Body hair: what’s the fuss about?

Hair is an important part of our identity. For some reason, hair, which comes in many different forms, is a physical attribute to which we pay a lot of attention.

Mainly, the hair on our head. How you choose to have you hair can say so much about the person you are, your cultural identity, your social group, your history and even your future. A bad hair cut and suddenly you’re Chicken Little running around screaming ‘THE SKY IS FALLING!’

We spend money making sure the mop on our head is in pristine condition, we give power to our hair. Our hair can define who we are, it can dictate our mood and it can just as easily be taken away.

Mostly, we accept that hair grows on our heads. We want that hair to grow, we spend years eating the crusts or trimming the ends. But, as soon as hair starts to grow anywhere else on our bodies, we treat it like a fly hovering over our food. Bat it away at any cost! Do not let the fly touch the cake! Do not let the pubic hair grow on the pubis!

This obsession with pubic ‘hair style’ is not a new fiasco. The Ancient Egyptians preferred a smooth genitalia, taking off ever ounce of hair with the earliest form of wax. In the 60’s and 70s the fashion was to go big or go home. In the light of the sexual revolution embracing pubic hair was a sign of sexual liberation, acceptance of the human body and a membership to a counterculture. 

As we know, trends come and go. When I was in secondary school it was very much, a get it all off and take no prisoners attitude to pubic hair. At 15 I was hovering over the loo experiencing the burning sensation of ‘Veet’ just in case anyone were to accidentally see my nether regions. Actually, most experiences of removing pubic hair are not an exciting rendevous. It involves me walking to a strangers house every six weeks (she’s obviously not a stranger now I do look at her, and talk to her) taking off my pants before I’ve had a chance to say hello, opening my legs as far as they can go and waiting for the pain to commence.

Once, I was in such desperate need of a wax, maybe I had a date or some other horrible reason to endure pain, that I booked last minute on ‘Treatwell.’ I turned up at a Hardware shop in Whitechapel and tentatively walked in. An old man was sitting at a desk surrounded by screws and hammers and God knows what else, so I turned and said ‘sorry I must have the wrong place.’ Before I could reach the door an Old Lady was running toward me saying ‘No, no you stay! Come!’ She took me to the back of the shop where four or five temporary screens were standing, behind which was a bed. She ordered me to climb on and take off my pants. I felt uncomfortable to say the least, especially as I could hear the man talking to customers that had arrived after me and knew that the screen was basically made of tissue paper. I persisted, I had a date. The lady inspected my downstairs and without asking me what I wanted she called in a younger girl to take over. She did, it was fine, painful but fine. The only off putting thing was that the older lady stayed, head firmly between my legs inspecting not only my vagina but I’m assuming the work of the younger girl. I left feeling both sore and a little violated.

I’m not sure if I got lucky that night but even if I had done, I can assure you it would not have been worth the torment.

I have recently come to the conclusion that trends will change. Different people will have different preferences and all that really matters is that you feel comfortable. I now get a wax because I feel I want one, I want to freshen up or look a certain way. I spend the money and endure the pain because I want to. If I don’t want to, I don’t bother and I’m au naturale. I’ve started applying this to all forms of body hair. Currently, I have long armpit hair. I stopped epilating because it hurts and I forgot for so long that I began to like having armpit hair. For a reason completely alien to most people, it started making me feel sexy. Empowered. A bit different. Perhaps part of something greater. A subtle, fuck off, I’m going to decide what’s an acceptable amount of grooming for my own body. I also love when I catch people staring at them as I put my arms up. They’re transfixed, utterly discombobulated by long hair on a woman,

If I were to get down and dirty with someone and they said – ‘Oh God, your armpits, I’m so sorry I cannot carry on’

I would say ‘Oh shit, do I smell?’

If they replied: ‘No no your hair, I’m sorry, I think that’s disgusting.’

I would be disgusted in them. Even more disgusted than they are by my armpit hair.

What does it matter?! It’s a physical attribute which has nothing to do with who I am as a person. Arguably you can’t fuck a personality but, if you’ve got that far and they’ve ended up in your bed, they must fancy you at least a little. Is a bit of armpit hair really going to throw all of that ‘fancy-ing’ out the window? Even though you probably know deep down that it’s just social conditioning and if we were to see more universally sexy people like Emily Ratajkowski do it – we’ll all think it’s cool and trendy?

Well fine. I don’t want you in my bed anyway.

It’s the same with leg hair, belly hair, moustache, beard, sideburns, hairy toes, hairy chest, who gives a shit? It’s just hair. Get rid of it if you want to but, do it for you, not because you think people care. If they care, get them out of your bed.

They won’t care! No one cares. Even if your boyfriend says ‘Babe I really like it when you have no hair down there’ if you reply ‘well I don’t, so up to you, have sex with me or don’t?’ Nine times out of ten he’s going to get over it and have sex with you. You’ve then got an extra Christmas present to surprise him with.

You do you. But, remember that it’s for you. No one can say what does or doesn’t make you feel sexy. You’re going to be your best self when you feel good. There’s a lot of you’s there. Imagine I’m pointing at you as you’re on all fours holding your bum cheeks apart because you think that’s what needs to happen. A gentle reminder that it’s your choice. Don’t endure the pain, spend the money or waste your time for what somebody else deems as attractive.

(Unless maybe you come to a mutual agreement with your partner that you can’t look past each other’s hair, so you go together, hand in hand to get that smooth sensation.)

 

 

 

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