It's 3:49pm and I'm a hair (ahem) away from being deliriously happy, seeing as how I actually made it on time to my 9th laser hair treatment, after having One Of Those Special Kind Of A.D.D. Girl Days, which has, at times, kept me from remembering I had an appointment in the first place. But I'm on time and I greet "the new chick" (who actually informs me, when I introduce myself and ask, that she's been working there since February - who knew?) with great enthusiasm, happy to see that she is equally chipper today.
And then I sit, between a pretty, size zero Asian girl who is much, much younger than anyone I've ever seen there before, and I decide - because I'm prone to such imaginative private mental assertions - that she must be waiting for an actual client, and a woman who's far more Dressed For The Occasion Than I Believe The Situation Warrants, in her super-short black and white dress, Barely Dry It's So Fresh French manicure, and heels so high she's gonna' topple onto her face any minute now. The latter, I later learn, is only waiting around to see a genuine technician since she's not quite ready to take the word for the other professional who informed her that she's not "a candidate" for laser hair treatment, since she has red hair.
I don't know what that would feel like... can't even imagine it. Since I've been "an ideal candidate" for this procedure since roughly around the time I was something like 12 years old and my bus driver made fun of my mustache as I walked off the bus that day, in front of all those other adolescent students sitting there watching that particular drama unfold.
But that was a long time ago. As was the day I walked into Ideal Image and asked them if we could talk about this whole "No More Facial Hair To Deal With" business I'd been hearing so much of on the radio.
It's been more than a year and a half that I've been going, ever-so-diligently, to my mostly-every-other-month, More Painful Than I Ever Fantasized treatments, and today was my last one, for a while at least. Nine treatments, each one with increasing amount of intensity, are included in the standard package. And yesterday, I had my ninth treatment. I think I'd like to take a break just to see what happens on my face when I'm not anticipating another treatment, plus lasers don't much like sun exposure, and did I happen to mention I live in the south where it's rapidly becoming summertime? And sometimes when you live in the south, you like to take your face into all that beaming, relentless sunshine for long stretches of time?
I've done this 8 times before today. Which is why I think it's ironic and more than a little funny - now, not then - that I forgot to use the available-by-prescription-only numbing cream prior to my treatment. Did I mention that they increase the intensity every time I go? Yea. And today was to be the N I N T H treatment? Already covered that, did I? Okay. Fine.
So yea, I'm all excited at having made it there on time, and I sit in the waiting area, pull out my book and start reading. And I read. And read. And read. It's ages before The New To Me Friendly Chick comes in and says that, regrettably, there's going to be a delay of at least 20 minutes more. Super Fancy Red Haired Chick decides she's waited long enough for her second opinion, and pretty, young, Asian chick left (sure enough, with a new client who's excited to have signed her new contract,) ages ago. Meanwhile, I'm still here with my book. (I later learn that the client who's arrived before me requires extra consideration not customarily provided here, but to which she's become accustomed elsewhere, and since she's having her entire legs lasered, the extra consideration more than doubles the time of her appointment. Thereby delaying my own much-anticipated-then-rushed-to-like-a-bat-out-of-hell appointment.)
But check this out: just about the time Friendly Not-New After All Girl tells me she's really sorry but I'll NOT be starting on time, I have this realization. Which is this: I have not remembered to rub the prescription-strength numbing cream on my face. Which is about to be attacked by intense pulses of laser light. Which hurts. A lot. Even when you have put numbing cream on your skin.
So I explain my oversight, and New Super Nice Person Who Is Now About To Become My Best Friend takes me back to a treatment room and hooks me up with two ice packs.
Which, it turns out, is more than a little tricky to juggle when you're trying to wrap them around your face and chin Just So while continuing to breathe through your nose AND read your book and take an occasional sip of the complementary espresso.
We worked it out. I got my Laser Friend, finally freed up by Laser Treatment Princess Customer to give me the squeezie balls and did my best with the Mind Over Matter tricks you hear so much about, and in the end, it really didn't matter - the time passed and I've been lasered and now I'm telling you all about it. Some might call it a cautionary tale, but all I can tell you is that despite the pain, laser hair treatment is totally worth the pain, the cost, the extra need for scheduling and rare delays. It's been ages since I've spent great lengths of time thinking about unwanted hair at all, questioning why, if God was gonna' make some women hairier than the ones on the cover of Vogue and Harper's Bazzar, he couldn't have put them down in a society that thinks facial hair is a sexy or at least desirable visual trait to possess, and wondering if I was ever going to be able to actually follow through with my dreams of achieving, if not permanent hair loss, then at least significant hair reduction.
It's worth it. Period. Hand's down. It. Is. Worth. It. Ask me again in a few months, I'm sure I COULD change my mind, but I'm not expecting to. My decision has yielded amazing outcomes and at least at this point in the game, I'd recommend it to anybody. Unless, of course, you have red hair. In which case, I'm really, really sorry. Apparently you're not a candidate.