Friday, January 14, 2011

Probity Probes

Today I was anally penetrated by a laser.

Well, I exaggerate.


I have been thinking about laser hair removal for several years. The expense, the rumoured pain, the scary sounding name, the fact it's permanent and I might yet want to audition for a role in 'Planet of the Apes', all delayed this decision.

Shaving my bikini line, however, is a pain in the .... yes exactly. I get ingrowing hairs, red blisters, bumps and soreness whenever I even wave a razor below my navel. The local pool or beach inhabitants have the choice of their companion looking like she lost her cat in her swim suit or she has some terrible highly infectious disease. Take your pick.

All of this sent me to a clinic downtown for a free consultation. The cost --for those interested-- is $200 a session for this area of your body and you need 4-5 sessions for permanency, approximately two months apart.  There's no denying it's a hefty sum to put down, especially for something that is fundamentally a cosmetic procedure. This was the key reason I'd waited several years. On a plus point, you pay per session and each time you go, the hair re-growth is less. So if I had to stop for financial reasons, I'd still get some benefit.

Feeling brave for 2011, I made my first appointment for today after work. The clinic was a small place that doubled as a doctor's surgery (always reassuring). I went into the consultation room and ... well, dropped my pants. Both the American and British kind. My socks were long ones that came up to my knees with silver stars on them. I kept them on. The ridiculousness of this amused me.

The laser is actually not a laser at all but an intense pulse of (full spectrum) light that destroys the roots of the hair below the surface. It's a hand-held device that looks a lot like a supermarket barcode reader. Before we started, I had to read the obligatory safety warnings which frankly scared the hell out of me, rather like they do before I ride simulators at theme parks. It was the usual; I understand that I can expect soreness / the treatment might not be effective / it might be painful / I might spontaneously combust or turn into a giant cabbage etc etc.

Completely spooked, I asked to have the laser tried first on my leg since that seemed a far less scary area. In that region, I barely felt it and hesitantly agreed to continue. After all, I reasoned, if it was too painful I could just run away... screaming, half-naked, down the snow-packed street. No problem.

I was told it would feel like a snap from an elastic band and that wasn't a bad description. It actually sounds quite like that, but I would suggest an analogy with a pin prick or a pinch. While not agonising by any means, it wasn't pleasant. I think part of the issue is that discomfort in that bodily area is sufficiently uncommon it sends off a chorus of alarm bells. Still, the woman doing this was very nice and stopped whenever I said I wanted a break. In total, it took about half an hour, and would have been quicker if I'd just shut up and played 'Plants vs Zombies' on my iPhone and let her get on with it.

If anyone does think of following in my footsteps here, my only advice is to shave/wax well before hand. If the laser hits a hair, it does give you a zap that stings.



As I got dressed, I was given advice about aloe and ice.

"Don't use a solid ice pack." I was instructed. "It numbs all sensation so you can't feel anything."

.... Numbs all sensation in an area that's sore? I really had no problem with this at all.

"Then you can't feel when it gets too cold. A previous client of mine did this and got frost bite. She had to go to the hospital."

Eeeeeeeeek! Eek.

"So just use a bag of frozen vegetables."

Noted. In fact, I have to say, it's not at all bad. I walked half-way home (about 1 km) before a convenient looking bus appeared without being particularly bothered. Now I'm just sitting as instructed with a bag of frozen peas between my legs thinking...

I am never eating these.

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