My L.A. mom friends include a former editor at Forbes Magazine, an architect, a lawyer from the Slovak Republic, a child development expert, a public relations manager and a screenwriter (c’est moi) whose last job included interviewing two war correspondents on the front lines in Iraq. Recently, at one of our No-Kids gatherings, a hot-button topic rose to the fore.
Or, to be perhaps a little less gratuitous, what to do about our bikini lines before summer? There was an array of opinions. The PR Mommy prefers to Nair her Hair but some of us worried about the bio-chemical load so near our nether regions. The Screenwriter fell into the shaving camp, but admitted to little bumps from ingrown hairs and a certain spiky, off-putting quality to the razored flesh. Wax on, wax off was the most popular method of getting rid of unsightly hair. But not with those of us of Irish-Czech origin who have the kind of hearty hair that’s meant to be shorn and woven into long-johns to stave off the coldest winters and comfort one during potato famine. That person – who shall remain nameless – said her one experience with waxing was more painful than having her uterus taken out of her body during her two cesareans.
There was a moment of silence to honor the gravity of such a claim. Then a thought came to me … what about Laser Hair Removal??
Here is a jumble of the immediate responses offered: It doesn’t really work and could turn your lady hairs orange. It could scar and disfigure you, frightening away visitors. It might hurt really, really bad! It’s too expensive.
There it is, the real reason we were all reluctant to be laser-ed –- Privileged Guilt. How could any of us be so frivolous after subscribing to NPR?
Immediately my rationalizations kicked in. “I support many charities. I’m a mostly loving wife. I ‘m raising two little people who will hopefully be solid citizens one day. Don’t I deserve to rock a smooth bikini line? Even if I no longer wear bikinis?”
To the group I assessed how much buying new razors, bottles of Nair and waxing sessions would cost amortized over the next forty years (assuming we’ll still care by then). Guess what? Turns out getting a few sessions of laser hair removal that’ll last for time and all eternity is actually a bargain! And it’s environmental. No sloughing off chemicals in the shower or adding pink plastic Daisy razors to that mass of garbage the size of Texas that’s floating in the ocean.
I decided to be the group guinea pig.
Three days later I found myself — my Woman Garden shaved into the shape I desired — standing outside of Kalologie Skincare on chi chi South Robertson Avenue in the heart of Beverly Hills. It’s a glass-faced, well-appointed little boutique on the same decadent stretch of street where Paris, Lindsey and all the equally bedeviled stars (Charlie Sheen?) shop at Kitson and Lisa Kline. As I entered Kalologie I thought an alarm would sound and a voice would yell over the P.A., “Unworthy fringe dweller, eject, eject!” Instead I was greeted kindly by two aestheticians that made Angelina Jolie look homely.
One of them introduced herself as Terese in an intriguing obscure accent. Prussian? Lithuanianesque? She would be the glamazon administering the StarLux System® by Palomar to my porcu-bush.
Unveiling my nakedness before Terese felt a little like the humiliation someone felt in the 7th grade girls’ locker room — (when she had a bad case of pimples on her chest and these tiny pewling A-cups and painfully skinny legs that’d been compared to stick bug legs by Mike Carter) –- and this someone had to strip off her P.E. clothes to put on her street clothes rendering her partially NAKED in front of 8th grader Kate Quindley who looked like Brigitte Bardot circa the French New Wave era.
“Follow me,” Terese husked. We entered the laser room. She explained the procedure and asked me to undress and put on the paper robe after she left the room. I leapt from my clothes and atop the medical table so she wouldn’t catch me mid-costume change, then cocooned myself inside the paper robe. After a moment of suspended animation Terese returned. She donned the kind of black glasses you’d wear welding outside in August in Phoenix.
Thus obscured, Terese directed me to open my robe. Can I just say here:
IT’S WEIRD TO MEET A STRANGER AND TWO MINUTES LATER HAVE THEM LOOKING AT YOUR VAGINA! Unless it’s George Clooney. But I digress.
Terese administered a numbing cream to all surfaces to be lasered. I began to panic because the places she numbed still felt feely. Had the evil possibly Serbian Terese just applied Vaseline hoping for the Placebo Effect. Was this going to hurt like a motha?
Terese extracted the laser “wand” from its holster. She said it would feel like an electrical “snapping” against my skin, no more painful than someone snapping me lightly with a rubber band. “Let’s do this thang!” I said.
The laser “wand” felt oddly, yet reassuringly cold against my shrinking flesh and it was just as Terese said, each click of the wand felt like a little rubber band snapping my skin. There were a few places – which shall remain unidentified – that were more sensitive than others and which may have extracted a small yelp from me, but overall it was painless.
After Terese cleaned me off and put a soothing powder on all treated regions I dressed slowly and sauntered out. I’d purchased the recommended six sessions spaced one month apart – as hair follicles grow in cycles and each follicle has to be zapped – with the promise that I could continue to come free for up to three years if I wasn’t satisfied with the results.
I completed the six sessions and noticed a substantial decrease in hair in the treated areas. I did go back for two extra free sessions, but life got too busy to continue after that so I stopped. I’m left with an ALMOST (88.2%) completely hair free bikini line. Unfortunately I seemed to’ve shaved myself a bit crooked so the lady-scaping’s Zigs when it should Zag, but apart from that I’m thrilled with the results.
I’ve found myself on several occasions pulling my pants down in a group of moms to show them my bare bikini line. Then they pull their pants down and show me how they’re growing their hair out to get it waxed. Or how the Nair gave them a rash. One evening my husband accidentally entered the living room during my book club and walked smack into the lawyer’s brief-clad bottom as she was bending over to pull her pants back up.
Whether hair or bare, you gotta love your mommy friends.