By Akshita Nagpal:
The shaadi season is here! And we can bet the lovely brides-to-be have only one thing on their mind – the parlour wali Aunty, who is promising a makeover that will get the dear husband-to-be weak in his knees. But is it all worth the kharcha? Hina tells us her tale.
Hina, 28, is a school teacher in Gurgaon.
A few days ago, I received a panicked call from my friend, Simran, who was terribly hassled about pre-bridal packages for her wedding scheduled for this November. Most women would know what it means: the regular deal of grooming treatments – body-hair waxing, bleaching, facial, hair-spa, and other sundries. Salon chains across the city had given Simran a cost-estimate that equalled a month of her salary.
‘We will make you smooth as butter’, they promised her. The deal involved repeating these grooming processes once each month, for three months prior to her wedding. I gave Simran a piece of her mind, from my own experience of spending only a fraction on my wedding two years ago.
A lot was on offer for my package, too – waxing of arms, legs, back, tummy, bikini area, body bleach, facial, and hair spa. I had put my head to it. The question that helped me decide: Am I going to repeat these grooming processes more than this one time?
I knew that with the demanding pace of my work-life, the answer was an outright no. How was it, then, going to make a difference to my experience of being wedded and sharing a bed with my partner for the first time?
My partner and husband-to-be, Nasir, and I had known each other for nearly two years before we got married. Owing to our religious beliefs, we had decided to not have sex until after marriage. So, after our wedding, it was going to be the first sexual experience for both of us. Connected as we stay through round-the-clock chatting, Nasir knew I was in for my pre-bridal grooming. But, there was no discussion of details. For his part, he only got a new haircut for the wedding.
I assessed my body after consulting the neighbourhood salon about available grooming treatments for the pre-bridal package and respective costs. One: I didn’t consider myself so hairy as to scare Nasir! Two: I did not believe that baby-smooth hairless skin was essential to ensure a great first sexual experience. So, I skipped the whole-body waxing, but, I did wax my arms and legs. I took two other treatments: a spa for my hair, and a facial; that was a fair load of pampering.
Even though my genital area was going to be primarily in focus for my first sexual experience, the pain of waxing hair off the delicate bikini area put me off. I knew women friends and colleagues who had done the procedure, and from them, I had an idea about the amount of pain that was involved in it. I felt Nasir wouldn’t want me to go through such pain either.
Through gathering all my thoughts and estimates, I was able to limit my pre-bridal grooming costs to a little more than what my friends spend on their usual salon trips. I also cut costs by opting to have the grooming-consultant perform the services in my home, instead of taking the services in the salon premises.
Looking back, my decision turned out to be a sound one. Nasir and I have been married for two years, and body hair is still a no-big-deal. We do have a two-way window of communication about body hair in certain areas: pubic area and under-the-arms. We both expect each other to keep the hair in these areas trimmed for reasons of hygiene and smell (that is easy to grow in tropical-summer weather) interfering in our intimacy.
If either of us becomes lazy about this, we tell the other to do it. I still shave off the hair on my arms and legs, occasionally. Nasir and I are headed for a beach vacation next month, and I might get my arms and legs waxed. But, it is only an option that I have, not a compulsion.
That’s all the advice I could offer to Simran from my experience. I hope she applies her own good judgement and does not spend so much money that strains her financial preparation for the wedding. Besides, the expectation of spending hours in a salon, repeating the same processes for three months does not make any sense to me. You are still going to remain the same person to your partner, whether you spend a few or many hours in the salon before your wedding.
*To protect the identity, names have been changed.