FUZZY WAS SHE

Author’s Note: The views expressed below are solely those of the author and not of SCWW. No offense was intended and she hopes none will be taken.

I have a confession to make. In my forty-ninth year, after almost forty years of doing so, I stopped shaving. Did I hear a collective gasp? If I were a European woman, no one would even blink. But here in the good ole USA, women are expected to shave and shave a lot. I know women who shave from their hips on down and their armpits too. I, myself, bleached my mustache hairs at one time and even tried waxing my legs. Hey guys, I’d like to see you try that one. I’d rather go through childbirth three or four more times than ever do that again. Lord. Brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

So, here’s the thing. Last summer, I carefully hid my hairy calves. I wore long pants and once even shaved in order to wear a skirt. But this year, I’ve decided to let it fly. God gave me hair on my legs and by gum, I’m letting it out. Thing is, in the past, I’ve been shocked to see bushy armpits on American women. Hairy legs make me avert my gaze in embarrassment. And now, I’m one of them! But guess what? My partner, Eric, thinks it sexy. (He asked me to add that he loves me no matter what. He’s sweet that way!) He admires my furry armpits and likes my fuzzy legs much better than stubbly ones. Not shaving saves me time, money and water. A bit of research on the internet on the history of women’s shaving suggests that the whole thing was an extremely successful marketing campaign to sell razors. Go into your local CVS or Wal-mart and you’ll see aisles full of products devoted to hair removal. Does it make us more beautiful? Only if we think it does.

For a long time, I did think it was more beautiful to have silky smooth legs and armpits. But, now I’m starting to see the appeal of a little fur. I can already see the appeal of not worrying about it, not having to shave or buy razor blades. Being conservation minded, it always bothered me to have to throw those things away and now I don’t have to. The challenge for me now is to get comfortable letting it all hang out in public. I have some very pretty, sleeveless tops and dresses that show quite a bit of leg. My mother says I have good legs and should be proud to show them off. But, being a newbie to full-on body hair, I’m still a little self-conscious about it. So do me a favor, will you? When you see me in public with my fuzz showing, let me know that you understand that I’m making a conscious decision and not just being slovenly. I won’t judge you for shaving or even for thinking my body hair is unsightly. After all, we’ve been conditioned by advertising for a century now to believe women must be hairless everywhere except on their heads to be considered attractive. Just let me know you accept my decision, that you support my right to make my own choice in this matter. And please, let me know what you think of all this. I’m curious. And if you decide to let your body hair go, don’t hesitate to tell me. I’ll support you all the way. Fuzzy ladies, unite!

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13 Responses to FUZZY WAS SHE

  1. Author Rayshawn McAuley says:

    Hi Beth, I support your decision of letting it all hang out! Do everything that increases contentment, in your life girl! I too, struggle sometimes with the unwanted ways my body has changed over the years. Some I had control over, and were my responsibility to change/or not. Others were totally not of my choice, due to numerous surgery, as a breast cancer survivor. Nonetheless, loving who you are will add years, because joy increases our longevity, ( read that somewhere) it’s true Beth. Love you no matter what anyone else thinks, and keep on smiling 🙂

  2. Teri Kuiper says:

    Dear Beth,
    I saw this post via Ang on Facebook. I can’t reply there, as you and I are not friends, but I did want to comment.

    1. Not shaving is NOT slovenly. Period. 🙂

    2. I stopped shaving sometime in…hmmm…..around 1976, I’d say, so
    a really long time now.
    Occasionally someone made a comment, usually a child, who had
    no idea that shaving was optional. My husband also liked the soft hair
    better than the stubbles, and also found it sexy.

    3. I stopped shaving on the advice of a dermatologist because I developed lumps in one armpit. I also stopped using antiperspirant or deodorant, and I still have friends. 🙂

    I could go on, but won’t. I just say BRAVO for you for making this decision.

