I’ve always been perplexed by the fact that my body is covered in hair, but to be considered a desirable and feminine woman I should not have any hair on my face, armpits, legs, or vulva. And to top it off, I shouldn’t have hair on my butt either now that I live in a beach town; apparently a hairless ass will help me enjoy the beach more (eye roll).
The “no hair anywhere” expectation has resulted in a lifelong battle with my body hair. The score?
ZERO for me because I aspired to an unrealistic no hair beauty standard. I unconsciously groomed myself to have a CHANCE at being seen as desirable.
ZERO for hair because I successfully waxed, plucked, tweezed, and shaved hair from all the right places of my body for decades…again, and again, and again.
So here I am today, reflecting on my body hair grooming practices, and wondering why I waged an all out war with my body hair. I mean what, exactly, did hair ever do to me other than try to protect my body?!
As a teenager, I stepped onto the NO HAIR BATTLEFIELD. I focused on my face and shaved faint baby hairs off my cheekbones and sideburns. I have no idea as to why I did this.
Then in my early 20s, I shaved my arms, armpits, legs, and that bridge between my eyebrows. Why? Mostly because my friends were striving to be hairless in those places, so I joined in.
Later, in my mid 20s, I started shaving my vulva. The first time I shaved my vulva I wasn’t sure where to stop. I remember standing in the shower, dripping wet, with a razor in hand removing hair. Globs of hair fell and circled the drain. I looked down at my bare vulva and wondered if I should shave the plump area above my labia (mons pubis). If I shave the mons pubis, should I also cut the happy trail leading to my belly button? And if I mow down my happy trail, do I shave fine hairs around my belly too? In the absence of any real guidance (other than Sex in the City and Missy Elliot's lyrics “shave the chocha”), I shaved everything from my vulva all the way up to in between my breasts. I was completely bare.
Crazy thing is no woman in my life ever directly told me to shave. But friends and subtle media messages from tv and songs provided the instructions and reinforced the no hair beauty standard.
By my early 30s, I was sick and tired of shaving and I especially hated the painful return of stubble hair. One day I felt like stubble hair was attacking me. I was so uncomfortable and wondered, why am investing my time and energy doing this shit? In that moment, I realized no lover ever commented (positively or negatively) on my hairless vulva. So if I didn’t care, and if my lovers didn’t care, then it seemed pointless to continue shaving myself bare. I held my breath, waved a white flag on the NO HAIR BATTLEFIELD, and made the bold move to stop shaving.
But, honestly, I felt nervous. Why? Because if I permanently opted out of vulva shaving, but other women don't, where will I rank in the hierarchy of desirability?
Unsure of what the consequences would be, I proceeded and tucked my razor in a drawer. And just like that I ceased fire on plucking my body hairs. I allowed everything to grow back.
To my delight, no lovers ever rejected me…their tongues, dicks, fingers, and toys pleasured me…still with no mention of or reaction to my faint vulva hair. I was surprised to feel how lightweight vulva hair provided sensation and turn-on before and during sex. Body hair repeatedly enhanced my pleasure so, in an instant, I realized that body hair’s intention was to be my friend, not foe.
And that realization is what brings me sadness today. I have a lot of grief about how I waged war on my body hair. My vulva hair is faint, even today, and never fully grew back. I feel sad about losing decades on the NO HAIR BATTLEFIELD because I never needed to treat my body that way…I still would have been loved, accepted, and well fucked with body/vulva hair.