For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with my body hair. Except for the hair on my head, I hate my body hair. I shaved my legs for the first time when I was 12 and have nurtured a deep resentment toward my body hair every since. I am near neurotic about plucking errant hairs from my upper lip and eyebrows, but that pales compared to the disdain I have for the hair that sprouts below my waist. I have done everything short of electrolysis and the Brazilian wax. I am truly dismayed that my body hair has not diminished over time; rather, it’s done the opposite. Possibly due to a cruel twist of fate, the hair below my waist and on my face has thickened and darkened as if to say, “I’ll make a man out of you yet!” I fight back as best as I can without breaking the bank for weekly wax jobs. I draw the line at Brazilian waxes for the totally sensible reasons that I am (1) totally opposed to pain and suffering, and (2) at my age, I don’t think a hairless mons veneris would be terribly attractive, least of all to me who would have been the one going through the pain and suffering. And I have done some research (both visual and conversational) on pubic hair removal. Results are mixed. Women I’ve met who have had Brazilian waxes were usually happy to let their pubic hair grow back. Porn films I’ve surveyed (yes, really, I’ve watched porn just for the sake of analyzing the variety of hairy to hairless Venus mounds) reveal that some women apparently shave (mons veneris with a 5 o’clock shadow), some like to leave a little tuft of hair (aesthetics?), and some seem to have indulged in the full Brazilian wax thing. I’m trying to find a happy in-between …
The best thing about waxing is that, if one is disciplined (which I tend not to be), eventually the hair does thin and grow back more slowly and sparsely. At least, on my legs. My bikini area is another story. Since I don’t wear bikinis, I tell myself there’s no urgency to wax there. Of course, it’s also awkward and somewhat painful. The need to wax is all in my mind. I spend 95% of my time fully clothed (a bit less during the summer months when sleeping naked is necessary to sleep at all). I have a life partner who professes to love me as I am and never says anything disparaging like, “Really, couldn’t you at least trim around the edges of your panties?” But every time I drop my pants, I cringe at the dark hair curling up between my thighs. I’ve had some missteps with taming that hair: an infected hair follicle from incorrect waxing can be rather painful and scary. Shaving with a razor leaves razor burn and an almost unbearable itchy sensation as the hair grows back (as it does, rapidly). Shaving with an electric shaver is fine for a quick deforestation, but it only lasts for a few hours. Who cares? Who cares except me?
If it weren’t for the scars on my thighs and lower right leg, I might not care at all. When I was 23, I severely injured my lower right leg. Now it is disfigured and the skin on the front of my thighs look like a peach-and-white patchwork quilt. Adding insult to injury, hair grows on only half of my lower right leg, the half that was not injured, the half that was not skin-grafted. So, unless I tackle the hair on the rest of my body, I look and feel like a freak. So there it is. You’d think I’d be over it by now, but, no, not even close. Recently I called my partner from the mall crying because, when I was trying on shoes, I got a glimpse of my leg in a mirror and saw it’s ugliness. I see my naked leg every day, sometimes several times a day, but seeing it in a mirror, seeing it as other people must see it, is always a kick in the stomach.
So I obsess and curse the hormones, genes, whatever, that cause my body to sprout hair where (in my opinion) it has no place being. And I keep waxing.