Bodies, Confidence

I’ve Got A Beautiful Head

I shaved my head. Here’s why.

Last year I worked with Eve Ensler, stunning, smart, she wrote The Vagina Monologues and I met her because of her new piece, partially about her battle with cancer.

For purposes of comfort and the show she kept her hair short after her recovery. And you couldn’t get away from her beautiful face, like her eyes took up her whole head. She would jokingly say “I have no hair” and I kept thinking “of course you have hair, I’m looking at it right now. And it’s lovely.”

It was around the same time that I was falling in love with my haircut. I think each person has a perfect cut if they pay attention. Something that makes them feel like themselves and requires the right amount of care. With my undercut asymmetrical bob I found that. It made me feel fancy. I thought,

“Well great, I just need to maintain this forever!”

And then immediately vomited in my own mouth.

I kept thinking about this podcast about lawn maintenance in america, how we plant grass and we don’t let it live, keeping it in an unnatural life cycle, we mow it and mow it and mow it, keeping it in adolescence forever.  Michael Pollen wrote “Lawns are nature purged of sex and death.”

Hair grows. That’s all it does. Maintain this forever? What a chore!

I’d rather use the fact that it grows rather than run from it.

That’s when I started running the idea by a few friends and co-workers, “Is this crazy? Should I stop thinking about this?”

“Well you’re thinking about it a lot, so it sounds like you really want to do it and you should.”

Then the final straw.

My hair finally made it into a ponytail for the first time in years. I looked in the mirror and realized;

I’m going to look beautiful.

And that’s when we got out the clippers.

And I was right. I do look beautiful.

Bodies, Obedience

Let’s Talk About My Mustache

Let’s talk about my mustache.

Or, Jesus Christ let’s not. I’m mortified already. Generally the exact same mortification I have when acknowledging any body hair I have (and, if we hadn’t covered this already, I’m a Jew, I have all of it).

Today I saw this article:

IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Got a Labiaplasty and I Feel Conflicted About It

(Editor note: Yes, I know that a labiaplasty is permanent and surgical and a lip wax is something thousands of women do twice a month but we’re talking about mortifying embarrassment here, not comparing hospital bills).

My sophomore year of high school I went to prom. Most of my friends were seniors that year so I went with a friend. I looked like Cleopatra in my dress and curling my hair took an eternity.

The morning of the dance my best friend and I went to get manicures at her local place, our manicurist was a very talkative Russian lady in her late 30s. We told her all about our dresses and who we were going with, everything fit to print.

When my nails were half dried she said “follow me” and walked me to the back of the salon and into a small room. I thought I was in trouble. I hate being in trouble.

“I’m not going to charge you for this but I’m going to wax your lip. I just don’t want you to look back at these pictures and have regrets.”

It was the first time that I realized that people could be distracted by things about me that I had decided weren’t worth caring about.

I didn’t know what to do, I was horribly embarrassed and let her do it. The pain sucked of course but what I’ve always hated about wax is that overly sensitive feeling afterwards, like a patch of my body is pure nerve ending, lacking that protective covering known as skin. I know some people love that feeling but I’ve always hated it. Like everyone knows what I’ve just done.

She promised the redness would go down by the evening and it probably did. It turned out she was wrong. I rarely ever look at pictures of that day and when I do there are other things to regret. I regret who I went with and what I cared about. I regret wearing shoes that hurt like hell and that I didn’t even like. I regret not getting the dress shortened. I regret not taking a picture with my mom.

I would not have regretted having the little NORMAL JEW LADY amount of hair on my lip that continues to NOT bother me in every picture I have taken since.

Bodies, Confidence

Jeez, It’s Just Hair

And if you’re getting a lot of her hair in your mouth then you’re doing it wrong anyway.

Aim lower.

Also, you might find that you like it. It would seem that 62 percent of men with female partners prefer it.

A quick favorite anecdote: A friend of mine just started working at a salon doing waxes and started waxing more of her body than usual because its free. She started doing her eyebrows and underarms, she tried waxing her butt too.

And her boyfriend asked her not to do it anymore. The ladies at the salon make fun of her for it but his opinion matters more than her coworkers and she doesn’t care one way or another. She gets more out of him being happy in fact.

Your body is pretty great the way it is, stop working so hard at it. And especially stop worrying about it so much.

