So when a dainty little box crossed my desk cheerfully promising an "ouchless 'down there' hair removal" experience while waxing, my eyebrow raised in both intrigue and doubt.
Developed by anesthesiologist Dr. Edna Ma at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, the BareEase & Cream kit includes a Lidocaine-based numbing cream and -- get ready for this -- an accompanying pink latex thong.
Instructions are to apply a thin layer of the aloe and jojoba-infused blend to the area that will be waxed 30 to 45 minutes before your treatment, and then to slip on the protective pepto-colored thong while going about your business -- until it's time to take care of business.
"The latex panty works in two ways: To keep your clothes mess-free and to segregate the cream from air, allowing for maximum absorption of the numbing cream into the bikini area," Dr. Ma tells me, adding that she plans to develop a non-latex version in the near future for people allergic to the stretchy material.
With the maximum four percent concentration of Lidocaine that is legally allowed to be sold over the counter contained in the blend, the name of the ingredient instantly jogged memories of the much-publicized horror story a few years back of a young woman who died of toxicity after a spa had her prep for a laser hair removal treatment by slathering Lidocaine cream all over both of her legs.
I relayed my safety concerns to the board-certified doctor, who says the amount of Lidocaine contained in the .3 ounce tube is completely safe.
"It all comes down to dosage. You can overdose on almost any given medication -- including vitamins and Tylenol -- with a high enough dose. I've intentionally packaged the cream in a small, single-use quantity so that if you ate, drank or ingested the entire tube, you would be well within the safety limits of the medication," says Ma.
While I had no plans of making a meal out of the concoction, I did want to put it to the test.
So off I went with Lidocaine and latex in tow to New York's Stark Waxing Studio, where I bravely booked a Brazilian wax -- the 'everything off' from front to back, save for an optional 'landing strip' concept that the J Sisters first brought stateside years ago.
Yes, that means the cream is entirely safe to put directly on and around your lady parts. And as such, I decided to go the full monty (pun intended) to really give the bold claims a true run for the money.
Following the instructions, I spread the light lotion-like anesthetic all over the areas that were to be treated, making sure to leave behind a thin film of the odorless, teal-colored preparation. I then sealed the deal with the snug latex thong, and took off for my appointment feeling like I had slipped into a day in the life of Samantha Jones.
The immediate mushy feeling of latex married to cream made me gingerly take wide steps, like a three-year-old wearing Pull-Ups a size too big. As I walked down the busy sidewalk of Ninth Avenue with taxis honking in the background and pedestrians scurrying through the crosswalks, I was acutely aware of anyone who so much as looked my way -- and I wondered if it was because they knew what naughty experiment I was up to.
Thankfully, the smooshy sensation dissipated after about five minutes, and I once again regained my confident stride -- and dignity. The instructions say that you may feel a mild tingling sensation as the active ingredient goes to work, but I felt nothing - and wondered if that meant the product was doing anything at all.
After I checked in at the waxing studio, I made a beeline to the ladies room to wipe off what remained of the cream, and to discreetly dispose of the protective thong cover, which rolled down like a clammy swimsuit bottom.
The moment of truth had arrived.
After I laid back on the table and esthetician Lura Jones spread sticky seaweed green French wax on my skin, I could feel the enveloping warmth, and instantly assumed confirmation that the cream hadn't worked. I felt my hopes drop, and the wax hadn't even begun.
Then Jones gently pulled my skin taut, lifting the edge of one of the pieces of wax with her other hand -- and I instinctively braced for the slash of pain to come right before she let 'er rip.
Except there was no pain.
And immediately after, another rip. And again, no pain!
As she drew closer to more sensitive areas, I kept anticipating that the next section would register that familiar 'ouch!' and ache, but I was only met with what could be described as a faint tinge of prickles at worst. It was by leaps and bounds the most manageable wax of my life.
Jones suggested that next time I come in with one side numbed, and one side untreated, to truly feel the difference in pain level. I thought this sounded like an idea that someone who isn't getting waxed would have.
As ethereal as my experience was, there's one drawback: The kit costs $25, and is made for one application. My realistic side tried to nudge Dr. Ma to give a little, to perhaps relinquish that any extra cream could be capped shut and used a second time. However, the doctor was adamant that the kit was only safe and sanitary for a single use.
So here's what it comes down to: Is a pain-free bikini wax worth an additional $25 to you?
Let's just say I'm tossing those extra pennies into the piggy bank from here on in.
And for the latest news on another intimate area, check out our investigation of the new 24-hour rapid recovery breast augmentation.