    Teri,

  3. Barbara says:

    I’ve been cheating on this one for years. My leg hair is very fine and white blond in color. It always has been. So, I could go a couple of months without shaving. A few years ago, I just forgot about it until I felt the breeze running through the hair. Hair I couldn’t even see. Huh. Why bother if, after a few months, I was still the only one who even knew? I will admit the breeze blowing thing bugs me eventually. Then I do a quick shave, but nothing like I used to do.

  4. Having become a “woman of a certain age,” and with my hormones depleted, I’m surprised I haven’t started growing a beard. But instead, my leg and pit hairs are just…dying off. (No artificial hormones allowed due to a history of cancer.) So–it is what it is. Enjoy the hairies while they last. Soon your body will move into another phase!

  5. Ann Beardsley says:

    Oh, you are so strong! I stopped shaving once for about a year and a half. It felt defiant and good. And then one summer day, I looked down and my legs were hairier than my husband’s, and shame fell upon me. (This was about 20 years ago.) The next dress-up event found me shaving again. I don’t know why we do it, it’s archaic and gender-based and artificial. But still I find myself shaving my legs and armpits because being judged–unfairly, I might add–makes me feel even more uncomfortable. Even if it is all in my head. Maybe one day I’ll be strong enough to say, “So there! Take me as I am.”

  6. Beth Browne says:

    Wow, thanks you guys! I’m delighted to hear from every one of you. I was having a little panic attack after I posted it, for fear of offending someone, hence the disclaimer at the top, so I’m relieved that no one seemed to take offense.

    Btw, Barbara, the wind does feel really funny on the legs!! I’m still not used to it!

    And Teri, we must become FB friends, asap!!

    Thanks y’all!!!

  7. Pam says:

    Beth and Teri, I have nothing but admiration for your decision! I wish I was brave enough. I shave every single day- sometimes twice. What a waste of time and resources!

  8. Aw, Beth, your blog made me laugh out loud! I never have thought too much about the hairy body issue (my Swedish heritage gave me the lightest, blondest down on my legs and the only time I shave is when I’m going to my ob/gyn) but I loved the way you shared your feelings with us. Great blog post! And I’m sorry for laughing at your hairy legs.

  9. Beth Browne says:

    Laugh on, Vicki! It’s funny being fuzzy!! I didn’t know you had Swedish heritage. Cool!

  10. Colleen says:

    I can remember when it was FASHIONABLE to not shave, but the thing was, the cool girls bleached it. I wanted to do that but for some reason I felt ineligible for the bleaching so I never did it. Might have been afraid of the effect on my skin? Who remembers. My only negative about having hairy legs was that I loved to wear tights and the hair would get pushed backwards and it would hurt after a while. I never got used to that. Now I’m hit or miss, but when I don’t shave, in my case, the truth is I’m being lazy. And I really do hate the waste of materials, throwing away the blades. I say good for you!!

  11. Beth Browne says:

    Thanks, Colleen! Interestingly, my research indicated that one of the reasons for the increased popularity of leg shaving was the introduction of sheer stockings. I didn’t realize it might be uncomfortable to wear stockings with hairy legs. I bet you looked *adorable* in tights, too!! LOL!

  12. Sarah says:

    My partner actually asked me not to shave my armpits because he thinks it’s sexy and womanly. At first I was really self conscious because I do a lot if yoga and swimming, so my pits are pretty public! However, after a while I grew to love my hairy underarms, and my female friends started to comment how they would love to have them as well ( but their partners thought it was unattractive).

    People associate hairy armpits with being ‘a hippy’, and it is always said in a derogative way; incidentally when I was a ‘hippy’,I shaved. In summary think it shows how much the ads have worked by getting the public to associate hairiness to being outside the social norms.

    Anyway, in the end my partner was right. My hairy armpits do make me feel womanly and I hold them open and proud at yoga.

  13. Beth Browne says:

    Hi Sarah! Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I love the image of you at yoga with your arms open and proud. I do my yoga every day and now I will think of you when I raise my arms!

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