Sometimes I am amazed at the things Germans think of as distinctly American. Like table dancing. I asked a friend once why the sign and he told me that of course table dancing is an American habit. “German women would never take off their shirts AND dance on top of a table simultaneously.” Of course they wouldn’t. These pragmatic feminists would never behave like sorority girls on Spring Break.
Also distinctly American: bikini waxes. Now, at the risk of revealing too much here, I will admit to having set foot recently in a number of wax salons and in doing so learned quite a bit about what Germans think Americans do with their bikini areas. Of course, good old-school me was looking for an eyebrow wax (people, get your mind out of the gutter…) but they don’t do that here in the Fatherland. Which seems a little strange to me, considering that even the young men here seem to be obsessed with their depilatory regime (or so I’m told — and, I confess, have witnessed at the sauna; those cyclists sure do take the need to be bare seriously). You’d wax your man sack but not your eyebrows? Sheesh…
Just a side note to any Germans out there: in case you really *do* want to wax your man sack and have to do so in a foreign country, Ricky Gervais has a few tips for you starting around minute 10:
Anyway, at one of the salons, the price list caught my eye because, after referencing only body parts (arms, upper lip, etc…), suddenly there was this expansive list of things in and around the bikini area to choose from. So I had to ask: what’s the difference between a classic bikini wax, a Brazilian, and an American? It sounds like a bad joke doesn’t it: a classicist, a Brazilian and an American walk into a bar; who walks out with the most hair?
If I understood correctly, in this scenario, it’s the American, but I’ll admit to there being just the slightest bit of difficulty in the translation. The woman I asked started talking about the Venushuegel, which I promptly typed into my iphone translator to discover is, in English, the Mound of Venus. That explains everything…. if you know what this is. I didn’t have a clue at the time but since I wasn’t there to have Venus’ Mound be bared, I shrugged it off and went off to the next salon to see if I could get my eyebrows waxed.
And that’s when things got real complicated. Because there there were numerous Brazilians on offer: Brazilian Hollywood, Brazilian triangle, Brazilian HEART-SHAPED ARROW! Which seemed about as awesome and romantic and clever as vajeweling with Swarovski crystals but whatevs, who am I to judge you for your body hair choices, right? I mean, come on, ladies, who would try to fight it with a guy who’s shaved not one but two hearts into his chest hair? I digress…. (with thanks to Oh God My Wife Is German for finding that bucking bronco).
Well, since there was no such thing as a Brazilian eyebrow wax, I made my way out the door and over to the next wax studio (is it just me or have those buggers suddenly popped up everywhere? As if being hairy is really out of fashion or something….), where I learned that a Brazilian Hollywood is the new name for the age-old Sphynx. Nothing breeds creativity like the need for giving obscure names to otherwise “normal” things. I mean, really, can’t they just call it the Venus’ Bare Mound wax or something? What do being hairless and being American (or Brazilian) have in common with a cat? Oh, I GET IT NOW. Ah-ha-ha-ha….
Turns out, this is a stupid pop culture side effect: thanks to the ladies on Sex and the City, Germans now believe that all Americans are hairless down there. That you’d be hard-pressed to find a pu$sy wig over in the States. Or something like that. This contrasts quite a bit with what this very funny Frenchman in Julie Delpy’s very funny 2 Days in Paris seems to think, but he’s French, so you know, his views on Americans are totally different.
And here’s the point in the post where I turn to you, dear readers, for some help. Is this a distinctly German phenomenon, this labeling of things as American that no flag-waving Ami would otherwise consider a part of the culture? Also: are there “American” bikini waxes on offer in America? Or the counterpart, a European wax? Because, you know, this is important stuff for us international women to know….