So here’s the thing:
Electrolysis is, for those of you who have never had the pleasure, the act of permanently removing hair from one’s face/limbs/body, via one of three ways: creating lye that eats away the follicle (galvanic method), cooking the hell out of the follicle (thermolysis), or both (blend method).
I’ve been undergoing electrolysis for about a year and a half now, sporadically at first, and then settling into a biweekly schedule in the past few months. It’s expensive ($90/hr for the 16-probe method my electrologist uses), it is painful (about on par with being continuously snapped with rubber bands by the hateful child of lazy parents) but it is permanent, and done properly and professionally, will leave my face hair free sometime next year, with occasional maintenance visits to clean up the stragglers. (I should point out here that my Electrologist, Amy, owns Permanent Enhancements and is both professional and skilled at her craft, and should receive many, many referrals from this blog if there is any sort of justice in this world. You don’t have to be a TGirl – everyone has battled, in the words of Sarah Silverman, “a bevy of unwanted hairs”).
All that said, one simply cannot avoid the fact that someone is shooting lightning into one’s face and then whipping up a batch of lye to fry the bastardly hair follicles that plague those of us girls not blessed with the smooth, hair-free complexion of a Hellenic statue (but then, we have arms in most cases, so things balance out).
Please don’t think I’m bitching (“Really? Because we thought that’s all you did, ha, ha, cough, choke, wheeze”) – I’m well aware that electrolysis is both elective and (to the unsympathetic observer) unnecessary. However, let me tell you why, on every other Tuesday, long before the crack of dawn, I find myself flat on my back in a comfy chair, my eyes shielded against both the blinding light of Amy’s magnifying lamp and the grisly sight of my own face all crazy and Hellraiser-ed out; because, for me, as well as other transgendered women (or even GG’s and guys with their own follicular freak-outs), this process may be “elective,” but it sure as hell isn’t “optional.” Every time I want to cry or kick or yell “Hulk SMASH!” and pose against the glare of the magnifying lamp, my silhouette writ large on the pastel walls of the electrolysis room in the seconds before I grab that cracked-out FryDaddy 2000 and smash it into tiny, tiny, bits, I think about how much WORSE it hurts when someone notices my shadow under my makeup, or some ingrown hair forces me to stagger through the halls of work assuring others that I am not an animal, or having to shave within 12 hours of my last shave has left me sobbing in my bathroom, blood dripping into the basin as I emulate Lady McBeth and try not to let anything caustic like air, water or fairy dust anywhere near my ravaged skin. And so I grit my teeth, lie back, and think of England. Which generally doesn’t help, because as we all know Sir Humphrey Davy, father of not only many important discoveries regarding sodium but also an early form of the modern battery, hails from there.
Ah, well – ours is not to question why, ours is but to go and fry. And fry we will, until that happy day we can look into the mirror and say “All right, I guess my face is okay, but good Lord, look at my hips!” And on that day, I shall beat my razor into a plowshare± and face the world a little stronger, a little braver, and a lot less harried.