Listen, there is one thing that the exes of Sandra Bullock, Christina Aguilera, Courteney Cox, Britney Spears and even Kate Gosselin won't have to go through. (Okay, maybe Jon will go through this). And that's the Brazilian wax.
You see, after my first 50 post-divorce dates, I began to understand this new world well enough to realize just how clueless I was. For example, there was something off about the first man I met online -- he turned out to be married. Another man had posted a profile photo that was so outdated that when I went to meet him for our date - looking for the tall, slim man with curly brown hair and a nice smile, I literally didn't recognize the half-centurion who called out my name. Gone was the slim and the hair, and his smile was obscured by the smoke curling out from his cigarette. I even met a man who nearly knocked over our cocktails when he opened his laptop to impress me with dozens of photos of women he had dated previously. (I actually was pretty impressed.)
With so many false starts, I learned to be a little more discerning. I could spot a "player" within three lines of an IM; I could mark a stalker after the first post-date text; I even learned the red flags of an already-committed man. But I was still completely unprepared when, nearly two years after my divorce and several months into my first real post-divorce relationship, it looked as if I might actually have sex again before I died. It had been years since I had been naked in front of anything but my bathroom mirror, and I was terrified. Worse, I had no single girlfriends to consult. But I did have my friend Graham, who was young, single, and part-time therapist/full-time stylist to some of the hippest women in the suburbs (no, that is not an oxymoron). He told me about a party one of his clients was having -- all single women. He said I should go to learn more about dating. To get some answers and maybe take a few pictures. He made it clear that Girls Gone Wild was PG compared with this group.
Even now, it's hard for me to believe I had the courage to go. I must have walked up to the door of the party's mini-mansion half a dozen times and back down to my car, overcome with uncertainty and nausea. Finally, the door opened and the party's hostess, Pamelia, smiled at me and said, "Are you ever going to come?" and I remember thinking, this is going to be a night of double entendres. Giving me a warm hug, Pamelia said, "You must be Ginger, Graham's friend. Come on in, we've been waiting for you."
I followed her through an obscenely large foyer and down the marble steps to the "party room," where the festivities had obviously started some time ago, based on the noise level and half-empty bottles. True to Graham's word there were only women here, but they didn't look anything like my neighborhood Garden Club. There were women with tattoos, thigh-high boots, biker gear, and pierced tongues. There were women in short skirts, lingerie, and one in a metallic bikini. And they were in the middle of playing a game where everyone had written down a question on a slip of paper and put it in a jar; whoever pulled out a question had to answer it. As I walked in, the women suspended their game mid-pull, and everyone came over to hug me and make sure I had at least one tequila shooter. They asked me to write down a question right then and there, just as a woman named Mollie announced she had a new piercing in a very private place. There was a group "ooh" as Mollie stepped out of her jeans to show us what looked like the most painful thing I could ever imagine (and I had given birth to my son without an epidural). I tried not to wince.
That's when someone grabbed my question out of my hand. It said, "What is the current style of bikini waxing?"
I have never seen so many pants go down at once in my whole life, and I used to potty-train preschoolers. Every girl there wanted to show me the very latest in trendy trimming. Note to self: This is not your mother's bikini wax.
First up, Ellie insisted that bare is beautiful. She was nearly finished with 30 laser treatments to achieve this level of nothingness.
"Does it hurt?" I asked, definitely wincing.
"Like a mother#$%^r," she said proudly.
Lucinda agreed with bare-is-best, but she preferred waxing. Several other girls declared that a "landing strip" was today's look. Of course, they had to explain to me that a landing strip is when you remove all of your pubic hair except for a narrow strip in the very center. Oh, and nobody at the party said pubic hair, okay? And I can tell you that no one had the natural look that every Playboy centerfold from the 1950s to the 1980s sported; that's what I get for divorcing at the turn of the century.
As bizarre as this girl-party was, it was great to have so much new knowledge. Who else could I have asked about trimming and tweezing and Trojans? Now, I thought, if I ever do get naked again, at least I won't look like a born-again virgin.