DeAnne Smith Waxes On

Hi. It’s been a while, Autostrudel¹! How have you been? Me, I’ve been busy getting a new show together, traveling to the other side of the planet, and paying a young woman to smear hot wax on body with wooden sticks, ripping my hair out by the roots while she talks about Elvis. You know, the usual.

Hey, before you get all excited, it was just the legs, okay? I’m not even going to talk about the other kind of waxing, especially now that my mom knows how to Google (Hi, Mom!). Out of respect to my mom, who could very well be reading this article right now (Hi, Mom!), I’m not even going to tell you how I feel about the other kind of waxing. (What kind? I don’t even know what they’re talking about! Hi, Mom!) I will say, however, that while I have never moved to Brazil, I do enjoy visiting that fine country. Heh? Yeah? Please indicate with a knowingly raised eyebrow (unless you’re my Mom. Hi, Mom!) that you know what I mean².

If you are my Mom, please enjoy this wholesome picture of a quilt:

I have to say, the waxing thing is still a little weird for me. I’m not the type of person who unthinkingly subscribes to the Western cultural fetish for hairlessness, especially as it applies to artificially recreated prepubescence. I am the type of person, however, who, in her twenties, not only uttered that exact sentence aloud, but who uttered it aloud while naked with pretty girls. That’s right, ladies! Do you like achingly earnest psuedo-intellectualism coupled with a serious amount of body hair? Then I’m your gal! Not only am I hirsute, but I can use it in a sentence. I just did. Check that out. Aww yeah. Raise yo’ hands in the air like you just don’t care!

I would like to take a moment, if I could, to formally apologize to any of the girls I slept with in my twenties. I know I was annoyingly over-politicized. And to Jodie in particular, I’m sorry you had to know me in my serious vegan years, when I would passionately argue that a chicken’s life is as valuable as a human baby’s. To girls I slept with in my twenties, I’m sorry. (Also, you’re welcome. Because let’s be honest, that was a drunken and flexible decade.)

I would like to take another moment, if I could, to formally apologize to my Mom (Hi, Mom!), who’s presumably still reading this. I’m sorry you had to read about all the hot girls I had sex with in my twenties. (Also, you’re welcome.)

And I would like to take yet another moment, if I could, to formally apologize to anyone I have ever had to apologize to. I find it really difficult to apologize without implying that, whatever my transgression, you should probably be grateful to me for something else. So, I’m sorry. And you’re welcome.

Back to waxing!

I figured I’d go all out and get my wax on, since I’ve recently transported to Australian summer from Canadian winter and I have no need for the ol’ protective leg coat. Sure, I could shave, but why do for myself what I could pay a stranger to do for me while they watch me cry? That’s my motto when it comes to leg hair, and that’s my motto when it comes to therapy. Either way, I just lie back on that little clinical couch and get into it. “Come on! Rip it out! I like it when it hurts! More wax!” (At the moment, I can only afford subsidized community therapy. But they assure me it’s just like regular therapy. We do all the usual stuff, like talk therapy and wax treatments. And you can hardly even feel the leeches.)

This probably comes as no surprise to those of you who are waxing pros, but there were two things about the experience that I was thoroughly unprepared for. One, the pain. Two, the intimacy. I know I should have anticipated both of those things, but they caught me off guard and left me somewhat unsettled. It was much like how I feel listening to Jennifer Aniston talk about her love life. Ah. Okay. Too much pain. Too much intimacy. Make it stop. Can somebody make it stop? This doesn’t feel good.

I’m sure that those of you who have moved to Brazil (wink, wink) aren’t interested in hearing about what I think was painful, so I won’t go on about it. I’ll just say that on a scale of “ouch” to “holy fuck why fuck why,” the pain was somewhere between getting a tattoo on a fleshy body part and learning that there is no Santa Claus.

And I didn’t realize how intimate it would feel having someone use a tiny stick to smear a tiny bit of wax on the tiny top of my tiny toe and rip out the tiny little hairs there. I didn’t even know I HAD toe hairs until this stranger removed them. Could there be a more profound shared human experience? This stranger, this beautiful creature, this angel, she looked at me and she saw me in a way that I don’t even see myself. It’s as if she gazed deep into the most guarded secrets of my eternal soul and whispered, “Hello, you. I know your toes sprout hair and I accept that. We’re all on this universal journey together. Namaste.” Riiiiiiiiiiiiiip! According to some cultures, we’re married now.

I’ve joined the ranks of the freshly waxed. And it’s pretty awesome. I feel sexy. I mean, yeah, my eyes are swollen from crying, my fingers are cramped from involuntary clenching, and I have painful red blotches on my legs that make me look like I’m having an allergic reaction to my own self. Mmm. Seductive.

