In July 2011, I decided to go one full year without removing a single hair from my body.
I was doing regular full Brazilian waxes at the time, shaving my pits almost daily, shaving my legs if I was planning on wearing shorts or a skirt, and (sort of) “keeping up” by tweezing and trimming my eyebrows.
I made the decision because I was inspired my a friend of mine who’d stopped shaving her legs, because I wanted to embark on an expectations-defying exercise of body-positivity, but overwhelmingly because I just couldn’t come up with a satisfying answer to the question “Why AM I shaving, anyway?”
(… in what my friends felt was a disgusting contradiction, I decided to celebrate my last waxing by getting vajazzled.)
Leg Hair: It seems funny, but I’m really fond of my leg hair. I would estimate it took about seven months before I had more positive feelings about it than negative–but now I love walking onto the bus in shorts and wondering whether I’m making anybody ask themselves the same question I couldn’t answer. I love the softness of it (it stopped being prickly after about two months), and I love that my legs look a little like a dude’s legs. I’m actually more prone to wear short shorts now than I ever was before this project. I plan on keeping my legs hairy for the rest of my life.
Pitstache: My armpits definitely get the biggest reaction from people. Somehow it looks dirty to them to see dark pits on a girl, when the same thing is attractive on a man. I did a little double-take every time I saw them in the bathroom mirror for a long time–and I still often get flinches from many of my friends when I lift my arms. Deodorant was an issue at first–can’t use waxy deodorant on hairy pits, you know. I had to start using the more slippery dude kind (I even bought the aerosol spray kind for kicks, but it burned). My armpit hair is probably close to three inches long now. I plan on keeping it as well, but trimming it to maybe half its current length.
The Nethers: I’ve always been on the tufty side of things (or maybe I’m just trained to think that, like everyone else). My favorite part about not “maintaining” my pubic hair is the confidence I’ve built up in a swimsuit. I like paying attention to whether I switch positions on the lawn chair to hide it, and I especially like the days when I’m brave enough to switch back. I’m not totally over all of the stigma that comes with having lots of hair Down There, but in the full spirit of positivity, I’m not going to beat myself up over the fact that I sometimes beat myself up. I think accepting little insecurities, acknowledging them, and letting them roll through you, rather than ignoring or denying them, is part of the full experience of having a body and loving it. Sex isn’t changed much–I met my girlfriend in February, so I was already a Wild Thing and didn’t scare her off :). She is totally affirming and wants me to do whatever I want to do. However, I do miss the smooth feeling of being waxed, and will probably go back to Brazilians come July. If I can afford it.
Eyebrows: Totally a non-issue. Took me about three days to stop worrying about whether people were staring. Maybe it was easy for me because my face happens to conform a little to what eyebrows are “supposed” to be–but I honestly just don’t think anybody notices eyebrows like we’re taught to think they do (I only notice eyebrows myself when they’re drawn on).
Maybe it’s the rebel in me, but I like the thought that some women may be inspired by the sight of my leg hair the way I was inspired by my friend’s. In the (surprisingly few, actually) conversations I’ve had about my body hair in the past year, women I speak to either say “you’re way more brave than I am” or “I wouldn’t go THAT far maybe, but I do wonder why I still put the time and effort into shaving.” My wonderful girlfriend has joined me (see 1st comment here) and I’m hoping it’ll bring the same feelings of truly liking her body hair that it brought me.
(And in what I’m sure is still a disgusting contradiction, you bet I’ll be celebrating July 2012 by getting vajazzled.)