The always intriguing shaved cha-cha

Jess, a grad student in J's lab, passed her preliminary exams (CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN JESS!) yesterday and to celebrate we dropped by her house with wine and champagne and snacks and shot glasses because she had some tequila from Mexico - the good stuff - and had decided that this was as appropriate a reason as any to imbibe. So we drank and told stories. People came and left and after a while we did our first shot which was incredibly smooth and delicious, enough to cause us all to say, "My God that is delicious tequila," which is never what anyone says after taking a tequila shot, never, so we knew it was special. Then the conversation turned, as it always somehow does, to the best methods for maintaining one's bikini area or, in other words, waxing your coochie, as I so gracefully put it after our second shot of tequila when I shouted, "I'm going to wax my coochie!" I thought I wasn't all that affected by the few beers and tequila I'd had but looking back on the night I guess it's fair to say, based on the evidence, that two tequila shots still do it for me, the other piece of evidence being that I put a small wind-up rubber penis between my breasts and let it hammer away.

There is a certain wonder that accompanies even the mention of Hair Removal in That Area. For our New Year's Party, 2004, we placed poster board around the walls of the bay house so that guests could pen their resolutions for the new year. When we stumbled, bleary-eyed with madly aching heads to view the outcome the next day one item caught our eyes immediately amongst the 100 or so resolutions so drunkenly recorded, and we let loose loud rounds of laughter. The resolution stated, simply, "Shave my cha cha everyday." We'll never know who she was, or if she has, but I will always admire the dedication with which she made such a promise.

When I was in the ninth grade and hadn't yet learned about the difference plucking my eyebrows could make, much less manicuring the privates which were so very embarrassingly, very, very private, I attended a study hall session in the afternoons with my friends Matt and Andrew and my then-boyfriend Steve. Because we were 14 or so and the study hall proctor probably wouldn't have cared if we'd stripped naked and played doctor, the four of us would turn our desks to face one another and pass notes. We passed notes every study hall session we had together and inevitably, one day, the topic turned to - you guessed it - shaved genitals, or "S.G." as we so artfully dubbed it, our dirty little discussion that went on right under the teacher's nose. Did we know the first thing about S'ing our G's? Did we even know much about G's in general? No. But we could pass notes like nobody's business regarding the elusive practice and if I remember correctly there were also a few mentions of gays and baseball.

That particular discussion only lasted one day - our normal note-passing was very innocent. Matt quoted Jefferson Airplane, Andrew asked which girls in our class he should pursue and Steve would tell me my hair looked nice - but one day was all it took. The boys took the notes to lunch, probably to flaunt their extensive knowledge of S.G. ("See? I've written all about sex and genitals and gays right here.") and left the crumpled sheets of notebook paper that contained our names - our names for Christ's sake! - there on the lunch table where Mr. Barbee, the dean, and to make matters worse, Matt's dad, picked them up.

He invited us into his office and inflicted the worst possible punishment, ever, upon us. He made copies of our insightful comments and told us we were to have them signed by our parents and brought back to him the following day. Our crime? Not what we wrote about, he said, but the fact that we were writing notes during study hall at all. We should have been studying. But I've always had just the tiniest notion that the content, just maybe, had everything to do with our getting in trouble.

I found out the next day that Andrew and Steve had brilliantly taken home the two pages of notes dedicated to discussing baseball, and maybe one mention of gay people. Their parents had looked over the fairly innocent commentary, told them they should have been studying, and signed away. I'd taken home all four pages. While my father laughed to himself my mother flipped from page to page over and over again shaking her head saying, "Cara, I don't think you even know what some of this means."