I believed them. Why not? Epilady was the hottest-selling personal product of 1989. It was the rage at the Consumer Electronics Show. Stores couldn’t keep it on the shelves.

So, I believed them. I suppose I wanted to. To shave or not to shave has always been a question. It’s a debate entrenched at the very heart of adolescent sexuality, and it continues into adulthood, mom’s reproachful gaze replaced by his. Will I or won’t I? I know what he prefers, and I know what I prefer.

Was Epilady Ultra the answer? I tried it. And now what I want to know is this: did he write the copy for these ads?

No, of course he didn’t. But his best friends did.

“Circle gently, and hair’s gone with a little tingle.” An adman’s description of a metal coil plucking the hairs from my leg, hair by hair, root by root.

And they say shaving’s medieval.

“Epilady Ultra removes the hair safely and naturally from the root.” Natural? God thought hair was natural. That’s why He put it in all those places.

“If you experience some discomfort, be patient.” Their discomfort is my pain. Did words fail them? Perhaps they couldn’t bring themselves to describe the yanking out of tiny little hairs with metal teeth. One by one.

“Discomfort decreases with use.” Discomfort ceases with no use.

“Touch-ups are heavenly, because you can remove hair that’s only 1/16″ long.” Dante was first with this idea, folks: when you get no respite, you’re in hell.

Naturally, I wanted to return this item. Sixty-nine dollars and excruciating pain were not my idea of a “beauty breakthrough.” After one unnatural experience, this product didn’t seem like an essential personal item.

Questions. Yes, indeed. I called 800-444-LEGS. “Be patient,” she offered.

“Marilyn,” I said, “do you sell novocaine?” She breathed sexily into the phone.

“Can I bring this thing back?”

“No,” she purred. “Health reasons.”

Mine or theirs?