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THE BEST BIKINI WAX IN LOS ANGELES

all her anytime. She’ll answer. Ha. Hell no I’m not going to tell you who she is. Not only because I never, ever want to have to fight to get in for a last minute touch up when whats-his-effing-face finally calls me up again, but also because I don’t want to be listed as an accomplice when one day she up and kills you. Meet the most terrifying person I’ve come across in LA. Her hair-ripping technique is virtually painless but, for reasons completely unrelated to my vagina, more often than not she makes me want to run in terror. But I don’t. I smile. I keep coming back. Because the only thing scarier than Madame Gertrude is the face of an LA man when you destroy his faith that all women are smooth and plastic, like Barbies. Gertrude is very Russian, 1960s-Hollywood-stereotype-style. (No, that’s not her real name. Sucker.) She moved to the states years ago and got into the waxing business with a friend from the homeland, Sarah. I’ve never seen Sarah, but I know she’s there, waxing away in the little room to the left of Gertrude’s. How do I know? Oh, just the violent screams and eruptive fits of rage.

Due to Gert’s thick accent, the specifics have been lost in translation, but I know she and Sarah had a conflict about a year ago that resulted in Sarah suing Gertrude for $200,000. Yes – that’s two hundred thousand dollars. Gertrude’s repeated the number so many times that I’m positive it’s correct. What I don’t know is why they still share the same building. Every time you overhear a patron enter or exit Sarah’s room, Gertrude swears—oddly enough, in English—loudly. For example: “fucking bitch owes me cocksucker two hundred thousand fucking cunt!” And then she adeptly rips a patch of hair from my body. And then she answers the phone and chats for a few minutes in Russian while I lie there, shivering. I hear some people are really into hearing that sort of language whilst naked and spread-eagle. At least now I know I’m not one of them. But regardless of the night terrors, my intense Gertrude loyalty always brings me back for more. Yes, it’s mostly because she’s ridiculously skilled, but also because she’s convinced that someday soon, I’m going to find the man who makes all her work worthwhile.

“You very good girl, Michelle,” she coos into my hopeful eyes, “Pretty, nice girl.” She smiles. “Now turn over!” she barks. Oh, I’ve heard that one before.

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