Last night, I had dinner with a beauty editor — we ate too much sushi and talked about stories I might be able to write for her. All of which has gotten me thinking about the beauty treatments I've had that were most worth the money and time and effort. And PAIN.

I like to think of myself as relatively low-maintenance, beauty-wise. I don't wear much makeup. (Only foundation, mascara, and lipstick — and only when I'm going out at night.) I absolutely refuse to paint my nails. I never blow-dry my hair. I think your skin looks great for about two hours after a facial, sure, but mostly, they're a complete waste.

Nonetheless, I have indulged in a few very costly beauty treatments — but I tell myself they were investments because they have long-lasting value. And they've relieved a lot of my body anxieties.

(Um, MALE READERS ... Could you please stop reading?)

Now, without further ado, here are the three most worthwhile treatments I've ever gotten.

1. Total laser hair removal down there.

Call me antifeminist, call me a porn-star wannabe, call me anything you want — but realize you can no longer call me Big Ol' Hairy Bush Lady. I am now bald below the belt. And my goodness, ladies, what a relief! It feels so clean and nice. Has any dude totally creamed over the totally bald look? No. In fact, no one has gone out of his way to remark on it either way. In fact, a fair number of men I know claim they prefer some hair to none at all. But I am a million times happier now that I have not a single hair down below.

2. Total laser hair removal everywhere else.

It's gone, gone, gone — from toes to elbows. Yes, gentle readers — I used to have some hair on my toes, even. In addition to my forearms, thighs, calves, underarms, and even my upper lip. I mean, it was a problem. This is what happens when you are a pale girl with dark hair and a lot of Irish DNA. It was costly and painful and time-consuming to get it all removed but I feel incalculably more body confident now than I used to. If I had to do it all over again ... I'd do it all over again.

3. Joining a fancy gym.

For years and years, I belonged to a certain YMCA in Brooklyn — where the machines are always in disrepair and certain dudes are always dropping the weights loud enough that I'm sure they are causing me hearing damage. The light is so harsh (think high school auditorium or group dressing room at Marshalls) that I always look truly vomitous in the mirrors.

Recently, though, some nice PR lady gave me a free temporary membership to the fanciola gym in town, Equinox. This place makes me swoon. Lord knows, I don't need any additional motivation to get to the gym, but if I did, well, I'd be 10 times more likely to spend a night at Equinox than at the Y. The lighting is flattering — and low, which seems to make the place cooler, which makes me work out longer. (At the Y, where it's all windows, I get so disgustingly hot, I give up on the cardio fast.) The machines are better. The trainers are better — so that even though I don't pay to use one, just from watching them, I pick up good workout tricks. I generally feel like a sexier human because I belong to this sexy place. Whenever the freebie runs out, I'm totally coughing up the extra dough for a real membership. Not least because of all the hot guys running around in their little gym shorts.

(NOTE: I used American Laser Center , and I have mixed feelings about my experience with them. Main problem: I thought the "packages" I bought ensure a lifetime of maintenance, but they didn't. I also didn't understand until I was about halfway through my packages that I was supposed to be getting treatments on a fairly strict time schedule for best results. Still, they did mostly remove the hair.)

What Do You Think?