The Ritual of Hair Removal (2024)

My very first standup joke (there’s video proof of this, but I am afraid to look at it for fear of dying from cringing) was as follows:

I’m Pakistani and Italian which means I get a lot of jokes about terrorism and pizza. Being Pakistalian (HOLD FOR LAUGHS) also means that I’m really hairy.

Okay, I did end up watching the video and I am actually sparing you a 9/11 joke in this bit to preserve some of my remaining dignity.

The point is: I am hairy. It has been a part of my identity and “art” since forever. And, it’s become something I really love about myself—or I guess I’m glad what it’s brought me? Because I don’t actually love being hairy. I really wish I did. I wish I could be one of those women who grew out their armpit hair with reckless abandon and wore a bathing suit with Bush Gardens a springin’, but it’s not my style. More pointedly: it’s not how I was raised.

My mom’s Middle Eastern heritage and my dad’s Southern Italian heritage bestowed me with dark, thick hair everywhere you can grow it. From a young age, my mom served as a hairy sherpa, apologizing for her gift, and showing me the ways of bleaching and waxing. She Nair’d my legs for me when I was 8 because I couldn’t be trusted with a razor (I attempted! Bathtub full’a blood!). I had an allergic reaction from the Nair with welts all down my legs, but they were definitely not hairy.

When I moved to San Francisco, I felt I needed to take things up a notch and started getting Brazilian waxes. This was out of my mom’s league. She didn’t get why people did this. Many people do not. I really can’t sell it to you as a service other than it having a result that makes me feel better. But the service itself? Always makes me feel like I’m partaking in some kink that I will one day tell my lover I’m not actually that into, but for now I am trying to keep the peace.

I don’t know what initially brought me to do it, but I can assure you that it wasn’t for a guy and it wasn’t because I was having a Playboy shoot, or anything. It was just for me. It was weird to tell the esthetician that when she asked “What brings you here? Special occasion?” and you just yell “IT’S FOR ME.” But, it was the truth.

The selling point of waxing has truly been the friends I’ve made along the way. About 99% of Brazilian waxers I have met are the best people. I have laughed, cried, counseled and been counseled. I have heard very funny stories and told them things I hadn’t told anyone else. It’s like the camaraderie of hairdresser and hairdressed, but to the extreme. The conversation is definitely born out of nervousness (I cannot imagine being dead silent through it) but it becomes this true bonding experience. I’ve hung out with waxers and invited them to comedy shows. I’ve thought about things they’ve said to me for years. Estheticians are very wise.

Whenever I meet someone hairy, I am always very delighted. Even with extensive hair removal, there are so many tells. You can never really shed it. For one: hairy people like me have great head hair and great eyebrows, obvi.

There are other tells, too. There are just too many places to remove hair from. I shave my arms, but my knuckles have stray hairs. I can’t have a short bob because it’d be a waste of these luscious hair genes…and it looks terrible on me…and because I’d have to shave my neck hair. But, when I see someone with neck hair out and about, I always feel a kinship. Seeing someone hairy for me is a “me too” but in a good, soothing way. Hair that binds us in removal and eventual acceptance.

When my niece was born, she had hair on her shoulders. Many parents might be grossed out, (first of all: grow up) but not my mom, brother and I. We said “one of us!” And hugged her even tightly. She was ours. We then started joking about the hair removal ways of our people we’d have to show her.

Looking back, it’s funny to me that my mom’s immediate impulse regarding hair was “disguise this at all costs.” My mom bought me laser hair removal at 15 for my back, and it didn’t work. It sucks it didn’t work (because it was really f*cking painful) but that dedication to making me “normal” was strong. It wasn’t done in disgust, but in love. What it resulted in was these rituals. The bleaching of my mustache, tweezing my eyebrows and cutting my bangs before I went out on my first date. The sitting next to me while a laser unsuccessfully zapped my hair and said “Oh, Sammy, you’ve always been so strong!” The bleaching my arms after my dad went to bed and I asked her “do men really care if you’re hairy?” and she replied to me “I’ve never had one complaint.” Proving it really was just for this. Just for us.

I recently took the plunge back in to laser hair removal. I’m doing my legs, underarms and some other stuff. They assured me that lasers don’t hurt as much as they when I was 15. My technician and I bonded immediately. She told me all about how she’s actually known her boyfriend since she was 15. He was the popular bad boy, and she was the good girl nerd. She loves Burbank. And her mom’s name is Susan, just like my mom’s.

Happy birthday, Mom. I wish you were still here. You’d love how far laser hair removal has come.

The Ritual of Hair Removal (1)
The Ritual of Hair Removal (2)


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Problemista follows Alejandro Martinez after he loses his job at cryogenic freeze facility and has to get another job to maintain visa sponsorship in the U.S. so he can ultimately pursue his dream of making hyperrealistic toys. Also, Tilda Swinton. And speaking of moms, this has a really sweet mom plotline (not Tilda Swinton). I was really impressed with how deftly the multiple characters and storylines were served. Plus, this is just so funny and sweet. Love Julio Torres.


The Ritual of Hair Removal (4)

Waxahatchee’s newest album seems like a companion piece to 2020’s Saint Cloud. From the cover to the sound, it seems to be a response, or an epilogue. Since I absolutely loved Saint Cloud, I’m down for the ride to continue. The lyrics and western folk sound are so incredibly soothing.


