To shave or not to shave: That is the question. It is now August 1st, the last day of my, for lack of a better phrase, shaving celibacy. I’ve come to a crossroads. Do I take the road less traveled? Clearly my brain is muddled because I keep quoting old poets, but seriously, it’s been over a month with no razor and I’ve learned a lot. I thought this was going to be about other people but instead it became about my relationships with my body, friends and family.
Before this I NEVER had pubic hair. The moment hair started growing, I started shaving. I was not thrilled with puberty and actually hid my period from my mom for six months, but that’s a story for another day. Puberty embarrassed me and I shaved as a way to deny its existence. Then I just kept doing it. Having pubic hair for the first time is new and, dare I say, fun. It has the texture of a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, so there’s that. I find my hands in my pants in a curious fidgety kind of way, like how some people stroke their beards when they think. As for the leg hair, I’m mad that I’m even devoting this sentence to it because it isn’t really noticeable; I’m disappointed and bored by it’s lack of impact. Definitely the juiciest and most controversial is my armpit hair. People have really reacted to that shit. Personally, I feel sexier with it. Something about strutting my stuff in a sleeveless shirt in public with armpit hair sticking out gives me confidence. I’m mighty mighty, just lettin’ it all hang out.
I started this to show others that body hair is not a big deal. What ended up happening is I proved that to myself. No one noticed… well, at least, initially. I have a confession to make: I broke a promise. I said in the previous article that I would not tell anyone the reason behind my hairy body. I tried really hard… BUT I GET BORED; also, I’m a little like the Olsen twins in the movie “Our Lips are Sealed” in that I have a mouth the size of Texas that keeps flapping even when I tell it to shut up. When my article got published I HAD to tell everyone. I was proud, and everyone needed to know that I am capable of doing something with my “silly liberal arts degrees.” So, yep. I opened my trap to my family and friends. I was met with a swarm of responses. What’s funny is that no one said anything before I shouted it from the rooftops. It only became pandemonium when I pointed it out.
I need to preface this with my family is a group of amazing people. They are all opinionated (Gee, really? People related to me are opinionated?) and care about me a lot. They don’t want people to treat me badly and they don’t want to be embarrassed when they are seen associating with a monkey. When I told my grandma she made comments ranging from “hairy ape” to “hippie.” It got so bad that my mom couldn’t speak to her because all my grandma would do is talk about how mom needed to make me start shaving again.
My aunt also tried to get my mom to talk me out of it and when that didn’t work she confronted me. Repeatedly. The following are text messages from her to me: “You should shave and then come join us on the beach,” and “Cool. Have fun. Shave already!” Gotta give it up to her for her persistence. My 9-year-old cousin even got in on the action exclaiming, “Ewww!” and “That’s just wrong!” My mom tried her best to hide her distaste but I still caught her sour milk face when I stretched in my sports bra before a run. My friends weren’t quite as vocal, but when pressed my boyfriend admitted to thinking hairlessness was sexier. He said, “I don’t know if it’s because I a problem with worrying about what other people think or what.” The people I worked with laughed, screamed and told everyone in surprised tones. I became the person of interest and, not necessarily judgment, but definitely curiosity.
All of these reactions provoked my trademark defense mechanism, calling myself out before other people have a chance to. For instance, when I fall up the stairs, I’ve been known to say, “Tah-dah” and do a curtsy. I spin it around so that I’m in on the joke and not the object of it. It also builds up my, “IDGAF” attitude. Rebel without as cause! Stick it to the man! So instead deterring me from my path to body hair enlightenment, it made me even more passionate.
The non-shaving experiment made me internalize my social circle and myself. It made me realize shaving isn’t something I innately have to do. I won’t stop completely because I don’t like making people uncomfortable. I’ll probably shave around my family because if something as easy as picking up a razor makes them happy, why not? Mostly, I’ll shave because I don’t have an opinion on it. I could be hairy and not care; I could be bald and not care. It doesn’t matter. It’s nice to have that peace of mind. No longer will I stress about stubble. I’ll shave when I want to and I won’t when I don’t want to. Hair is an accessory. Sometimes I want to wear a particular bracelet, others I don’t. It’s my choice and I will weigh it based on the circumstances. I encourage everyone to consider stopping shaving temporarily just to see how he or she personally feels about his or her body hair. It’s liberating and educating! The important message here is, “you do you.”