Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Thread Runs Through It


Periodically, I've written about quirky things that catch my eye, when I'm out and about in the city: odd statuary in people's yards, funky stores and neon. One thing I always have my eye peeled for are neon signs where they have taken the time to invest in creating this object that promotes something offbeat, or it's in another language (something I'm seeing more and more of these days,) but my personal favorite is when I find typographical or grammatical errors in glaring glass.

...as in "Oopss."
The last time I posted about this, it threw some of my readers, because it was double-take neon: you had to stop and think for a second about what was wrong. And now we have this:

"We Do Not Woo Woos Thread, But Shiva We Gots"

Last night I found a piece of neon that matched several criteria. Beyond the error of that "s," it struck me as odd (and amusing,) that someone would be putting these words into flashing hot pink, and then there is the whole concept of threading as a means of hair removal--something still not seen that widely in the U.S.

That Troublesome Burka Bikini Line

I had heard about the use of thread to remove hair for some time before I actually experienced it. There came a day, however, when I sought out the work of a company that offered more comprehensive services, and I finally went through the process. I met a woman who was not only masterful at waxing, using the traditional hot wax and muslin strips, but she also had expertise in threading. Because this was an establishment run by Iranians, and perhaps because of what I was seeking, the first question out of her mouth was, "Do you have a boyfriend from Saudi Arabia?" The question puzzled me, but later was clarified by her explanation.

I was told that in many Muslim cultures, or Middle Eastern countries, young girls are taught how to use threading as a means of hair removal, and that this training begins around the age of twelve. It is part of their self-grooming. The practice varies from culture to culture, but for many, the removal of all body hair, prior to a wedding, is a common thing. Once married, this grooming continues. It was explained to me that this is in part for hygiene, in part from religious beliefs, and in part for the pleasure of the man...and the woman. I was also told that some men maintain this practice and that it is di rigeur for many Muslims. Threading is called khite in Arabic, by the way, and fatlah in Egyptian.

"Take That Fatlah And Put It
Where The Sun Doesn't Shine"


Hair removal using thread is achieved this way: taking a long strand of thread, the practitioner holds one end of the cotton thread in her teeth and the other in her left hand. The middle of the thread is looped through the index and middle fingers of the right hand. The person threading then uses the loop to trap a series of unwanted hairs and pull them from the skin. The follicle often comes out with the hair shaft, ensuring a longer time between services where you will need to do this again. If you can envision a yoyo string and that twangy, twisted, bouncing tension it has, the effect is similar. The most common practice involving threading is the shaping of eyebrows, in this country, but I've also seen it done following a traditional waxing, to pick up stray hairs for total grooming.


I was baffled as to how I could go from Abraham Lincoln to woo woo waxing. I was talking to two male friends about this, and they went off. Of course. Men. Laughing. "The Great Emancipator and Emancipation of the Woo Woo." "From Bearded Presidents to Waxed Woo Woo's." "Hair Choices: The Great Divide." "Bush Country." NEVER ask men about this. They both wanted me to use this to close out on the subject:

It's Important To Follow
The Grade Of The Grass

33 Comments:

Anonymous Sue aka DRFS said...

I wish I had the ummm..."balls" is not the correct word...but "guts" to let someone who is not me or someone I am..."involved" with close to the woo woo for ANY reason, much less the ripping off of my hair. How ummmm painful is hair threading for eyebrow hair/facial hair removal? Wouldn't that hurt even more in woo woo country?

2:33 PM  
Anonymous drew said...

This enticing piece still doesn't answer my Lincoln shaved his mustache as he grew his beard. I've always wondered about that....

A dozen bad pun-ishments are running through my head, and I think that's best that I'll leave them there for now.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Sue: I find threading to be less painful than waxing as far as eyebrows are concerned, but I still go for wax. As for the woo woo, no matter what you are doing in terms of hair removal down there, it hurts like 900 burning suns. The worst. Second worse place,in my opinion: under your arms.

Drew: You've been on a roll today, Drew (Kaiser,) and there is no way I was going near what you said earlier about Lincoln.

2:44 PM  
Blogger Siryn said...

Cube, you're a riot.

Woo woo!

3:23 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Siryn:....or not to woo woo...that is the question.

3:26 PM  
Blogger The Lily said...

My eyebrow waxer is this teeny tiny little Iranian lady. She doesn't do threading (because I asked) but she is quite the sales person. She's making the push for a bikini and I just don't have the heart for it.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Claire: A bikini wax is not all that bad. It's went you venture beyond that line that new boundaries of pain are set.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Stef said...

I confess, I've never even heard of threading! It took me a long time to even get desensitized to plucking. I think I've got a ways to go!

4:54 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Stef: I was talking to another blogger today, and I was telling him that men are rather clueless at times as to the lengths women go through to keep pretty and maintained for their pleasure...and the PAIN, gentlemen, the PAIN. Partially joking, here...we do it for ourselves, as well.

5:32 PM  
Blogger beachgirl said...

Cube- I have had the threading and waxing, but I stick with the waxing..It just seems to go faster.. But I have never had the woo-woo done..But if I did, I would have it waxed..

Great post!!

BTW, love the fact that you call it a woo-woo; Where I'm from we call it the hoo-hoo... OMG, are we grown ups or have we regressed to our 7 year old selves??

5:53 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Beach: I can't take credit for the "woo woo." I picked that up on someone else's blog and it stuck. Sounds better than the alternatives, I think. More...playful.