The Ritual of Hair Removal (5)

I’ll be honest: I don’t like this album. I really have loved Ariana Grande’s past couple albums, but this one was a little too chill for me. This song, however, is so great. It has the complex, dreamy lyrics I love from her with a great beat. And as unrelatable as it is to have a song about your response to fans turning on you, I have to respect it. I also need to stop trying to relate to every lyric of every song. It doesn’t have to be about me!!! (But wouldn’t it be fun if it was?!)

Speaking of stuff I don’t relate to, I saw both Dune’s this week because my friend, Emily, is obsessed. I wanted to understand her better, and sometimes you just have to understand that you’ll never understand. That’s the ***spice*** of life.

Speaking of spice tho, I was so confused, as seen by the notes I took during Dune 2.

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Please don’t answer any of this for me. I’m all set.

The Ritual of Hair Removal (2024)


Can I shave 4 hours before laser? ›

Perfect Shaving

Left it a little late and your appointments in 1 hour – well there's no reason why you can't shave just before. However, I recommend you do your shaving one day prior, because shaving can often leave the skin red and irritated.

What is the most permanent form of hair removal? ›

Electrolysis is the only method approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for permanently removing unwanted hair.

What is the mourning ritual of hair cutting? ›

One widely observed practice is cutting or shaving the hair as a sign of mourning and respect for the deceased. This symbolic act is seen as a way of releasing the grief associated with the loss and signifies a transition in the individual's life.

What is the Indian hair shaving ritual? ›

During the mundan ceremony, a barber is assigned the task of shaving off the baby's hair. In Hindus, the mundan ceremony is done between four months to three years of his birth. In Islamic tradition, it's done between 7 to 40 days. The time and rituals of mundan are different in different communities.

What happens if you shave 1 hour before laser hair removal? ›

Make sure you don't shave immediately before your Palo Alto laser hair removal treatment, as this increases the odds for inflammation and swelling.

Is it OK to shave 1 hour before laser? ›

A shave 24 to 48 hours before the appointed date is important. While the hair root is invisible, the laser can seek it out within the pigment. By shaving, you reduce the chances of burns with the hair being below the skin's surface.

How do I stop my pubic hair from growing permanently? ›

Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal method which uses a special machine to stop hair growth with chemical or heat energy; then, the hair follicles are removed with tiny electric tweezers.

Does hair grow back after electrolysis? ›

Some hairs will grow back after electrolysis. However, as you undergo more and more sessions, the number of hairs that grow back each time decreases. If the hair doesn't regrow after more than three months, it will never come back again.

How do you remove all pubic hair permanently? ›

Full Brazilian Laser Hair Removal removes all or almost all pubic hair. It's a more permanent hair removal treatment than waxing or shaving. The laser targets follicles, emits light energy, and stops the growth of hair.

Why do Muslims cut their hair? ›

Throughout the Islamic world, hair removal is considered in the context of religious law. Amongst Muslims, hair removal is part of an impulse towards general purity and cleanliness and includes the trimming of nails and the removing of armpit and pubic hair.

Why can't you cut your hair after a funeral? ›

Children or grandchildren of the person who died should wait at least 49 days after the funeral to cut their nails or hair. This comes from the idea that the dead parent gave the children their nails and hair, so they should not be cut during the mourning period or after the burial.

Why do Aboriginal people cut their hair? ›

During this, relatives may show their grief by cutting their hair or using white pigment on their faces. Sorry cuts: Aboriginals may also cut themselves to release their pain by letting their blood flow. Talking with grieving family members about their, so-called, 'sorry cuts' is a taboo.

How did Native Americans shave their hair? ›

In instances where the hair on the scalp needed to be shaved off, Native Americans used obsidian flakes. An obsidian is a type of hard, glasslike volcanic rock that is used by Native Americans as knives. These are very sharp and cut with great efficiency.

Why do Indian people shave their daughters hair? ›

In Hindu tradition, from birth, hair is associated with less positive aspects of or qualities from past lives. Thus at the time of the shave, the child is freshly shaven to signify freedom from the past and moving into the future.

Why did Native Americans shave their head? ›

As a challenge to their enemies, some Native Americans shaved their heads. The scalp was sometimes offered as a ritual sacrifice or preserved and carried by women in a triumphal scalp dance, later to be retained as a pendant by the warrior, used as tribal medicine, or discarded.

Can I shave 3 hours before laser? ›

Prior to arriving for your treatment session

The area of treatment should be shaved at least 12 hours prior to treatment. Wear loose-fitting clothes on the day. Avoid alcohol or smoking the night before and on the day of the treatment.

What happens if you shave 3 hours before laser hair removal? ›

Therefore, if you shave less than 24 hours before your scheduled appointment then there won't be enough hair present to burn, and this can cause irritation to the treatment area.

Is it okay to shave 3 hours before laser? ›

To prepare for your laser hair removal, shave the area 12-14 hours before your appointment with a clean, sharp razor. Be sure to remove all hairs especially longer hairs sitting above the skin as this can cause burns.

Is it OK to shave 5 hours before laser? ›

What do I need to do to prepare for my Laser Hair Removal appointment? Shave treatment area at least 12-24 hours prior to your treatment. Avoid chemical peels or laser resurfacing treatments at least 4 weeks before your treatment. Exfoliate the treatment area at least 3 days before your treatment.

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