It’s been almost 12months since I last shaved under my arms. (I don’t have worse b.o. now than when I was shaving regularly, it hasn’t really changed. Just in case you were wondering.) But I’m deciding whether it’s time to shave again. I don’t want to, but there’s a couple of factors that are making me think about it.
First off, I’m going back and spending Christmas with my family this year. And Christmas lunch, usually low key, with just a few people, is now being spent with extended family (20 or so people). It’s a (very) hot climate where I’ll be on the day, and to be honest, wearing a shirt with sleeves (to hide my hair) will be a rather uncomfortable option.
Now, some of you are probably thinking things along the lines of:
What’s the big deal, you’re comfortable with your hair, so why shave? or
It’s not their body, you’re only seeing them for a little amount of time and then leaving, so they can just deal with it. Etc.
See, the thing is, it’s not as simple as that. As much as I wish it was, it just isn’t. Last time my mum came to visit me, she was surprised and shocked that I still hadn’t shaved my legs (it’s been 17months since I shaved them). And comments were made. She hadn’t seen under my arms, so for the 3days and two nights that she was here, I was doing all I could to wear tops that hid my hair. On the day she was leaving (not even 2hours before), I got a bit lapse, lifted my arm up too high, at the wrong angle and she saw. The expression on her face said it all. Complete horror, shock, disbelief, disgust. Whatever, however you want to classify it; it was immediately obvious that this was something she wasn’t really ok with.
In the past, when I was living at home, there were medical reasons* why I couldn’t shave my legs. This she accepted. She also accepted the fact that I couldn’t see in the shower well enough without my glasses to do a half decent job. The other night, I’m on the phone with her and the subject comes up. “You’ve got contacts now; you can see to do them. And what about under your arms?”. “Yes, but I’m still having problems* when I do shave”. (Not totally true, but since I’ve stopped shaving the problems have gone away).
This is something I’m quite sensitive about. When this was brought up, I was just sick of it being an issue for her, when it’s not with me. Okay, body hair isn’t accepted here on women (or in many other places for that matter), but fuck it, if I want to not shave, then I don’t fucking have to! I got quite stirred up when it was brought up. She even said “Don’t you think he wants you to shave?” to which my reply was “If he wants me to, he’ll tell me”. Then she started saying that she’ll just have to start calling me a hippie. This, just rubbed me the wrong way. My response was “And what if I don’t want to shave my legs? Can’t you just accept that this is me?” You could hear the disappointment in her sigh.
So this is where I am. Going home to spend a few days of the holidays with the family, knowing that this will be an issue. Knowing that something or many things will be said to me. And I just don’t feel like defending myself. And why the fuck should I? I’m happy with how I am, he’s happy with how I am. But then I think “fuck it. It’s just going to be easier to shave and not have these hassles”. Problem is, the more I think about it, the more attached I’ve become. And it’s also a matter of principle. I don’t see you all that often, so in the grand scheme of things, why should you care? Can’t you just still love me,
warts hair and all? I had decided to shave for Christmas, and I even told him that I would. His reaction “why?”
And I’m visiting other family members tomorrow most of whom haven’t seen me in two and a half years, and I thought, “Well if I’m going to shave for Christmas, I should just get it over and done with and do it now, before I go and visit them”. Again, the more I think about it, the more I am against it.
I don’t want to shave to please other people, and I don’t have to; that’s my choice. But on the same token, I don’t want to be questioned about it either. I want to be strong and just say “fuck it. This is who I am. Like it or lump it.” But I don’t know if I am that strong.
Right now as I write this, I think I am strong enough to stand by my decision and have that attitude. But who knows, I’ve still got 24 hours until I leave to visit the family tomorrow, and 17 days until I go home for Christmas. I’ll probably swing back and forth between “yes, just do it” and “no, fuck ‘em” between now and then.
I’m attached to my hair. I’m a hair friendly woman. And I’m proud of that. Okay, so it may not be for everyone, but does anyone else really have a right to question me?