advise on how long I should let the hairs grow. I looked at her as if I did not hear her and she repeated. So I told her when I last shaved but she insisted since hair grows at different rates, she needed to see to advice accordingly. I figured if I have to wax down there I would need sufficient grace to even remove my knickers. Of course I remove my knickers when showering, changing clothes and other occasions that you would like to let your imagination run wild on. Let’s not discuss how and where I get naked, good it was beginning to get awkward. Yes I showed her my nether regions in case you are still wondering.

So on Wednesday morning I woke up went about my business and I knew in the middle of my day somewhere I would have to visit Mellie. You know how when hair is growing it starts getting itchy all the time and its annoying? I was too tired of the itchy phase. Also my last experience was so pleasant I was almost looking forward to hanging out with Millie except for where I have to get naked for her. Now after my many errands in town today I decided to say hello.

As I walked into Mellie’s place I was wondering how liberated from shaving I will be and how amazing I would feel afterwards. She had stepped out kidogo so I waited. When she came back she led me to the tiny bed. This time lined with a clean towel and just next to the bed was a tiny chair where I could place my belongings. She asked me to get naked and walked out. I would say change but I was not changing into anything. When I removed my pants, leggings and panties a cold breeze blew on my bum and I was wondering if I was making the right decision. Of all my twenty something years was this the right time to wax my kiria?

I am not a quitter so I lay on the stretcher lined with a clean towel and waited. I did not call her. If she was waiting I do not know but she took her time. I was not in a hurry to show her my kiria. She walked in like we were buddies and we walk around the house naked with our boobs switching right and left as we pass each other. I lay on that bed with my hands on my crouch like she would take it away. I was so embarrassed. She could see. She told me not to be embarrassed. It did not help. I bet she tells this to every newbie. If I was Caucasian, the whole of my body would have turned pink. Thank God for the chocolate goodness that is my skin.

She asked me to move my hands and looked at my birth area. She could not shut up but I could not hear whatever she was saying. I was still embarrassed. It looked as if she was in a jungle and was looking for a way to get her to a camp site or some accommodation. I quickly told her she should consider a career in gynecology or nursing. After she was done I made as if to return my hand on my nether regions and she said, “nimezoea hizi vitu, unafikiria nimeona watu wangapi in my four years?” The speed with which I removed my hand you would think a bee had stung them. So I got comfortable.

She applied warm wax on my whatever. I felt relaxed since it was a bit chilly and the wax was warm. Then she said it’s going to be a bit painful but it will go away in a second when your skin relaxes. My eyes nearly popped off. Before I could ask how painful, rip, rip, rip and she was showing me the hairs stuck on the wax. She kept talking and talking. She told me of how Jamaicans have so much hair and how a lady brought her thirty something year old daughter to wax and they sat chatting with her and she had her business done. She even told me of how she would introduce her daughter to waxing when she gets of age.

Going down further south she asked me to spread my legs. I asked her, “You mean you wax even down there?” She said, “It’s called a bikini wax for a reason you know.” I slowly moved my legs apart for her to do her thing. I felt dead as my legs were dangling from the bed. I’m so sorry for the mental images you are having right now. She then asked me to arrange my things or is it hold them? She used a different phrase but I suddenly wondered is that not a term reserved for men alone. Rip, rip, rip in a second she was done and moved to the other side. She asked me to lift my leg up and hold my things with the other hand. I have never been so obedient in my life. Whenever she finished waxing a strip she would blow soothingly on my skin. Her mouth came so close to my kiria so many times I even felt normal for a few minutes. When she was done she cleaned me up with surgical spirit and powdered me like she had just changed a baby’s diaper. She told me stories of how she has waxed women with hair on the hands, legs, chest, back including all other areas.

When she was done I imagined my mother waxing my kiria and I just could not see how that would work out. The most she has seen of me as an adult is me in my swim wear, in a photograph. So hii maneno ya her waxing her daughter it’s still traumatizing. I will go back just so you know mainly because I don’t want every waxing person in Nairobi to know me.When I walked out of her parlor I thought the whole of Nairobi knew I had just gotten a bikini wax. Then I remembered it’s the same feeling I get when I visit my gynecologist.

For the pain, it lasts for maybe two seconds.