“I can’t talk right now, mom,” I say into my iPhone. “I’m on my way to an appointment.”
“Getting your eyelashes done again?” she asks.
“No. Something a little more south.”
“Your cueball-ectomy?” She means a Brazilian wax. She’s funny like that.
“No. Something south… and around the back.” I respond
“YOU ARE NOT! I feel like I don’t even know you anymore!”
She knows exactly what I’m referring to. I’d sent her a text a few days before saying “I just interviewed a woman about anal bleaching. Told you journalism school was a good investment.” She’d sent back something declaring her pride in me and my noble profession but I don’t think she ever thought I’d actually take up any offer of testing out the procedure myself.
She’s right. She doesn’t know me.
I remember hearing about bum hole bleaching about five years ago when it was revealed that it was de rigueur among porn stars. And why wouldn’t it be? There’s no better reason in my mind to get your bum hole dyed than having a camera right up there every day as an occupation. I don’t have that kind of job so I never thought I’d need to hear about a bum hole bleach again. Alas, thanks to the explosion in popularity of the Brazilian wax, it was only a matter of time before estheticians declared war on our butts, too.
Now, I’ve only had two experiences with bleach up to this point. One was when I attempted to be a blonde and scorched 4 inches of my hair clean off. The other culminated with a bleach bath after a disastrous self-tanner episode. So you can imagine my trepidation with any beauty treatment that uses the word “bleach”. Especially when they put it next to anal.
Lying on a table at Toronto’s Allure Body Bar staring up at a sign that asks ‘Is your wink pink?’ and not feeling as dignified as a woman should, Alaa – the woman I’m trusting with my life – gives me a quick wax before she starts. A necessary evil that feels like salt on my impending wound.
“I don’t like to call it bleach,” Alaa tells me. “It’s a skin lightening cream. There’s zero burning to it.”
She instructs me to turn on my side with my bottom leg stretched out, the other one bent at a ninety-degree angle and one hand holding a bum cheek back (sorry mom). The procedure starts with a thorough cleansing to loosen pores. Next comes the skin lightening solution. The objective is to get the skin to a pretty pink colour that will look natural with my skin tone. “Glittery” is apparently not an option. I asked.
Lastly, a soothing lotion is applied to lock in the colour. Which I’m told by Alaa looks great. How sweet of her to mention. She leaves and I’m afraid to look but I obviously do by way of my phone on selfie mode. It’s the shade of a pink rose petal. At least, I think as my eyes are squinted because this angle is absolutely anything but flattering.
I immediately text my best friend to let her know the violation that just took place. Or should I say the violation that I just put myself through.
‘OMG,’ she replies. ‘What was it like and HOW DOES IT LOOK?’
‘A bum hole bleach is basically a woman rubbing cream directly on and around your butthole. Which doesn’t feel terrible,’ I tell her. ‘It looks okay, I guess. I just don’t know how much use I’ll get out of it. I can’t imagine whipping it out at parties to show everyone.’
I get in a cab and immediately feel like the driver knows what I just did. I refuse to meet his eye in the mirror throughout the drive home and scurry into my building with my head down in case anyone can tell how I’ve spent my evening. I deflect all questions about it from my live-in boyfriend and tell him I’m not ready to show it off yet.
Verdict: Bum Hole Bleaching: porn star confidence not included.