I don’t typically think of myself as a prude. I mean I’ve done my fair share of skinny dipping.
And in 2001, I spent three weeks in the south of France where the bottoms of my bikini slowly faded color whilst the top remained pristine and untouched by the sun, safely tucked away in my beach bag.
During that same trip to Cap d’Antibes, I developed a terrible bladder infection. Having just spent the month of August in Egypt, my body was confused about how much water I needed. In case it’s not obvious, August in Egypt is one hot experience, and I’d spent an entire month focused on hydration and sweating. My body became accustomed to a particular heat index factor. So when I left the 39°C (102°F, for you Americans) weather and hit the breezy balmy Provence climate, I stopped drinking water. Not intentionally, just my body didn’t crave or ask for the substance and I was too distracted to actively pursue it. Hence the terrible bladder infection.
The French Doctor Fine Line:
“She was waiting for me to get naked and hop up on that table, stirrups and all.”
We managed to get an early-morning appointment with a local doctor. Her practice consisted of a single room, in which she had a sizable executive desk, filing cabinets, various other office-type items, as well as her examining table, complete with stirrups.
She sat at her desk as my then-husband and I explained my symptoms. She concurred that it sounded like a bladder infection but she wanted to examine me to rule out anything else. Seemed fair enough. And here’s where it got weird – at least for me and my North American sensibilities.
She stood up and walked across the open room to the examination table. We followed. She then paused and silently looked at me. It took me a few seconds before it hit me. She was waiting for me to get naked and hop up on that table, stirrups and all.
It didn’t take long for my husband to register what was being asked of me. He quickly and with a slight blush to his face informed the doctor that he’d be waiting outside. Apparently, a fine line of some kind had been crossed for him as well.
Yes, my husband saw me naked all the time. But the notion of disrobing in front of both of them simultaneously was too much for my puritanical American upbringing. Hadn’t I seen that “French Doctor’s Visit” title in the porn section of my video store in the 90s? After my husband escaped from the room, I did what she expected and dropped trou — and everything else.
“Then, a couple of weeks ago, I discovered a whole other fine line situation.”
I have spent the last 23 or so years thinking that I was pretty laid back and feeling particularly smug about how calmly I had handled that awkward French doctor’s visit. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I discovered a whole other fine line situation.
Prior to leaving Vietnam in early March, I made a slew of Build-a-Woman appointments. Building a woman is what I call the lineup of mani/pedi, eyebrows, eyelashes, hair color, and waxing. At the risk of over-sharing, I do Brazilian waxes. After a full month in southeast Asia, I was headed to the Caribbean with my boyfriend and wanted to do some self-care.
Normally, I do my own waxing. I began years ago in an interest to save money and now it’s just the norm. Not having access to any of my products, I opted to make an appointment at a salon instead. It didn’t hurt that Vietnam pricing is three to four fold better than in the U.S.
Build A Woman Day:
“I want to share that I am not a novice purchaser of waxing services. Still, this experience was way out of anything I’ve ever experienced before.”
Lining up all those appointments, back to back, took a full day. The salon picked the order of the services and ushered me from room to room, from esthetician to esthetician. For whatever reason, they left the Brazilian wax for the end. One would think to do that first, right? Why not get the pain and sting part of the day over with quickly? For whatever reason, this salon scheduled it for the end of the visit. Maybe it’s because they knew how embarrassed, slightly violated, and shy I was going to feel afterwards.
Yes I do my own waxing now, but that wasn’t always the case. For years I had a girl. I bring this up because I want to share that I am not a novice purchaser of waxing services. Still, this experience was way out of anything I’ve ever experienced before.
It started off normal enough, as normal as it can be to have a complete stranger apply hot wax to one’s very sensitive private parts and then yank it off one’s tender skin. Within five minutes, it started to get weird – for me. My esthetician was clearly a perfectionist or maybe she thought I was a stripper and needed a certain caliber of hairlessness to ensure my livelihood. Anyone who has ever waxed anything knows that sometimes errant little hairs don’t get snapped away immediately or easily. At home I typically ignore those, opting to get them the next time. This woman had no next time in mind.
A New Fine Line In The Making:
“All the while, visions of my French doctor’s threesome flashed through my mind”
The level of scrutiny and extra waxing, plucking, etc., began to make me incredibly self-conscious. There seemed to be a great deal more touching and rubbing than I ever remembered before. To the point that there was an actual moment where I slyly opened one eye, making sure to not make eye contact with the vulva examiner, to ensure that I was not a supporting actor in a porn movie. I struggled in my mind, conflicted with my uneasy reaction to the unfamiliar manipulations and the notion of cultural differences. It was clear to me her intention was to do her one job – and nothing else. So, why was I embarrassed?
A few times I thought to myself, “Oh, just tell her you’re ok and we can be done.” But for whatever reason, I chose to keep silent, opting to test that fine line between her physical interactions and my unease. Instead, I counted out seconds in my head to distract me from the audit of my nether regions. All the while, visions of my French doctor’s threesome flashed through my mind – as I longed to go back to that Victorian, by comparison, moment.
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