No Pain, No Gain: My First “Mankini” with Allure Body Bar

     “I can see your testicles, so that’s a good sign,” Autumn says as she yanks yet another strip of wax from my, er, private parts. When I ask how bad it is, she tells me she’s seen worse.

     It’s a Thursday, I’m on my back, listening to country music and wearing nothing from the waist down, flinching at the pain coming from down under and wondering how it came to this.

Allure Body Bar

© Gil Segev 2016

     I am at the Allure Body Bar preview for bloggers and media in Newmarket, Ontario, finally a press event that doesn’t involve a trip to downtown Toronto. It’s around 5 in the afternoon, and I’m getting my first ever “manzilian,” also known as a “brokini” (shaft, sack and crack included – $65*). Ladies and gentlemen, I am essentially getting my pubic hair ripped off for “aesthetic purposes.” Don’t ask me why.

     My beautician Autumn is nothing short of a pro. She’s been with the company for 2 years at their Danforth location and is helping out for the month at the new store. It is the first time in a while that the sleepy town of Newmarket has had a new waxing salon, and people stop their cars to snap pictures of the sign up top (which is borderline tasteful pornography).

Allure Body Bar

© Gil Segev 2016

     Allure Body Bar started 4 years ago, and besides a signature 8-minute Brazilian (mine took closer to half an hour, but then again I am Middle Eastern) they pride themselves on several things: cleanliness, quality, and a relaxed atmosphere. Even without the balloons and cupcakes the place looks and feels like a party. Clients are whisked off to spacious and brightly painted private rooms for their session with one of the capable ladies, who have all gone through beauty school AND a month of rigorous training with owners Frank and Alaa. I am told it takes about a year of practice before they start taking Brazilian waxing appointments. Artwork by Toronto-based artist Blaze Wiradharna decorates the walls, and cheeky phrases like “Is your wink pink?” are tucked away on the ceiling.

     When the invite came to try something new I was nervous, having never been waxed before save for my brows (once at Caryl Baker Visage, once at Benefit Brow Bar in Sephora). I decided to go ahead with it and see what all the hype was about. I mean, how can I expect somebody else to wax if I don’t even try it? I always think that if you don’t like something about your appearance you should change it, and to be honest my hair was sometimes holding me back because I felt ashamed of even having it. It was time to man up and walk the walk.

Allure Body Bar

© Gil Segev 2016

     After a quick trim, Autumn gets straight to work, keeping me from screaming by holding conversation surprisingly well (considering the situation). She tells me about 40% of her clients are men – that’s an impressive figure for sure. I ask if things ever get awkward. “Some guys get aroused,” she confides, “But I see a lot of people’s junk. It doesn’t bother me.”

     As for the pain, what can I tell you? For one, it is NOT like getting your brows done. With every strip it feels like being kicked in the stomach, and I am so sore afterwards that I am surprised I am still functioning. At one point I am instructed to flip to my stomach and “spread your cheeks,” and it was at about then I thought about dipping. When all is said and done a spray of witch hazel is applied (it stings), and I am left to dress. As an afterthought I think how lucky it was I wore loose shorts. As I examine the reddened area, I am too afraid to touch. My source of pride looks like a blushing naked rat. I sanitize my hands and emerge to down a pastry or two.

Allure Body Bar

© Gil Segev 2016

     The more I talk with Autumn and her colleagues the more I realize how passionate they are about what they do. Katrina, for example, moved to Toronto from Ireland to work in the industry. “I’ll do it for as long as they let me,” she adds jokingly. The team of wax-wielding ladies are lovingly referred to as Waxologists.

Allure Body Bar

© Gil Segev 2016

     As for aftercare, I am told to exfoliate 3-4 times a week and avoid exercise or sex for 24 hours. In the goody bag I find a jar of eucalyptus bath salts from the in-house brand, a gift certificate, a refreshing wipe for ladies, and a packet of lubricant I am not allowed to use for at least a day. One last picture at the Selfie Station, and off I go (follow up appointment in 3-4 weeks).

Allure Body Bar

© Gil Segev 2016

     24 hours later, as I sit down to write this, I can see what the hoopla is all about. Besides feeling clean (front and back) I feel sexier. The skin is soft and obviously smooth, and more sensitive to touch for sure. And it’s true what they say, when you trim the underbrush, the tree looks taller. Supposedly since we removed the hair from the root it will grow back lighter and softer, which I’m excited about. Although the journey of waxing itself is not the most pleasant experience (even though the Waxologists work diligently to make it as comfortable as possible), the destination is worth it. If you have been thinking about cleaning the edges, getting a fun shape, or even going completely bare, Allure Body Bar is a welcoming space for everyone to do so without judgement.

     One final tip for getting your intimates waxed by a relative stranger: the less eye contact, the better. Big thanks to the ladies at Allure Body Bar, J Social and VOCAB Communications for organizing this feature!

*Prices true at time of writing.

You can check out Allure Body Bar at their website or follow them on Twitter, PinterestFacebook and Instagram.

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