I was sugared for the first time (and honestly, probably not the last) for work and I didn't even regret all my life choices.
I did it for the Facebook views, for National Men's Health Week, and most importantly, for the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, where I will be riding a float this weekend.
So it looked like I needed to get some stuff off my chest.
Instead of waxing, I thought sugaring would be an interesting alternative: Ancient Egyptians, obsessed with removing as much hair from their bodies as possible by any means necessary, found that when you mixed sugar, citrus juice and water together in the right proportions, you get a globular sticky ball that's perfect for ripping out your hair by its roots.
I'd read in pamphlets that sugaring is gentler than waxing, organic (just sugar, lemon juice and water -- you can technically eat it) and lasts a lot longer than other treatments.
I'll be honest, I was scared. A male stripper I'd previously interviewed told me sugaring was more painful than piercing his nipples or appearing in BDSM videos.
The crew and I walked past a law office and another office with "Catastrophe" in its name and entered the salon: a pink cloud of a room and model of sterilized comfort.
Daria Afanaseva, the salon's founder, introduced me to Kisha N., an esthetician she described as the resident men's specialist, and assured me this would be no "40-Year Old Virgin" waxing situation.
Kisha heated a tub of amber-hued sugar in a microwave and told me that about 25 percent of their customers are guys who get everything sugared: Chest, arms, back, stomach, butt crack, legs or even the "manzilian."
I'm happy for those guys, but we were just going to do the chest and stomach, I said, and reclined onto the table. Kisha gently dusted my torso with baby powder to get it as dry as possible, and smeared the sugar glob onto my stomach. It hurt -- like someone rolling melted Jolly Ranchers around in your chest hair (Daria doesn't recommend you sugar yourself at home, because of the pain factor).
Kisha yanked the sugar away, pulling my hair with it, and quickly rubbed the bald spot with her hand to sooth it. She repeated the process in 5-inch (or so) sections until she had removed all my hair.
The lower you go, the more it hurts -- I don't know how anyone ever gets a Brazilian. My nipples were sore (at one point after sugaring my right breast, Kisha assuringly whispered 'it's still there'"). But honestly, it didn't hurt that badly! Like someone slowly pulling duct tape off your body over and over again until you are suddenly bald.
When all my hair was out (it took about 20 minutes), Kisha wiped me clean with a towelette infused with tea tree oil, and Daria recommended a body scrub made with coffee, sand, coconut oil and honey to prevent ingrown regrowth.
I'm telling you: My translucently pale, sun-starved chest might be too white for bare eyes, but it has never been smoother.