{ Monday, June 10, 2002 }

Body Hair

June Journal Smackdown.

I became aware that the other girls in my class were shaving their legs in the sixth grade. I remember looking around one day when we were all sitting on the floor for some reason and realizing that I was the only one with hairy legs. I went home and told my mother that I wanted to shave. She asked why.

That is immediately where I departed from the conventional American belief that "girls should shave". My mother agreed to buy me a razor and teach me how to do it if I really wanted. I didn't want to. I couldn't see the point. I mean, it was just growing there minding its own business. Why should I shave it off? Why would I remove my secondary sexual characteristics like that? I started wondering why all the girls wanted boobs but they didn't want the hair on their legs.

I told my mom that I thought I would try it once and see. I tried it. Ten years later, I still have a callus on my thumb from where I cut myself trying to get the guard off the razor.

So, I shaved my legs. I didn't see what the big deal was. My legs felt to me like they belonged on some snake or other reptile and not a mammal. I kept it up about once a month all summer. Yeah, okay, that's three whole times. It's as regularly as I have shaved in my whole life.

For the entirety of high school, I only shaved maybe two or three times in the summer and then maybe once in the winter. I think people thought that was strange but no one really ever asked me about it. I mean, I was also the girl responsible for the "women against men" zine floating around the school.

I think I was fifteen or so before I got armpit hair. I shaved it off about once a month, but only because I decided that hairy armpits smell more. I didn't really think that my armpit hair was unattractive or anything. It just held smell. Given the choices of shave armpits, wear deodorant and shower more... I chose shaving once a month.

I completely abandoned my legs when I was sixteen. I kept up with the armpits gradually slacking off until I was about eighteen. But the bikini line... that was tricky. I really wasn't crazy about the world seeing my "fire crotch" (I have red hair afterall). I also didn't want to shave. It was the last thing I stopped shaving and I imagine if I get into a bathing suit this year, I'll probably consider trimming it at least.

NotBoyAnymore has a huge problem with my body hair. He always has. One year for Valentine's Day, I shaved my legs and armpits. That might have been his whole gift. I don't remember. What I do remember is that I broke out in hives. Hives. Razor burn too, but mostly hives. He provided the razor I used to maul myself... I told him I used the pink kind with daisies on them. He bought blue ones with some sort of medicated strip or whatever. He said my daisy razors looked cheap, and that this kind was better. He shaved every day or two. I hadn't shaved in years. I chose to accept his judgement. Hives. Cuts, razor burn and hives. That was when I officially stopped shaving my everything. It gave me hives.

When I was nineteen I had my legs waxed. My friend wanted to go and I was the only person she knew who already had the requisite leg hair. It wasn't at all painful. My legs came out very smooth. The woman did a great job. I really liked her.

I just don't like the way my legs feel when they are all smooth. I'm a mammal. I should have hair. I also don't like the way they look. I am twenty-two years old. I ought to have leg and armpit hair. And I still don't understand why the boobs are good and the hair is bad. What's wrong with it anyway?

posted by mary ann 8:23 AM