I am thinking about pubic hair again.
I checked the date on the last entry about it, and it’s been almost exactly a year. There’s something about August, man…
It’s because I went to a party a couple weeks ago for my friend’s birthday, and she was like, “It’s all women here, so we can talk about girl stuff!” And then when everyone fell silent, trying to think about what girl stuff might entail (fighting for equal wages? Comparing graduate degrees? Discussing our dominance of the internet? Shoes?), she proclaimed exuberantly, “Like our vaginas!”
And everyone was like, “Oh, OK. Our vaginas!”
And then we actually did. Well, we talked about electrolysis. Because that is what comes to mind, I guess, when one thinks of a vagina these days (the part was before the whole Akin thing).
I didn’t know, because I am always behind the times. Which is why Netflix is so good. I watched Veronica Mars for the first time last year, and it was AMAZING.
(but what’s going on with her pubic hair?? source)
I mean, I did sort of know. Because I had a friend who got her upper lip done. And then I had a friend who pulled me aside in the park and pulled her shorts down a little and was like, “No, seriously, it’s amazing. I’d be a beast otherwise.”
I have friends who are in a state of constant lowgrade humiliation over the refusal of certain hairs to bow to cultural norms and take a damn hint from the shiny limbs of models in ads everywhere.
I know how important it feels for women to have less body hair. For women to not have any body hair. This is a thing in our culture. I understand that it is supposed to be embarrassing if your arms are hairy. That it is supposed to be mortifying if there are tiny hairs above your upper lip. That you should feel ashamed if a few hairs poke out from around your bikini bottom, or if you miss a patch on your leg. I know that I should care about the fact that my knees are impossible to shave, so they always have hairs sticking out of them. I should probably die a little inside over the fact that my knees are able to sprout hair in the first place. Mutant knees. After all, I already know how damaging toe hair is.
My arms are very hairy. A gift from my dad, who is a generous man. At least I didn’t get his diabetes.
I have hair on the backs of my thighs, and I think some of it is curling. But I can’t really see it, so I don’t shave it, and then sometimes I remember that other people can see it, and then I am embarrassed for a moment before continuing obliviously on through my day, flashing my hair at unsuspecting passersby and letting my freak flag fly.
I have some hair above my upper lip (my brother once said “you have a little mustache!” and I thought for a moment that my life was probably over).
Yeah, I shave my armpits. And yeah, then it’s always bumpy and there are always like five weirdly long hairs that I somehow have continued to miss for, what? A year? The pits of my arms will probably never be my sexiest feature.
In general, I am a beast. But for the longest time, no one was getting electrolysis anyway. So I think I’ve managed to blend in, for the most part.
And now I know better, but I haven’t signed up.
It turned out that about half of the women at the party were getting electrolysis. First their vaginas, then, for some, the rest. But definitely with the vagina first.
Vaginas first! It sounds like it should be some sort of motto.
“Wait,” I said, stupidly, “Why?”
“Groupon!” said two of them at exactly the same time.
Oh, Groupon. Of course! Of course. I used to get those daily deals that were like “Liposuction and a face lift! 70% off today! Get yours now! At the same time! No fuss no muss (except for the stomach tubes that you have to drain)! Be ready for summer!” Or something. And I’d be like, “Are you kidding me right now?” I actually thought it was a joke at first.
It is not a joke.
“So, like, how much?” the ones not getting it wanted to know. Not the money—the hair. How much hair off?
“All of it!”
“I’m leaving just enough to prove I went through puberty.”
“Just the sides.”
There was diversity.
“But what if you want it, you know, later?” said one woman laughingly.
“For what?!” cried the girl who’d said “all of it!” “For the next ice age?”
We burst out laughing.
“I mean,” the girl continued, flipping her sleek hair back, “Why would you have hair if you don’t have to? The only hair you need is on your head.”
“I don’t know,” said the dissident. “Maybe later you’ll want it, when you’re old?”
Which made me realize that actually, yes, I think I do want to have pubic hair when I’m old. All of it. I want to have old woman pubic hair. Is that weird? Is that totally inappropriate to write? Hi, Grandma, I know you’re reading this. I’m sorry I’m so inappropriate on the internet. I’m sorry I just said old woman pubic hair. That was awkward.
But it’s true.
And also, I continue to be ambivalent. There are some things I can’t seem to bring myself to care about, and I’m always full of relief when they cross my mind. I think I care about plenty of things already. I have even managed, on occasion, to care about whether my future children will have hearing problems because I live so close to the Manhattan Bridge. I have managed to care about whether or not my chin will sag, and exactly when that will happen (will my chin make it to forty intact? I feel like no, but I’m totally open to surprises). I have managed to care about whether my ankles look funny from behind when I’m wearing high heels and if I’m going to die woefully ignorant because I haven’t visited enough countries and if I left my cat alone for too long and she is now emotionally traumatized in some secret cat way that I can’t detect because we were gone for a weekend and she is unusually social even though cats are supposed to be independent and care more about territory than people.
I understand. I’m not judging. It’s easier, after. Forever. We’re always shaving and waxing and fussing. It’d save time to just zap it and move on.
So it shouldn’t be surprising, I guess, that so many women I know are suddenly getting electrolysis. And I guess I’m not incredibly surprised. But it makes me realize that I am probably supposed to care about this. The way that I am supposed to care about makeup. And then I think about how alone my vagina will be. And then I remember that most of the time, there’s underwear covering it anyway, and none of my friends have to know.
Unless they read this.
In which case, they’ll know exactly what kind of old woman I will one day be.
* * *
So, have you done it? Are you going to?
Unroast: Today I love the way my collarbone looks sometimes, on the rare occasion that I put my shoulders back.
The bra giveaway ends in two days. And it’s a cool bra.
P.S. Can I just say— I hit publish on this post and for some reason lost half of it in the process, and it wasn’t backed up, so I’ve been trying to recreate it for you for the past hour or so and GOD that was stressful. I HATE when that happens! I need to learn to save better! Sorry. Whining. Needed to get that out of my system. But if you didn’t like it for some reason, or if it’s missing some obvious point I should’ve made, blame my computer.
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