On Bodily Hair and Conforming to Society’s Beauty Standards

Last week I met up with an ex.

We were sitting on the grass in the park, the sun was shining brilliantly above our heads, giving him a vivid view of all my crude facial features.

Out of the blue, in the midst of us chatting and all, his hand reached into my face in an attempt to pluck a stray long hair from my chin.

Mind you, this is the same ex who, one day while we were still a couple, told me he bought a special gift for me.

“It’s the discreet type of gifts”, he said.

“It is oblong in shape, operated by batteries, and will give you endless amount of satisfaction”, he continued with a tease.

I knew exactly what his gift was.

An ear and nose hair trimmer.

At the ripe age of 43, I dare say, I do need one.

My ears are still OK — at least, I can’t see any hair coming out of them — but my nostrils’ hair is starting to protrude beyond the boundaries of their cavities.

Ever since he gifted me that trimmer, I am using it relatively often. It tickles a bit when I use it. And it leaves my nostrils’ hair at bay. Definitely as satisfying as he proclaimed it would be.

I must confess that bodily hair is one of these issues I struggle with.

I wish I couldn’t give a fuck.

I know a few women who don’t. Give a fuck.

They let it all grow loose and they are proud of wearing their hair as nature intended.

Armpits, legs, pubic.

Here’s one account of a daring woman who decided to go hairy, by Lara Sterling: I Grew Out My Body Hair and It’s Made Me Feel Closer to the Real MeGrowing out my body hair is just one more thing I’ve done recently in an effort to be more authentic.medium.com

There are endless articles floating around everywhere on the web about women deciding not to conform to society’s standards.

Same as articles about the health rationale of keeping bodily hair — especially the pubic hair and the armpit, vs popular fashion that promotes to us we should remove it.

I adore the women who allow themselves to wear their bodily hair with pride.

Like bearded women who embrace their appearance even if it challenges our society’s concept of femininity.

Personally, I can’t bring myself to be like them.

Last winter, I had no time to remove hair off my legs and armpits the way I normally do.

In between working two jobs, writing, and being a full-time carer of my young daughter, I simply had to prioritize other things.

Not having a man in my life, or many opportunities to look at myself naked in the mirror, helped me disregard the increasing hair volume in places I don’t like. But it did not go unnoticed. I descried the hair on my inner upper thigh as it was growing longer, then starting to beautifully curl onto itself. I got more and more disgusted with it. And I wished I could be oh so cool about letting it be what it is.

Then there was this brightly sunny spring weekend and I couldn’t bring myself to wear shorts. Not to mention go to the beach.

I ended up booking an appointment at the beautician to wax it all.

I paid $155 for about 45 minutes of painful extraction of bodily hair: brows, upper lips, legs, thighs, bikini line.

And for what?

For my own eyes. To be able to look in the mirror and see myself as a hairless creature. So I could feel sexy. Adhering to society’s conditions and conventions.

This is where I conform.

I pride myself to be a thinking, non-conventional human being.

I play life on my own terms.

I examine the way I live through the standards and values that I found to be working for me, as opposed to those dictated to me by my upbringing.

I see many features that are not “supposed to be” sexy as being sexy.

But on this front, I failed big time.

I acknowledge that I have been indoctrinated into seeing a hairy me as unattractive, and the most disturbing thing is, I don’t even want to change it.