¹ This is how I refer to Autostraddle in my head. It’s a pet name that also puts me in mind of deliciously gooey breakfast treats. I think we all win.

² Please tell me you know what I mean. Don’t make me say any more than I already have. Seriously, my Mom Googles me, like, every week now and it freaks me out. The internet is riddled with Mom-unfriendly things I have written, said, or posed in photographs next to and I certainly don’t need to have it on record that I appreciate and enjoy when my potential sexual partners remove hair from their genital regions. Those types of things are best left to clever innuendo, i.e. the above example in which I mentioned Brazil. It would be unnecessarily crude for me to actually type out in easily understandable English words that I appreciate and enjoy when my potential sexual partners remove hair from their genital regions. I refuse to do that.

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I care a lot about my hair. Unrelatedly, I say short, funny things at

DeAnne has written 22 articles for us.


  1. I haven’t shaved my legs since December.
    Feel that? That is not giving a crap that the pink tights I have to wear to dance show if not flaunt my leg hair.
    Could also be a tick idk.

    • I -just- shaved mine for a performance, because I couldn’t hide them in pink tights. >.< My winter warmth coat is goneeeeeeeeee.

      • Yeah, pink tights show no mercy. Leotards don’t either, but if you’re a semi-normal lez/dancer, you know to keep it in control downstairs or wear a skirt.

  2. Welcome to down under! Unfortunately what you’re feeling now is officially autumn, not summer, despite appearances. Is there any chance you will be doing a show in Brisbane? We have really cool ferries which go up and down the river and which the tourists like to ride on. We also have a fake eiffel tower which straddles an Italian restaurant.

      zomg that eiffel tower on italian restaurant makes me laugh.

  3. I can’t remember when I last shaved my legs. Probably some time in the fall. I never wear skirts, and I hate the feeling of unshaven legs against jeans in cold weather. I’m also really fucking lazy.

  4. I had my legs waxed the other week by a woman that sounded like that Consuela woman from family guy.
    Its was really weird…I half expected to tell me she needed more lemon pledge.

  5. I was just thinking, the other day, “I wonder when DeAnne Smith is going to put something funny on Autostraddle again.”
    Very timely Autostraddle. Sometimes it creeps me out when you’re mind-reading like that.

  6. I haven’t shaved my legs in over a year. I feel vaguely proud of this. To be fair, my leg hairs are baby fine blonde hairs that are nearly invisible to the naked eye. I love that no one notices them. It’s like being an invisible rebel.

  7. I am usually hirsute due to apathy, nine months out of the year. During the other three, it’s too cold to sleep naked…even under four quilts, so I figure why bother? :D

  8. But why don’t people use hair removal cream, like seriously?? Cosmogirl so imprinted it on my 14 y/o self that I COULD NOT shave THERE, I must get it waxed if at all that I fucking PLUCKED my bikini line one summer when I knew pools were on the holiday agenda. But seriously, why don’t people ever mention hair removal cream?

    (PS I used to be in the no-hair-is-abit-weird camp, but once accidentally took it all off, and you guys, my bits are actually pretty when you can see them)

    [yeah, I went there with the username]

    • But read the instructions first. If the cream says it can only be used on the legs, don’t spread it willy-nilly on more delicate areas.

      Horrifying experience.

      • yes i made that mistake and used hair removal cream in a delicate area and IT WAS SO BAD that thought i had an STD and went to a male (MALE!) gynecologist because it was the only same-day appt i could get –THAT’S HOW BAD IT WAS.


      • I don’t know, mine (Veet, in the UK) says something like armpits, legs and bikini line and it’s all been okay.

        But yes, I guess be careful!

    • Hair removal cream is so horrid. I used Nair in high school for facial areas before I just got that shit eliminated permanently. There is something really creepy about a cream that smells like farts and burns your skin until your hairs fall out.

    • Oh Gods, how I *wish* hair removal cream worked for me! It does nothing, though. And I mean absolutely nothing. It doesn’t even soften the hairs. I have titanium reinforced body hair, apparently. And I have LOTS of it, due to a combination of German and Jewish ancestry and a slight hormonal imbalance and it drives me CRAZY! I have to shave and pluck everywhere. If I had money, I’d wax. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about having been programmed by our society to dislike my natural body hair, but then I think of the dozens of ways I go against society in other areas of my life and say “Fuck it” and bust out my razor.

  9. (just to clarify, that’s: why are people always wax, shave or leave it. Not: you have to do whatever. Realised it might read that I was responding to the other comments.)

