Please allow me to introduce myself, LeXXX, ShanghaiSquared’s new under-the-covers correspondent, dedicated to bringing you all the latest news from the beat beneath the sheets. For our first time we’re going to be gentle and start with an only tangentially sex related topic: waxing.
For the westerner at home, waxing has become a matter of course. Since the modern bikini was introduced by the French in 1946, the once scandalous barely-there apparel has become ubiquitous on beaches the world over. To cope, women first began getting waxes to remove any potentially embarrassing hair along the bikini line, but the most recent generations have taken matters quite a bit further, inventing and popularizing all sorts of wax styles: American, French, Landing strip, Brazilian, Californian, Playboy, Hollywood, the list goes on and on.
But why get waxed?
Us girls get waxes for the same reason we put on make-up, do our hair and wear nice clothes: to feel attractive and self-assured, regardless of how many people, if anyone, will be seeing what’s going on down there. Waxes enhance confidence in the same way leg waxing and armpit shaving does. We do it for the guys, as they don’t tend to be very attracted to women covered in hair, and we do it for ourselves – If I hadn’t had a wax I would feel very self conscious about hair coming out the sides of my bikini when I’m playing volleyball on the beach.
“We do it for the guys, as they don’t tend to be very attracted to women covered in hair, and we do it for ourselves”
There is also the question of whether waxing can have a positive effect on your sexual experience. Frankly, some men are more willing to go to town when they go downtown if some degree of pubic housekeeping has been performed. On the other hand, going completely bare can turn a lot of men off; a little pubis serves as a comforting reminder that their partner is a consenting adult. For the single ladies out there, I wouldn’t recommend going completely bare. If you’re in a committed relationship though, it’s best, as in all matters sexual and otherwise, to communicate with your partner and figure out what will work the best for both of you.
However, the fellas shouldn’t feel exempt from the waxing conversation. To the well-furred gentlemen of Shanghai, allow me to recommend the ‘back, sack and crack’ wax. Although I’m sure entering a waxing salon can be a bit embarrassing for a man, you simply shouldn’t allow yourself to go through life looking like Robin Williams. If you have a girlfriend, get her to accompany you for moral support if necessary. Keeping the pubic area well trimmed is a good idea too, although you’re kidding yourselves if you think you’re making it look bigger.
Western women and, at times, their male counterparts, have indeed spent the last half century blazing a trail through the proverbial bush. But what of the Chinese? I admit this is far from scientific, but if the women in the changing room at my gym represent a reliable sample, most Asian women are still rocking the Yoko (pictured left.)
With such a paucity of demand, I was concerned when I first came to Shanghai that it might be difficult to find a reliable place to preen the private patch. Luckily, no such shortage exists, although most salons are in the French Concession, so if you live far from the center of Puxi, you may be in for a bit of a hike.
Personally, my favourite is Dragonfly at 1515 West Nanjing Rd. The English-speaking staff are friendly and the waxers are meticulous and gentle. Also, the place is spotlessly clean. I pay around ¥160 for a bit more than a simple tidy up. Below are a few other places around Shanghai that also cater to Westerners, along with some brief reconnaissance performed by yours truly.
Address: Villa 5, Lane 3911 Hongmei Road, Hongqiao, Changning District.
Tel: 6242 4328
Cost: 160 for a regular bikini, ¥260 for a Brazilian and ¥225 for a Playboy.
The Scoop: Dragonfly is a chain with many different salons scattered around Shanghai. I have heard good things about the location at Hongqiao and they welcome male customers. When I went to investigate I was met by a friendly, English-speaking receptionist who mentioned that her Chinese customers consider the playboy wax very fashionable.
Address: Xinle Lu 158, near Donghu Lu.
Tel: 5403 0011.
Cost: ¥260 to lose it all, ¥90 for a simple clean up.
The Scoop: This is also a chain and has had very good reviews. I went to check it out and found the receptionists to be very friendly and they spoke excellent English. The place looked very clean and is popular among the laowais, with approximately fifty to sixty westerners coming in each week. Men are welcome.
The Strip and Browhaus
(same chain as “strip”)
Address: 84 Wulumuqi Lu
Tel: 6415 1613; 6415 1623
Cost: Same as Strip.
The Scoop: This chain is probably the most well known in Shanghai and many western women are frequent clients.
Address: 426 Dagu Lu 5666 1776.
Cost: ¥150 for a regular bikini, ¥240 for a brazilian
The Scoop: The receptionist spoke English, but was not nearly as friendly as the others. As a result, I wasn’t able to do much reconnaissance. Men are welcome though, but they can’t get a bikini wax.
Helen’s Nail Spa
Address: 120 Nanchang Lu, Luwan, Shanghai
Cost: Prices range between ¥140 for regular bikini line and 220 for Brazilian
The Scoop: According to the cheery, English-speaking receptionist, more or less 50 westerners come in a week for waxes; however, these are all women as “we no longer entertain men”. While I would love to hear the story that lead to that decision, I couldn’t get it out of her.
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