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Colette Fitzpatrick: Bikini line topiary is not for the fainthearted. My friend came out walking like John Wayne

A gift of a voucher for a beauty salon left me deliberating which particular beauty regime I'm prepared to undergo. They're not called regimes for nothing.

Waxing is out for now. Last time I underwent this martyrdom, I was landed with the beauty school dropout. "No pain, no gain," she said, as she waxed with purpose.

All women know that bikini line topiary is not for the fainthearted. A pal said she left her last wax walking like John Wayne.

The Brazilian bikini wax is where your therapist does a little off roading. A colleague told me about a pal of hers who lived in New York for far too long amongst models and modelisers. Brazilians were a part of her monthly maintenance. "I was with you last month," she told one therapist. As the torturer -- sorry, therapist -- began the task in hand, she looked up and said, "oh now I recognise you ... ."

The worst waxing story I heard is unprintable here.

But I direct you to the world wide web. Put the words 'worst waxing story ever' into Google and wince.

Becoming less hirsute is not the only 'treatment' on the corner of agony and affliction. Facials can be just as perilous, particularly if your therapist decides to have a go at a couple of blemishes. Ouch!

The beauty/pain paradox has been around for centuries. Geisha famously spread nightingales' droppings on their faces. It was discovered that kitty litter does much the same job and now beauty salons in the states are charging top dollar for kitty litter facials. DIY version -- teach your budgie to go in the cat litter.

A salon in Dublin is offering fish pedicures where live fish chomp off the rough skin and callouses on your feet. Regular pedicures can be just as off-putting -- some of the implements they use seem to be fashioned out of contraptions from the industrial age.

Eyebrow threading is said to be as painful as it sounds. Plucking, dieting, corsets, tattooing and piercings ditto.

So why do we do it?

Well, beauty might only be skin deep, but ugly goes right to the bone ...

They'll see everything in those airport scans

Mind your modesty. Oh, sorry you can't. Well, not if you happen to be travelling in or through Britain or any of the countries in which airport body scanners are installed. The best you can do is suck in your tummy.

Those in favour say the images produced aren't unlike crash test dummies. Those against say you'll effectively be subjected to a virtual strip search. Authorities in Australia have admitted your nether regions will be on show; that the scanners wouldn't work properly if you couldn't see them.

Remember, the would- be Detroit bomber had his bomb in his underpants.

Who's going to work these scanners? Will they be monitored by sexless, eunuch androids? Who owns the images? A pal suggested sticking an aluminium sign on your tummy. What would it say? 'Wanna go out some time?'

Members of the Private Party in Germany organised a 'fleshmob' to protest against the scanners last weekend, marking their bodies with messages like 'Something to hide? Be a good citizen and drop your pants'. One woman had the word 'nappy' scrawled on her lower back, with an arrow pointing to her underwear. Another had 'prosthetic' on his leg. .

Exhibitionists and naturists will be lining up, but if you rocked up naked you'd be arrested for indecent exposure.

What about celebs? Instead of snaps of them frolicking in the sea in Heat and Now magazines, scanned body images could be leaked to the press. Celeb website TMZ could post images of Hollywood glitterati who have yet to lose the baby weight.

Fine to bare all if you're a Victoria's Secret model. Most of us wear clothes as a courtesy to others. The shape and size of various parts of our bodies have been seen by an unlucky few. Scanning images of bodies mean the good, the bad and the ugly will all be snapped.

Will they ask us to lift the post- Christmas spare tyre, to have a better look; zoom in on a love handle? My scanned body might be considered dangerous to good taste.

The culture of fear that the scanners are borne from is nothing like the culture of fear most of us have when it comes to wearing nothing but a terrified expression on our face. Remember, what is seen cannot be unseen ...

Clocked this lot?

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