If you’ve been skulking around the same corners of the internet that I have lately, you’ll have seen lot of people talking about body hair. Women’s body hair, more specifically, and why current Western beauty standards dictate that we have to remove great swaths of it.
I have nothing of great value to add to the sentiment of this issue, other than I think everyone should be free to to do what the hell they like with any hair sprouting out of any part of their body.
I am not, myself, doing anything particularly interesting or radical in this vein. I figured I was pretty much conforming to societal norms. I shave my armpits every day. I shave anything else as and when needed, but most things remain relatively smooth on a flippant unscheduled basis. I don’t pay anyone to wax me or laser me or perform any other pricey hair removing technique. I don’t even bother to buy my own razors, in fact I usually acquire then on stealth pilfering missions to my husband’s bathroom.
I thought this is pretty much what most women did. Apparently, I was wrong. Upon admitting this recently I have been greeted with such reactions as disgust, horror, surprise and a rather large dose of judgment face. Wow. Apparently monthly waxing is just an ordinary, mundane part of female life now. I had no idea. I mean, I always knew it was out there and I could partake any time I wanted, but paying a stranger to inflict pain on me every few weeks for purely superficial reasons has never been top of my to do list. It never seemed necessary. (I prefer to spend my superficial budget on lipgloss).
For those of you who don’t know me, I married a man who is quite a bit older than me (it’s ok, he’s not rich, there’s a love vibe thing happening here). He came of sexual maturity in the 1970s for crying out loud. Before now I never appreciated how much absolute freedom this gives me to do whatever the hell I please.
I’m free to do whatever I like with my body hair in a way that I don’t think some of these other women who wax every month enjoy. I get the impression that there’s a sense of expectation wrapped up in their waxing and it makes me a little sad. Look, not my relationship, not my place to judge or even to care, and if you want to pay someone to wax every square inch of your body go nuts. Waxers need to earn a living too. But don’t feel obliged.
I’m just a little bit secretly happy that my husband doesn’t seem to spend much time expecting my body to look a certain way. I could change things up and he wouldn’t care. He may notice. He may point and giggle if I chose to do something particularly interesting. Though I doubt I could do much he hasn’t already seen before. He’s been around the proverbial hairy block.
However, after stumbling upon this profound realisation, I was enjoying a cosy sense of smugness wash over me for exactly 12 nanoseconds before horror came and bitch slapped me in the face. Here I am proudly rambling on about how great my husband is and how he accepts me regardless of my hair situation, but do I bother to extend him the same courtesy?
No. I am a hypocritical cow. I was looking in the wrong place all this time. Turns out that I am the tyrannical hair dictator in this relationship. I have ruled over his body fur with an iron fist for many years now. I truly believe his follicles should have to fill out a lengthy application form and obtain a permit (from me!) before they even consider growing out of an unsanctioned part of his body. I trim his eyebrows. I pluck out the hairs that are too black for the rest of his eyebrows and thus annoy me. I keep a watchful eye on his nose and ears to make sure they toe the line. Sometimes he’ll be enjoying a simple snooze on the couch and I’ll sit and his chest and start arranging things the way I like him, trimming back anything that looks unruly.
I mean, I literally just said “I think everyone should be free to to do what the hell they like with any hair sprouting out of any part of their body” and I clearly only believe this for everyone else but the one person on earth I love more than anyone else.
Aaarrgh. I am a monster. Somebody stop me.