My first shaving memory is of losing a bunch of skin on my right shin in middle school. I don’t know what I thought I was doing but I was assured by the gush of blood that I was doing it very wrong. My best friend and I had decided to both shave the same night and wear skirts the next morning. I remember going to school in the skirt with the biggest band-aid I could find on my leg. Failure, thou art my middle name.
My next memory around shaving is going to beach day, 7th grade, and hearing one of my classmates commenting on the hair falling out of another classmates bathing suit as she contentedly read her book in the sunshine. I made the mental note to lock my legs together lest I be singled out as similarly disgusting.
I got away without scrutiny only because I was such a late bloomer, not having the token signs of puberty until well into freshman year of high school by which time I had made the strict decision to just not show any skin. Did I care that it was 90 degrees? Nope, I’ll stay inside with the air conditioning and my pants thank you very much. Fortunately even in high school few guys wanted to see me without pants and those who I allowed only got to do so in the darkest of dark and their hands were only allowed to touch what I wanted them to touch, namely my pretty, perky, hairless boobies
My next memory relating to body hair is my best friend from high school telling me that a girls hairiness comes from her fathers side, not her mothers. This was by far the worst news I got in high school. Scarier than any pop quiz and in the long run it has caused me more anxiety than any of the social scrapes I wound up in. My father remains one of the hairiest people I have ever encountered. None on his head of course, but imagine Austin Powers and then add some more.
It is worth throwing in here that I’ve found that most women have a part of their body they are really self-conscious about. Thighs, stomach, upper arms, whatever, usually something no one else would notice. All the women I know have one spot that if you point it out they’ll cry. I like the way my body is shaped but if you make fun of me for being hairy I will probably excuse myself to the bathroom for an hour or so to alternately shave and weep.
And then in college my best friend was from Texas and would go a week without shaving, wearing dresses each day and not caring at all. So I tried it and guess what I realized, no one cared!
And then I did it again this week. I even threw my legs over a cute boy in a cab and he happily caressed my cactusy calves.
I’ve been anxious about body hair for as long as I can remember having it. I am a Jew after all. We’re not known for being smooth, hairless creatures.
But I’m starting to regard my hair like I regard my bosiness. Anyone who isn’t into that quality is never going to be into me. So I should just let them go now.