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My war against body hair has been waging for more than a decade. On their thirteenth birthday, most girls get a bra or a nice pair of earrings or some other symbol of imminent womanhood. I got a kit of DIY hair bleach. You see, dear readers, I have Mediterranean blood in my family tree. There are some perks to being Mediterranean, but all these benefits are countered by the most horrendous con of all: body hair. I think I have an entire chromosome dedicated to being as swarthy as possible.
This isn’t the kind of hairy where you say, “I look so gross,” when in reality you have a few blonde hairs that are only visible with a hand lens. No, this is the kind of hairy that goes from zero to Frida Kahlo in an afternoon. This is the kind of hairy that means I not only make appointments to have my hair cut, but appointments to have my hair thinned. The force of my hair has snapped bobby pins and combs in half.
Recently, my parents took pity upon my battle of the body hair and gifted my some laser hair appointments. I was thrilled. Finally, a near permanent solution to years of bleaching, waxing, shaving, tweezing, sugaring, and threading was going to happen. I would have hours back to my week. I made my first appointment, did my research, and was ready. I knew that it would be painful, but after years of various treatments, I figured that the worst pain was in my past.
I walked in for my appointment and filled out the health survey. Then I put on a robe and sat, awaiting the technician. This was a spa day! I was given coffee, chocolate, and a plush robe. I could get used to this life. The technician entered the room and gave me a pair of futuristic glasses to protect my eyes from the lasers. She started prepping my skin with gels while drawing white lines over my body to demarcate the areas to be treated.
Then the laser came out. It looked so unassuming, like she was just going to gently wave it over my body. She applied the laser to my skin, told me she was going to do a test spot, and zapped me. Holy moly guacamole, Batman! The intensity of a 1,000 suns was on my skin. Why am I paying someone for this? How can I escape? I am going to go full “Shawshank” on this clinic and climb out of an air vent in this robe if it means I can end this appointment.
Then, after the test spot, I only had roughly 200 or so more zaps to endure. One out of 200 done. SOS. Every pore on my body was sweating. I could barely grip the armrests for support because my hands were sliding. I’ve heard that your elbows don’t have sweat glands, but I honestly think my elbows instantaneously grew sweat glands, and they, too, were sweating. I was panting and there was a wild look in my eye. My body said “dying” but my eyes said “rabies.”
My eyes were welling up–good thing I had these “Back to the Future” glasses on to conceal my pain. I was cycling through every prayer I knew: The Our Father, Hail Mary, I even threw in the Act of Contrition for kicks.
I kept telling myself that women endure childbirth and survive. If women can birth babies, then I can have a laser hit my body for a few minutes. It’s just a few minutes, right? This will be over soon.
I was squirming around, noticeably convulsing after every zap. As the laser moved to my face, my breathing became erratic. She was going to put a laser where? Isn’t fight or flight supposed to be kicking in now? I’m not supposed to feel any of this, right? But I did. I felt it so much. What I previously thought was heavy sweating was nothing compared to how drenched I was now. Again, women have given birth for years and years. I can survive this.
I’m such a wimp that I was comparing laser hair removal to childbirth, like I was going to get some sort of award for enduring this elective treatment. It was my not my finest moment.
The treatments ended and she told me that I tolerated it well. Are you kidding me? Could it have been worse? Apparently it can be. She told me that some clients sob. They just sit there sobbing. I felt better, but it didn’t change the fact that I felt like an overcooked fry.
I couldn’t wait to get dressed and flee this clinic of horrors. I scheduled my next appointment and felt victorious until the moment the technician said, “One down, nine to go.”
Nine more appointments. Nine more times of having an actual laser burning my hair into oblivion. Would I recommend laser hair removal? Yes, despite the pain, which is tremendous. But the results are spectacular. At the very least, it hurts way less than tweezing. If you have ever pulled an “As Told By Ginger” and tweezed a leg hair out of curiosity, then you know the threshold of human pain.