(this is annie)


I am possibly the worst beauty editor in the world because certain grooming details are of little concern to me. At a few events, I have been the only one without filler in her face or a Botoxed brow. My nails are usually bare. I run screaming from any products with nanotechnology. Looking like a number one stunna takes too much time, money, and effort. Aside from my obsession with getting clear skin and a good haircut, I am content with half-assedly cleaning up to become a number two, or even three, stunna.

This lazy attitude extends to body hair. If you really want to make the average young woman squirm uncomfortably, all you need to do is whisper the phrase "hairy thighs." She will become self-conscious because body hair makes you an undateable wildebeast who will never have any friends. As a pre-teen, I had internalized this message and thought that if only I had smooth legs, an Esprit cotton tote, and a bra, I'd become the most popular girl in school.

Betty tried to stop me. "Don't start shaving," she said. "If you do, it'll come back darker." She was right, and for the first couple of years, I inspected every square inch of my legs to see if I'd missed any stubble. Not that anybody was looking, but if they did, they'd see plenty of cuts and raging razor burn... but no hair! That was the important part.

Suffice it to say that I did not become the most popular girl in school, and my dedication to hairless skin waned over the years. (It waxed once, too, but I couldn't get the stuff off my skin, and I walked around with a chunk of green goo on my knee for three days.) I resented being expected to de-fuzz on a near-daily basis, so I started doing so only when I felt like it. Wonder of wonders, nobody seemed to care. For all I know, they're calling me Chewbacca behind my back, but not to my face. And if I'm asked about any stubble, which is rare, I tell people I have bigger fish to fry. Because I do.

And yet... It makes me feel like a terrible feminist to admit this, but I've been conditioned to prefer the look and feel of smooth skin. I enjoy the sensation of a newly shaved leg swishing against the other like silk. But I remain too lazy to shave every day, and besides, have you seen how expensive those replacement razors are?

This is why yesterday, I found myself lying naked on a dentist-style chair while a pregnant woman slathered K-Y on various parts of my body. No, I have not started a career in niche porn. Instead, I have spent a month's rent on laser hair removal. It might seem ridiculous to do so, but honestly, this may be the best shallow decision I have ever made.

This is what a session is like. I go in, strip down except for a pair of sunglasses, and then the esthetician uses a little clipper to shave any hair to be zapped. From there, the KY goes on and the laser comes out. (I assume the KY is to make the laser glide along skin smoothly.) When the machine is ready, it makes a happy electronic burbling noise that suggests a sadistic streak.

People tell you that laser hair removal feels like the snap of a rubber band. That is inaccurate. It feels like a burning needle plunging into the skin. The pain lasts only a second, and it's much more tolerable after the skin has been iced, but a rubber band snap it is not. At least it goes quickly; the underarms take less than 10 minutes total. Over the next 10 days, the hair falls out.

The pricey painful process is worth it, though, because despite not shaving my underarms in a month, there's less peach fuzz than on a 13-year-old boy's upper lip. And that's after just one session! This makes ridiculously giddy, like I have somehow outsmarted biology. It also makes for boring reading, but again, trying to do something every day.


4 Responses to “Zap!”

  1. # Blogger Chris

    Now all you need is the Espirit Cotton Tote, and your journey to the dark side will be complete. Besides, this was in no way boring reading. I laughed out loud after reading "undateable wildebeast who will never have any friends."  

  2. # Anonymous annie

    You know what's funny? I always think of Vader when I see the laser. Dark side indeed. Thanks for the nice words on wildebeast. I just looked it up and I misspelled it. Should be wildebeest. Oh, the shame.  

  3. # Anonymous Poppy K

    I am totally fascinated. Might you reveal the cost of un-hairing your armpits? I hate shaving and this sounds like a super-excellent option.  

  4. # Anonymous annie

    Usually, I think a session is around $80, depending on where you live. So it's definitely not cheap, but I think most places have frequent specials.

    I'd thought about doing this for years, so I saved up the money for it bit by bit. I have a feeling business is slow because of the economy, so the medspa offered to do the underarms for free if I bought a package (which was already 15% off). I do think they charge around $90 a session for it on its own. If you decide to do it, research the hell out of the place. Different lasers are used for different hair/skin types, and there's all this stuff about diodes vs IPL, on and on and on. Worth doing, but be an informed consumer, et cetera.

    Thus far I am very pleased with the process, and when I see the razor in the shower, I cackle and give it a Dick Cheney sneer.  

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