Auntie SparkNotes: How Can I Convince My Parents To Let Me Wax?
I know you've answered your fair share of questions about body hair and parent issues, so I'd like to be the one to put them together for you!
I'm a semi-professional dancer who is still in high school (not 18 yet), and body hair has to go. It's standard. I've been shaving any pubic hair that could show outside of a leotard for years, but it's terrible. The hair has gotten thicker and more far spread over the past year or so. I end up with red rashyness and bumps, which I have to cover with body makeup when not wearing dark tights (which stains your tights and is gross.)
I recently brought up the topic of waxing with my parents, even though I know how they feel about it. It's "over sexualizing" children and teens, according to them. I've tried pointing out that armpit hair grows at puberty as well, and yet for some reason, that is acceptable to wax. And I'm getting rid of the hair, I can't figure out why it should matter how. I can't have this done in my area without a parent or legal guardian to sign for me, and I tried my best to present my case a mature manner, including for paying for everything myself (I'd like to get it done somewhere the first few times, and might eventually be okay with doing it myself, if that's not too hard). I understand that pubic hair can be a good indicator of your growth and development, but I spoke to a friend of the family who is a pediatrician, and even she said that if shaving is giving me this much trouble and I have to get rid of it for practical reasons, that waxing may be the best option.
Auntie, I need your help figuring out how to talk to my parents in a way that they can understand the hassle and discomfort I'll be stuck with for the next three years if they're adamant about no bikini waxing. I'd be so thankful for any and all suggestions.
And you'll have suggestions, Sparkler—lots of 'em! Including, of course, an outline of the best way to talk to your parents. But before you get too excited, a word of warning: you can present the most reasonable, rational, logically-stated argument in the world for getting your way, and it still may not sway them in the direction of the nearest waxing parlor. And that's because their argument against it is, not to put too fine a point on it, completely bizarre. I mean, yes, as a culture, we're all peculiarly phobic about women's body hair—and yes, for some women, there's a direct correlation between getting waxed at the salon and getting busy in the bedroom. But even the most cautious parent should be able to recognize the difference between hair removal as a prelude to sexual activity... and getting waxed because you don't want your short'n'curlies distracting people from the effect of your perfectly-executed fouette.
So, with the caveat that I don't know how effective it'll be, here's how you talk to your parents. (Hey, you might as well try.)
To begin with, try making it parent, not parents—whichever one you feel will be more sympathetic. A one-on-one conversation means half the work for you, and it can be better for your folks, too; most parents will be more open-minded without the pressure of having to present a united front with their spouse (which is good for a marriage, but not so conducive to an open exchange of ideas.)
And then, open with empathy. Make it clear that you appreciate why they feel the way they do, even if you don't agree with it.
Ex: "I understand that you think waxing is a grownup thing, and I know a lot of people do conflate hair removal with having sex. So when you say that waxing contributes to the early sexualization of teens, I can appreciate why you feel that way."
And then, having showed that you get their side of the argument, present yours.
Ex: "But I'm not asking to have my bikini line waxed because I think it's sexy. I'm not ashamed of my pubic hair, and if I weren't dancing, I wouldn't bother to groom it at all. But in order to look appropriate during class and performances, I need to remove any hair that can be seen when I'm wearing a leotard. It's just a question of looking kempt. And since the hair is coming off either way, and since shaving it is a nuisance and incredibly irritating to my skin, I would like your permission to have it waxed."
And if they still say no, then ask them—calmly, and without losing your cool—to at least tell you why they're still uncomfortable with it. If you're going to be denied the world's most reasonable request, then you deserve an explanation at the very least. (And if your physician family friend is close to your parents, then you might follow up by asking her to weigh in with her own, professional opinion that waxing is not, in fact, a gateway to a life of prostitution.)
And I really, really hope that works. But if it doesn't, then allow me to suggest Plan B: buying a bottle of Nair at your local CVS, and introducing your poor, scorched nether-bits to the wonderful world of depilatory creams.
And if things are still getting chafed and irritated, here are two magic words from my own ballet instructor back in the day: baby powder. Apply liberally. You're welcome.
Any ballet dancers out there with shaving-related horror stories? Any advice for our Sparkler on soothing her angry bumps? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.