I would like to remove the hair from my butt, but it's hard to fit the razor in my cleavage. Which depilatories are safe for the area?
--Hairy Butt Blues
After reading your to-the-point letter, HBB, the old, insensitive, helpful Dan Savage would have found the safest, quickest way to rid yourself of yer wiry ol' butt hairs and advised you to do just that. The new, sensitive, unhelpful Dan Savage, on the other hand, does not believe that anyone should chop off any of their beautiful-as-God/Goddess-intended-them-to-be body parts, however pesky, putrid, or piddling. If wiry ass whiskers, long labia, and skanky foreskins weren't lovely and scrumptious and functional, well, then God/Goddess would not have filled our ass cracks with ass whiskers or decorated our genitals with stray ribbons of flesh.
Before you pluck even one of your precious ass whiskers, HBB, I want to implore you to reconsider. Don't alter your ass! Alter your attitude! Ass whiskers are beautiful, man! Why, my boyfriend's ass crack is the loveliest thing I've ever seen and it looks for all the world (or just for me, actually) like there's a small, yappy dog tucked between his ass cheeks. (Lord knows it sounds like there's a yappy dog in there sometimes.) And I love it! Hairy ass crack! Celebrate it, man!
All righty then, on the off chance the above didn't shake your resolve to be rid of those ass whiskers, HBB, I contacted Scott Hughes at Laser's Edge in Lake Oswego, Oregon, just outside Portland. According to Scott, laser hair removal and electrolysis are the only permanent FDA-approved hair-removal procedures on the market. Other methods of hair removal are temporary, and most depilatories are "chemical processes," i.e., they burn off hair and aren't recommended for use in "sensitive areas," i.e., crotches and ass cracks.
Laser hair removal, Scott told me, is safe anywhere you can shine a light. How does it work? During electrolysis, a doc sticks a small needle into each hair follicle and gives you a painful little zap. "The electricity disables the follicle," Scott explained. "Laser treatments, on the other hand, cover a larger area, using laser energy to disable many follicles at once. In the short run, laser treatments are more expensive, but it takes far fewer treatments to get the job done, so you wind up saving money." Costs range from $89 to $350 per treatment depending on the size of the area--just how big is your ass crack, HBB?--and it takes on average five treatments to clear the average ass crack of an average amount of ass whiskers.
Do they laser much ass crack at Laser's Edge? "Genital and other sensitive-area treatments are quite common," said Scott. "Probably about 20 percent of our work is in sensitive areas." What's the most common sensitive area Laser's Edge lasers? "Women's bikini lines. Most women who come in want to leave a little patch and that's it. Most of the men who come in have hair removed from the shafts of their penises, but we have done and do do rear ends as well." You do do rear ends? "Yes, we do." Does the staff enjoy lasering ass crack? "We have a staff of five RNs and one physician, and they're all professionals. It may not be anyone's favorite area to treat, but again, they're all professionals."
OK, let's say one of Laser's Edge's professionals is running a hot laser up and down someone's hairy ass crack. Suddenly the patient cuts this huge fart. Would the laser ignite the fart, setting the Laser's Edge professional alight and burning down the clinic? "That's never happened. I would suggest that anyone having the treatment done in that particular area refrain from passing gas until the laser treatment is over, if only out of common courtesy for the person administering the treatment."
I occasionally rent porn from my neighborhood porn video store. Someday I may want to run for city council or congress. What expectation of privacy should I have? How long do video stores keep records of their customers' rentals?
--Man About Madison
"If he's a member, we keep records forever," said Steve at Selective Video in Madison, Wisconsin, "but they're completely confidential." How secure are the records, though? Would your future political enemies be able to break in and steal your records? "If you really have a problem renting tapes, or if the people you want to vote for you might have a problem with it, you probably shouldn't rent porn at all. But I don't see what the big deal is. Porn is huge. All the people he would be hoping to get votes from are probably customers here too."
I'm a 47-year-old SBM. I've been addicted to porn-viewing booths since 1981. In that time I've gone from straight to limited bisexuality. I love full sex with women; kissing, intercourse, breast sucking, and oral sex. With men, I focus on oral sex only. I've come to like the taste of come so much that I've developed a strange fetish. I've started looking around on the floor of different booths for fresh come. When I find some, I lock the door and lick it off the floor. Then I go home and masturbate. I've never seen or heard of anyone else doing this and I can't stop this new addiction. Please list the diseases I could catch, if only to help me find the courage to stop.
--Helpless Before My Addiction
There are two good reason why you haven't heard of anyone else doing this--this--thing you do, HBMA. First, it's so fucking disgusting that no one who does it would or should admit to it in public. Second, it's so fucking disgusting that no one who doesn't do it wants to hear about it.
But in answer to your question (what diseases could you catch?), well, you'd have to lick a lot of come off a lot of floors, but it's conceivable that you could contract HIV doing this--this--thing you do. According to Barak Gaster, Savage Love's long-suffering medical advisor, licking floors without come on them is actually pretty safe. "There is a lot of paranoia about germs that you can catch from dirt, like a dirty floor, probably more than is warranted by reality," said Barak. "The diseases people get are by and large spread from person to person or from bad drinking water. Stuff on the floor is not that big a risk."
However, in Barak's medical opinion, people should avoid licking come off floors. HIV is a relatively hearty virus, and if the come you're licking up is at all fresh, well, you could be licking up active viruses. "I would call what this man is doing pretty high-risk behavior," said Barak. "And there's also hepatitis B to worry about. Although hep B is mostly a blood-borne illness, it's also spread through semen. And hep B is extremely transmissible. It takes very, very few virus particles to infect a person with hep B. It takes several thousand HIV particles to create much risk of infection, but with hep B as few as five particles are enough to give you a significant risk of contracting it." Hep B, of course, will eventually knock out your liver and can kill you just as dead as AIDS. Barak did agree that you're probably already suffering from what could be--if we're lucky--a terminal case of cooties.
Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.