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“What prompted you to do this?” Miranda asks as I bring my knees to my chest and she waxes my asshole. 

“I’m doing this for myself,” I tell her, but that is a lie. I am lonely and in need of touch. I’m readying my body as one might renovate an old house and refinish long-covered hardwood floors. A wax, a buff, and a shine.

I used to be a crunchy hippie who could have easily been an extra in Hair, but now I spend far less time or energy worrying about what is poking out of my underwear or nicking myself in the shower. The Sicilian in me is relieved. 

Miranda, whose mother took her to Korn concerts, plural, and advised her on getting the tasteful art deco woman-kissing-the-man-in-the-moon forearm tattoo, tells me she gets so tired of other fat women sighing in relief when they see her. 

“As if there is a sisterhood in fatness,” she says. But I, a fellow fatty, think sure there is. Isn’t it nice to be around other fleshy women? Women whose thighs chafe in the summer, women whose bras resemble flying buttresses, women who take up space gladly, happily. 

“As if I represent the whole fat experience,” she continues. I nod my head as I hold my lower belly and gently lift it above my C-section scar to keep the skin taut as she coats my mons in warm wax. Rip and repeat.

Honestly, I’m more embarrassed of my FUPA than I am of my vulva or vagina. Four years after giving birth and I still look like a deflated basketball.

I know it’s easier to love someone who loves herself. I know most of us want a hero who already sees herself as such, but I’m pretty sure most heroes have no idea how valiant they are until they cross the threshold. Maybe not even then. 

During my first Brazilian, Miranda tries to put me at ease by telling me about a woman who shat herself on the table. 

“Does that happen a lot?” I ask, more worried than before. 

“No, not usually,” she tells me, laughing. 

I feel bad for the table-shitting woman.

* * *

The next time I see Miranda her lower lip quivers. She doesn’t make small talk or tell me about her boyfriend or their trip to Vegas or her next tattoo or how she’s ready to become a mother. No, instead she starts to cry, sobbing quietly as I take off my pants and underwear. 

“Are you alright?” I ask bare-assed. “I can totally come back another day.” 

“I’m fine,” Miranda says.

I do not know what to do in this little room, so close to a confessional. I lie down on the table and breathe. Am I really going to have a crying woman wax my pussy? How big of a tip do I leave for this act of intimacy?

“Are you sure you’re okay?” I ask again, hoping she will say no, no I’m not okay. The boyfriend has left, or I have left him. Or my mother is sick, or the lead singer of Korn is dead, or I’m done waxing hair off of people who show me too much of what it means to be human.

But Miranda says nothing. I say nothing. I hear Glass Animals playing in the background; someone singing about needing a better life than this. Miranda rips and cries. I close my eyes, clench my teeth, and remind myself that the hair will grow back softer, finer, thinner.