Trigger warning: there are discussions of genitals and other potentially sensitive topics in this post.
One might find it odd that someone who actually pays for lashings could have ended up in such a predicament. She said, “we’ll start where it hurts less first,” which was the side of my face, the sideburns.
It has been a few months now that I have been going for laser treatments to my genital area in preparation for eventual surgery. The famous up-cycling of the penis into a vagina.
[Until the medical establishment realises that a clitoris is more than a nubbin poking out and is as vast as Anapurna, the up-cycling is under-egged. I asked my doctor whether there is a surgeon out there “playing” with natal stem cells, growing organs, and could they perhaps not direct their efforts to growing a clitoris. Why stop there? A uterus. These seem like eminently practical next steps, but sadly he knew of none. If there is a doctor out there who would like a guinea pig, DM me please. I have natal stem cells at the ready].
As part of these laser treatments, I soon decided that I might as well do my face. After all, a close shave is hardly close compared to a woman’s skin. And no, I don’t ever get 5 o’clock shadow, as I am too fair. For those of you who know the laser game, fair spells trouble for lasers. Laser still hurts like heck. The smell of burning hair is still evident. It still feels like your face is being pricked by a thousand needles—my number one kink phobia. The trouble with fair, positive in every other instance, is that the laser needs hair pigment to do its job. What has happened to me in the wake of laser is that my beard growth has turned completely white (ditto my hair down there), which gives a new meaning to being a Snow White.
If there is one thing I really love about being a man, or rather, loved, and rather, enjoyed pretending about being a man, was shaving. Not the act of scraping a blade across my face, no that was a pain. It was the accessories. The beautiful razors, the potions and creams to fluff up with a boar’s hair brush, the bone handles, the bracing splash of an aftershave, the delicious scent of melograno from the Santa Maria Novella post-shave soothing face cream I use, Crema Pre e Dopo Barba—all those things, the accessories of manhood. I have the same feeling towards certain other men’s accessories, an umbrella from Fox in the City of London, a Dupont gold cigar lighter that pings with musicality when you open it, even the necktie, Hermes of course. And there you have it in a nutshell–the best of being a man for me was the accessories of manhood.
Men have so few rituals of being a peacock in the modern world, and yet male biology is made for display, to primp and preen to attract a mate. I wonder how many social ills are related to this simple error in society, how more healthy mating ritual might be, how diminished the anger of incels might be, if men dressed to impress as part of the steady parade in front of the female gaze?
Letting go of this ritual aspect of masculinity became an important and obvious step to me. It is for vanity, whereas the laser to my groin is for surgical prep, it felt just as important. My beautician seems to know what she is doing, and explained to me that we were going to cause as much damage to the hair follicles as possible, between laser and waxing, back and forth, weakening the roots until they died. Oestrogen is also helping, as hair does not grow the same from tissue fed a diet of female hormones.
But nobody told that to the tenacious hair follicles who have been busy gathering strength after decades of shaving the face. After she tore the first wax she had placed on my side burns I felt like someone had just punched my face. It stung something awful. My thoughts went straight to endorphins and a hope that they would kick in fast. I also began to think about what would be the most painful and concluded it would be my moustache area.
In truth, to say that one area was more painful than another is absurd. It all hurt like nothing I have ever felt…perhaps worst was the chin area, all of it, which necessitated several really strong pulls to get the dang hairs out because they were hanging on so tight…and as she noted, “wow, the roots are quite fat.” Most of my follicles bled. My face was on fire from pain.
The neck was really bad too, because the skin is so much more stretchy, that getting the wax off felt like having my neck skin torn off with it. After about 6 or 7 pulls of the wax, I said, “I don’t think this is an experience to repeat.”
People say that waxing the body is painful. Not at all. That isn’t pain. This was by far the most painful thing I have ever experienced. Okay, plenty of women have ripped my guts out and stomped on them—that’s a kind of emotional pain which I seem to cultivate and seek out. But I’ve never broken anything, never been operated on, never been to the hospital other than to watch my mother die. No, I have lived a sheltered life. I don’t know pain.
And pity the man who speaks of pain to a woman who knows true pain, the pain of childbirth and can laugh at what a wimp he is, but also how he is able to big it up, as if it is the worst thing in the world. I shall never get to experience the pain of childbirth, which for this transwoman would be the most desirable thing ever, but respect for the point of view that I don’t know what I’m talking about. What I can say is that since switching over to oestrogen, I can take pain at levels not before contemplated.
How do I know? Whippings. You see, slave boy me was spanked, punched, flogged, but only rarely and rather lightly whipped. The “she” who wielded the instruments of my undoing would see from my breathing when I had had enough. My lust for whippings, even though I am not at all a pain slut, has gone up, but so has my ability to take it. If ‘ability’ is the right word.
On a fairly recent outing, I was tied to a steel frame and whipped soundly. Her stated desire was to leave me with souvenirs of our meeting, and she covered my back and the backs of my legs with the stinging stripes of the whip. I did not flinch, whimper, or cry. She complimented me after. You want to know how yummy praise can be?
I was thinking these foolish thoughts of pride as I was being tortured by my beautician, that I could “take it” and finding in truth that I could not. The pain was more than I could handle. My eyes watered, but I didn’t cry. At least not then.
But when she left the room the thoughts tumbled upon me like a stack of empty cardboard boxes, suddenly, overwhelmingly, and totally out of control…and I began to sob. And I sat in that chair and cried like a baby. Everything was suddenly so hard. Everything came rushing upon me, and I felt terribly sorry for myself. After a few minutes or two of this, I dried my eyes, and she came back.
I don’t know whether she knew what had happened, whether this happens with other clients, but I could see that she saw my eyes, probably red from crying. She applied arnica and lavender oil to my face, sun cream, and sent me on my way. I can’t do that again even if it gets easier each time. That was a level of pain that is more than I can face.
It’s good to know my limits.
After, with a sore, red face, I wandered around town and window-shopped with my children, and then went out to dinner with friends. Just the kind of therapy I needed. Today, 24 hours later, however, my face still feels as if I was slapped into submission.
This was the most painful thing I have experienced. Laugh not. As I will never experience the joys of pregnancy and childbirth, I cannot contemplate the ultimate marker of pain…but here the imbalance between euphoria and pain was so great that I won’t be doing it again.