Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Electrolysis in the Land of Vlad the Impaler

It seems strangely appropriate to come to Romania in search of electrolysis.  Anyone who relishes the idea of having electrified needles inserted into one's face thousands and thousands of times should have a natural affinity for the land where Vlad the Impaler once reigned.

Someone once told me that only a true transsexual enjoys facial hair removal by electrolysis.  If that is true, then I rate a 10 by this criterion.  In the U.S. I have used three different electrologists for a total of about 15 hours of electrolysis.  Each electrologist was skilled and wonderful, and a special bond begins to form as you lie there and the two of you share the stories of your lives.  Each little electrical shock feels like a victory, a turning back of the clock, and a step into a new future.  200 hours and up is the norm for removal of all facial hair, and it can go on for months, a year, or longer.   At an average of $100/hour in the Washington, DC, area, this can be the most expensive part of a male-to-female transition.

What shocked me -- figuratively, not literally this time -- is that finding an electrologist in Bucharest has been difficult.  Laser hair removal is given the hard sell at almost all plastic surgery and dermatology clinics.  When one asks for electrolysis, the response is a surprised one, usually along the lines of, "We haven't done that in years."  For anyone of a certain age whose facial hair is already 80% white and gray, laser is a useless waste of time and money.  It only works on dark hairs.

The Magic Machine of a Thousand Needles
Last winter I found one clinic offering electrolysis, and I went for a test run.  My face was a swollen, bloody mess after only 30 minutes of electrolysis, and for days I had to make up stories about my "shaving accident."  Worse than that, all the hair grew right back!  The electrologist, actually a plastic surgeon, readily admitted that I was her first client for electrolysis in three years.  After that I thought I was doomed to doing electrolysis on the slow plan on my occasional trips back to the U.S.  Surely I could complete the process by the end of my next lifetime, couldn't I?

Mirela, the best electrologist in Bucharest
I was thrilled last week, however, to find Mirela, an electrologist at an out of the way clinic who has been doing electrolysis for 30 years.  Her equipment is old but not outdated, and she has the same skilled hands that I came to expect in the U.S.  Her hourly rate is 80 lei, about $27.  In the weeks and months to come, I will be pushing for every hour she can give me and that my face can take.  At the moment, after 1.5 hours electrolysis yesterday, I still look a bit like Richard Nixon with his jowls, but that is the price we willingly pay.  The swelling will subside, and in its place there will be a smoothness I have not known in 40 years.

So "Hurrah!" for Mirela, the best and perhaps only electrologist in Bucharest.  (You can find her at

No comments:

Post a Comment