Bodies, Confidence, Gender

Niño. Long Hair, It Isn’t Complicated.

Today, I saw this title on


And decided it was time to tell a little story from my childhood.

Now keep in mind that until he turned 13 (and cut and donated it just like his big sister) my brother had long, thick, jewish hair. Longer than I’ve had mine in years.


One beautiful Saturday afternoon after my brother and I had each played our respective soccer games (like all good Brooklynite children) and gone to synagogue (like all good Brooklynite children), my mom took us out for mani-pedi’s at the local salon (like all good Brooklynite children). My parents worked in immigration law and had helped this woman get her paperwork so we got a discount.

My mother pointed to her children and the woman behind the desk said niñas.

My mother pointed to me “niña” and my brother “niño.”

My mother speaks as little spanish as I do so the woman behind the desk tried to correct her, shaking her head “niñas”

Which is when my mother reminded us all of who she is. She pointed to my brother and said “No. niño.” while mime jerking off with her left hand.

The woman behind the desk shrieked in laughter until my mom said “Yeah, he needs a pedicure, his toenails are insane,” and we all sat down.

My mother, causing heart attacks since 1952.

Media, Sex

Porn 101

This video from the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee offers a really interesting insight into how adult performers take care of themselves and each other.

It also is full of suggestions all us offscreen folk can use to improve our own sexual health. All the information about STI’s and not engaging in any kind of sex when you have a cold. The information about how recently brushed teeth or shaved skin is more susceptible to infection. The importance of talking about boundaries with your partner before engaging in sex and how it can boost chemistry.

And combining that with Stoya’s comment about your butthole. If your butthole doesn’t qualify as genitalia to you then that pre-sex boundary talk you’re already having with your partner is a convenient and natural time to mention that. You know, before someone unknowingly oversteps that boundary.

Something else they mention a few times that I think translates well into non-performative sex is that you don’t have to defend any rejections. If you don’t want to do something, even if you’ve done it before, even if you’ve done it with that person before, even if you said that you might, even if you invited them over, even if you didn’t say it was out of bounds before, even if you’ve already been doing it for two minutes and then change your mind, you DO NOT have to do it. And anyone who doesn’t take that for an answer should be ejected and have 500 points taken from their Hogwarts house immediately for disgracefully poor form.

Also, when they talk about how you should expect everyone you know to see your performance. Next time you get out a camera think about that. Is this shot something I’m ok with the entire universe seeing. And then maybe think about it again. Even if your partner promises never to share it. Accounts get hacked, phones get stolen, SnapChat has a lax security policy. The internet is a big scary place.

Porn 101, more like Healthy Sex 101.

Completely unrelated: I want Stoya’s hair. I should just print that screenshot and bring it to the hairdresser. It is perfection.


Porny Hairy Feminists

An exceptional person and friend of mine called me last week and, as we do, we got talking about body hair. She just enrolled in Aesthetician school, but was recently employed as a phone sex operator.

I don’t know how we got on this topic but she was telling me about how her mother used to shame her about having visible hair on her legs when she was a kid. How her mother has always had thin, light hair and was upset by her daughter having dark hair on her thighs.

As a Jewess myself I can sympathize with that.

And we realized that something that really helped us get past the shaming we experienced was, for her being a PSO and for me, porn. It’s something that I first thought about when I watched this video debating the merits of porn in general. The woman defending porn argued that anything a woman dislikes about her body is potentially something that a consumer can love about her body and can potentially take her from a place of shame to a place of self-love.

And for me, clicking around and seeing tags like “hairy” and just knowing that someone, or some large group of someones was sitting at home and choosing that specific search term, not because they had some hirsutism fetish, but because they just like women who for one reason or another don’t make hair removal a top priority, was really refreshing. It was really nice to see that for all the people who have made negative comments on women with body hair, there are people sitting on the other side, who love it, though they might not always be as vocal.

I’m not against hair removal. I’m a feminist because I want to fight for your right to remove your hair or keep your hair because whatever choice you make is what you want to do.

But for all of the tropes about hairy feminists being unattractive or unlovable, it’s nice to see IN PRACTICE that they’re wrong.

We can be loved. And lusted after.

Bodies, Confidence

What I Learned By Not Shaving My Legs Today

No one cares.

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.