  10. Wow, um, OK… you know how when someone has a baby and you say, “Congrats on making it through that pain and stuff, but why didn’t you just adopt your baby?” (what? no one else says that?) I need to say something similar to you: Congrats on making it through that pain and stuff, but didn’t you just shave? Waxing is not normal. It hurts like hell and it pulls the hair out so, I assume, growing back is a biatch.

    I’ll be honest and say I can’t understand people who don’t just shave certain things. Armpit hair is a little sponge hanging onto smelliness, dude. And an untrimmed, unmanicured bush is nasty and it makes it seem like you don’t shower. Just being honest — I think most people would see that and react similarly. Shaving is just super easy to do. All you need is water (be in the shower) and some bar soap (Dove is best) and it takes like 5 seconds. (Don’t take only 5 seconds with a brand new razor. Go slow and be careful. After a while it will dull a bit and I seriously can keep the same razor for months.)

      • Hah! To each their own. There are enough muffins for all of us! I just never personally understood the reasoning though. I know someone women feel it’s a statement about, um, rejecting societal burdens placed upon women or something. I’m not entirely sure, actually. I feel like there may be legitimate reasons, but I’ve never been exposed to them. I just see it plain and simply a hygiene thing; no deeper than that. I think men should shave their armpits too — and some do! If people are waxing, then I think for convenience they would rather not bother, but like I said, shaving takes all of 5 seconds to do. Oh, and my legs totes are a little forest in winter when it’s all pants, all the time. Leg hair is pretty benign and, like, it’s a leg. Who cares?

        • Your bush is actually there to protect your vulva and vagina. Some of us keep it for that reason. Some of us keep it because we’re lazy fucks. Some of us keep it because our girlfriends like it. Saying it makes women look like they don’t shower is awfully judgey.

    • no waxing is BETTER in terms of growing out, imo, b/c a new soft hair grows instead of blunt stubble. i usually don’t do anything to my leg hair but every couple of years i get the urge or have to swim in front of my grandma or something, and i get diy waxing kits from the drugstore, and it takes forever and is ridiculous but i like the results.

      • anyone else out there use an epilator? the idea of someone waxing my bits and pieces is weird (but yes, i know, it’s just a job like anything else). the epilator gadget is like a big rotary tweezer. it hurts, but kind of in a good way. and for the shaggy-leg months, it makes the growth less intense.

        my $0.02.

    • Most dudes don’t shave their pits though and no one seems to kick up a fuss about hygiene and smell! Although I get that maybe you think they should But if a person is showering daily and wearing deodorant / perfume I don’t see where the issue is.

      Also, I think it’s hard to say that one hair removal method is better. It really depends on hair type and also skin type. For instance you talked about bar soap and shaving, I have a skin condition that means I need to use non-soap skin cleaners, and shaving sensitive areas frequently would just make my skin flake off. Other people find that shaving is annoying because they have to do it everyday. Other people don’t. I think it’s whatever works for you and anyone you’re naked with really.

  11. Nothin’ is better than a lady who don’t shave her pits. Just sayin’. I only got an account on Autostraddle to compliment Deanne. I always laugh reading her posts.

    I kinda have a problem with shaving. As soon as I’m dating someone I’ll shave; when I’m out of a relationship, I’ll throw razors out the window. I don’t want to appear unkempt for the laydehs.

  12. Call me a gross-er or whatever: I dig chicks with hairy pits. Seriously, not in the semi-horrifying fetish way (Hi DeAnne’s mom!) but in the “Oh, you’re wearing a tank-top and lifting your arms up (to reach for the “insert gay something here”) and by god it’s hairy! My feminist senses are tingling!” A woman with values (and who’s all nbd about something so unaccepted) is a certified hottie in my book.

  13. I’ve never been a fan of hair, and when I dated dudes, I liked the bald ones… but the last girl I quasi hooked up with had lots of hair •everywhere• and I loved every single one of her hairs and thought she was the hottest ever, in the history of hairy ladies and bald ladies. But me, personally I like the way Brazil feels on ME, so that’s how I roll, and I do it with the wax because the grow back is better (way) and it lasts way longer so even if shaving takes just 5 minutes, it’s like 5 minutes every day, per part – no waxing takes maybe 20 minutes, but I don’t even go there again for a month.

  14. I’m one of those annoying 20somethings that doesn’t believe in shaving (or waxing, etc). I’m pretty sure it has something to do with laziness. Who can be bothered?

    I saw your preview show at RR last week and I assure you that you are far too funny for anyone to care about the state of the hair on your legs (aside from your waxing-wife, of course). So yeah, thanks for coming to Adelaide! It totally made my Tuesday. :)

  15. “I’ll just say that on a scale of “ouch” to “holy fuck why fuck why,” the pain was somewhere between getting a tattoo on a fleshy body part and learning that there is no Santa Claus.”

    Hahahaha. This article was perfect.

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