Once I shaved my arms. It was an accident. Sort of. I was in the shower, shaving my legs. So the razor was already in my hand. Which is a dangerous place for a razor to be, apparently, and then I looked down at my arm and curiously drew the blades along its surface, leaving a naked patch like a road cut through a forest.
I stared at it for a second and I thought, “Oh shit.” And then I shaved the rest of my arm. Which meant I had to do the other one. Which meant I would have stubble on my arms in a few days. But I wasn’t thinking about that then. I was just thinking that actually they looked pretty good.
(This kind always cut me. Men’s razors are better. source)
I have really hairy arms. I blame it on my dad. He’s incredibly hairy. He jokes that soon hair is going to start growing out of the top of his nose, and sprouting from his ears. When I was little, he liked to pretend he was a gorilla to entertain my brothers and I. He based his ability to be a gorilla on his hairiness. Which does not bode well for any daughter he might have.
And since he has a daughter, and that daughter is me, I’m the one it doesn’t bode well for. That was a little convoluted.
Anyway, I’m hairy. Once a guy I had just started dating made this comment about how the last girl he’d been with was Asian so there was a BIG difference, and it took a LOT of adjusting.
As a young girl, I didn’t think it was a big deal that I was hairy. It was just how my body was, and I was awesome. So what?
The moment when I realized that I was abnormal was at a sleepover party. We were playing this truth or dare kind of game, with these weird flashcards, and one of them read “the girl with the most hair on her big toe has to answer the next question truthfully.” I looked down and I knew, instinctively, that my big toe would have the most hair on it. I tucked it under a blanket. I said, “That’s gross. Do the next card.” I realized that having hair on the top of one’s toe was not OK.
But even then, I didn’t think about it much. Until I shaved my arms almost by accident. They looked a lot better, I thought. I thought I looked a lot more feminine. I thought that from that day forth I would continue to regularly shave them. So that I would continue to look more feminine for the rest of my life. It suddenly seemed completely rational that I do this, and I was surprised that I hadn’t thought of it before. That I had let myself go on so shamefully for so long.
The hair grew back. And I forgot to shave it again. It was itchy and prickly in the in-between stages, and even if I’d thought about it, it wouldn’t have seemed worth going through that again.
The other day my brother’s girlfriend mentioned how she has absolutely no hair on her arms. I held out my arm for comparison. I said, “Check that out. How’s that for hairy?” And it occurred to me that I didn’t even come close to minding.
It’s funny, the things that turn out to not be a problem.
(the tendency to take hundreds of pictures of myself during my teenage years might have actually been a problem….This is for MWN, who said she liked seeing pictures of me instead of sexy models on this blog.)
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Un-roast: Today I love how surprisingly strong I occasionally feel. Mostly when I’m carrying both milk, soda, and water bottles at the same time.
For my post about not shaving my legs for a summer, click here. Since we’re talking about shaving.
For the third and last installment from my 16-yr-old memoir, go to Un-schooled. In it, I miss out on something really, really important.