6:07 PM  
Blogger trueborn said...

Cube I am so very happy that I am a man right now.

Thanks for enlightening me of your plight.

I had to shave my legs (actually all of my body for collegiate swimming) and nothing gave me more respect for women than cutting myself half a dozen times when doing so.

Always an enjoying read!

8:17 PM  
Blogger maisnon said...

I get my eyebrows threaded because waxing makes me break out. So I go from fuzzy to red and scabby - not hot. Threading, because it doesn't pull on the skin, gives me the look I want without the irritation.

I've had my armpits waxed and it really is in second place to bikini line (which hurts progressively more, the more ... thorough you are.)

2:11 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

Hair removal by any means usaully means pain. When waxing my woo woo, I either need a painkiller or an intoxicating amount of Nyquill in my system.

You never did mention the pain involved with treading... is it screaming good?

2:49 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

True: What makes the summer Olympics for female viewers? The male swim team. :)

Maisnon: Agreed, it's just a slower process than waxing.

Janet: That's just it. It really doesn't hurt that much, but because you are going hair by hair, it's slow and tedious if you are doing anything beyond eyebrows.

9:56 AM  
Blogger sparkles anonymous! said...

CAUTION - MAY BE VERY TMI

Cube, since you seem to be on the cutting edge of all things woo-woo, is there any alternative out there to waxing when you want that total "clear-cut" look? I haven't kept up on my waxing lately because the ingrown hairs and bumps were just making it more trouble than it was worth. But I hate not doing anything at all.

Signed,
Not a Fan Of Au Naturale

10:52 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Miss Sparkles Pirate: Waxing seems to be the way to go. Or a combination of waxing and threading. I've yet to hear of anyone who has had permanent laser hair removal in that area. I have found that you need a good waxer...someone who knows how to remove the hair at it's proper angle, and the quality of wax being used. Where I go, they order their wax from the infamous J Sisters up in NYC. It costs more, but it hurts less and there isn't that redness afterwards.

http://www.jsisters.com/
English/MainPageFramed.htm


There is a product that I know of, made mainly for men (but women use it,) that forces ingrown hairs outward and helps stop that problem. It's called Tend Skin, and here is one site with some information on it. The product also has it's own website:

http://beautymotion.com/
product.php?productid=3645

11:14 AM  
Blogger sparkles anonymous! said...

Taking this one off the blog. :)

11:22 AM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Answered you off blog, Miss Sparkles. Check your mail.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

I find threading to be so much more thorough than waxing. That said, where did you get yours done it because I've been looking for a place for months, but have no one I know gets threading done.

12:46 PM  
Blogger cuff said...

I tend to use Nair for my back and a razor for my buttocks. Hoo, I can still remember the time I accidentally dumped that bottle of nair all over my head. The effects seem to be permanent.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Heather: I go out of town because my skin esthetician moved, and I followed her. However, I will offer this up as a "check and see" place. I know they do waxing. I "think" they do threading, and I've known people who went there and were happy with the results:

EMC
Dupont (Circle) Medical Building
1234 19th Street, Suite 206
Washington, D.C. 20036
Phone: 202-234-3531

12:51 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Cuff: *snort* I needed a laugh today. Good one. I can imagine you reading this and saying, "Hey! I wasn't joking!"

12:52 PM  
Blogger Momentary Academic said...

Wow. This is so interesting. I learn so much here. I guess I'll have to think aobut this threading thing.

1:23 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

I figure if you can have fun, Momentary, and get some edumacation, so much the better.

1:46 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

The salon where I get my hair cut is owned by a woman from India who has taught all of the women who work for her how to do eyebrows and lips with thread. I can tolerate the eyebrow treatment, but I find the lip thing just too painful. I can't imagine these shy Asian women using thread below the neck!

10:14 PM  
Blogger Smash said...

Torture. Pure torture.

2:02 AM  
Blogger The Lily said...

Soooo, what you are saying is that a brazilian is OUT OF THE QUESTION?

(because in small caps, it just doesn't have the same kick)

12:54 PM  
Blogger Chairborne Stranger said...

you totally crack me up. your comments are a riot too. and now i'm thinking about woo woo, too.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Washington Cube said...

Barbara: "Shy Asian Women." Visit Bangkok.

Smash: Pleasure in the pain.

Claire: I'm not negating waxing. I'm all for it. Needless to say, a highly personal decision on waxing versus non and then what "to" wax.


Chair: If I can make you think of woo woo while you are over there fighting in Iraq, then I've done my job. As for the comments on this blog? I agree. I could not ask for a better, more articulate, funnier readership. I'll be working on a more serious piece over the weekend. I hate ending the week on woo woo-- to have it up there all weekend, but... :)

5:54 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I've been to Bangkok. I actually went to a live sex show that made me feel incredibly sorry for those who had to perform in it. The girls/women in Bangkok are still actually quite shy. It's just that the sex industry is the only way that many of them can make a living.

2:36 PM  
Blogger mysterygirl! said...

I just can't imagine getting woo-woo threading. Wouldn't that just take forever? The beauty of the wax is that, painful as it is, it goes fast. I can only take so much shaming in one day. :)

3:48 PM  
Blogger pUcK buNNi said...

Is there really such thing as woo woo threading, at least not in the salons? Have never seen it offered as an option. I mean, at that point, might as well grab a handful and pull, right?

9:50 AM  

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