They often compare the pain of being kicked in the balls to childbirth; but how does the pain of a chest wax fare? The last time I got a chest wax was back in Dublin. Since moving to Berlin I have embraced a less painful approach to manscaping—that is just occasionally shaving my chest with an electric razor. This is a relatively low-maintenance approach to not going full gorilla. I do it every two months or so just when I think the local zoo might grab me and throw me into the back of a van and tranquillize me.
'Oi monkey come here!'
'Sir, I am not a monkey.'
'Yes, you are. You escaped last year we know who you are.'
'This is a terrible mistake I just forgot to trim my chest this month.'
'Oh, really? In that case, we do apologise, have a nice day.'
I find that women either love or hate a hairy chest. But, I think in general it is nice to keep it groomed. There is a thin line between being a metrosexual - obsessed with every wayward hair - and a guy who just keeps himself human.
I remember the dread I felt sitting down in the beauty parlour in advance of my first chest wax. The only research I had performed was watching The 40 Year Old Virgin. You might remember the scene when Steve Carell gets his chest rug removed. He is in agony. It put me off trying it for years.
The reality is different
You enter the parlour and a very polite and friendly lady sits you down. She asks you to take off your t-shirt and you brace yourself for the worst. She then applies hot wax to patches and begins with the easy part—the shoulders. The shoulders are done quickly and painlessly, nothing worse than when you remove a plaster. This lulled me into a false sense of security. I have to say I got a bit cocky.
It get’s worse
As she moves gradually, patch by patch towards the chest the pain intensifies. She is on a roll though and like a juggernaut she doesn’t stop for a moment. I was trying my best to act like a tough guy. I used some old meditation techniques I learned and I put myself into a state of hypnosis. I was outside of my body floating towards the roof looking back down at my poor red body and its executioner.
'You OK love?'
'Ye, ye fine,' I responded.
'Are you crying?'
'No, no not at all, it’s just an allergy I have.'
'OK chicken, it’ll be over soon.'
The Dreaded Nipple
Now, this is going to hurt, she says. 'Ah OK, like it hasn’t been hurting since the start,' I thought to myself. I tried to breathe a deep breath in but before I had the chance I yelled and nearly leapt out my seat.
'You, OK? Can I get you a drink?' she asked.
'Yes please, that would be great,' I conceded. The tough guy mask had fallen. Left beneath was just the sensitive veneer of a man who was in a lot of pain.
'Don’t worry love, that was the worst part,' she reassured me.
She Was Lying
At this point you have a lot of adrenaline rushing through your veins and the endorphin's are soothing the pain, so that helps a bit, but the pain is still really bad. She quickly flies through the rest of the chest, and I get back into my trance. Hopefully, she won’t ask me any more questions and flies through the rest. Then she rips a large patch from my stomach. I let out a yelp. She thought this was funny. The noises that come out of your mouth when you undergo a chest wax are like no other. If you really want to discover the full range of noises you are capable of producing you should consider the pain of all man pains—the chest wax. Step aside leather football to the balls on a frosty Sunday morning and welcome to the modern man’s worst nightmare.
After getting home, I took a look in the mirror. I looked like a plucked chicken. My entire chest was bright luminous red. I had never seen it that colour. I was pretty worried that something might be wrong. And, I had optimistically organised a date that evening, which I had to cancel. After the chest went red, it had little spots—histamine reaction— which took a while to disappear.
Aftercare is Important
The girls at the parlour advised me that proper aftercare is really important, like not showering or exercising, and an experienced beauty therapist will advise you on what you need to do. I usually exercise every day and made the mistake of ignoring their advice. The golden rules for after the wax should definitely not be ignored.
- Avoid sunbathing for at least 12 hours. Not a problem in Ireland.
- No swimming in a chlorinated pool for at least 24-hours. The chemicals can really irritate your sensitive skin.
- Spas, baths, and saunas should all be avoided.
- Don’t apply any topical lotions for at least 12 hours (fragrances and lubricants).
Is Waxing Right for Me?
Waxing may not be the best choice for some men, for example, if you have a contagious skin condition, or if you suffer from severe eczema, have cuts or wounds, or generally sensitive skin. In terms of intimate waxing, you can’t do it if you have an STI. So it’s best to wait until you’ve been treated for that before booking your wax. Men with sensitive skin are probably better off just using an electric razor or wet shaving every now and again. But, it is something I think every man should do at least once in their life to experience a pain like no other.
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