Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Pits of Dehair

I stopped shaving my pits before Miley Cyrus made it 'cool".

While the nipple pasties wearing, bong smoking twerker has recently made headlines with her unshorn axillary hairs, I've been in hot pursuit of armpit hair for months now.

Yes, months. Why, you ask?

It all started a few years ago when I sprouted one or two little hairs under my chinny chin chin.  I accepted it as a normal part of aging (though I didn't expect it at 23), shrugged, yanked them out with my handy tweezers and moved on until they appeared again.

What they don't tell you is that awkward facial hair spreads like lice in a kindergarten class: it starts with one or two and before you can blink it's everywhere.  Oddly enough, right about the time I started growing awkward facial hair the hair on my head seemed to be thinning.  I couldn't help but think this is how men with incredibly hairy backs and wax-worthy domes got to be that way and I was terrified.  Before I knew it,  I could grow a beard but not the luscious locks of my youth.

My first step was to visit my trusty doctor who gave me a thorough physical, complete with blood tests.  She then suggested a cream that would slow the hair growth for the low, low price of a daily-use prescription not covered by any insurance company because it was considered cosmetic. Not having any spare limbs to pay for such a luxury, I began my journey into the world of hair removal.

If you're imagining me standing in my bathroom in a towel dripping Rogain onto my scalp while simultaneously waxing my chin, you're almost spot on.  Only, this was only a fraction of my hair management responsibilities as I also have eyebrows that try to meet in the middle, an upper lip that occasionally looks "shadowed", ladyscaping duties, and plus-sized lady limbs that need deforestation regularly.

Keeping things tidy has been a full time job.

It occurred to me that if I could grow a good ladybeard then there was no reason I couldn't grow good hair.  Clearly, I was doing something detrimental to the top of my head that I wasn't doing to the rest of my face.  It was then that I made the hard decision to stop dyeing my hair: a practice I'd engaged in faithfully every 4-6 weeks for the better part of a decade.  I've been tempted by beautiful highlights, but I have persisted and not an inch of the hair presently on my head has been touched by dye.

I miss the ritualistic process of mixing the dye and developer and the big reveal of new color, which is why I got so excited when I heard about women dyeing their armpit hair.  I scoured Google Images looking at teal and purple pits for hours and decided I was going to do it.  I didn't care about my armpit hair being damaged from dye and the idea was hilarious to me.  When I remembered that bright colored dye bleeds and would ruin my clothing I abandoned the idea, but I still didn't shave.

The first two weeks, I felt absolutely disgusting.  Then I noticed a change: I started to struggle to identify what exactly makes not shaving that particular area so "gross".  Now, I'm oddly comfortable with my armpit hair in a way I never thought I would be when I was feeling the knee-jerk impulse to hop in the shower and shave.

There are people who can't see, taste, touch, hear or taste my armpits who are disgusted by the idea that they're unshaven even though there is no health related reason for removing unwanted body hair.  I have and will always have body odor, but not shaving has not made any kind of discernible difference in this department.  Last, but not least, no one is cuddling with or trying to get intimate in a way that involves their face in my armpit.  There is only one of the five senses that can really be offended by my refusal to shave (sight), and I don't often wear sleeveless clothing.

It's really very unusual when you think about it: we are a society so accustomed to women who obsessively remove all body hair that refusing to remove what is natural seems unnatural.

I realize this only makes my choice to pursue laser hair removal confusing.  I might feel differently about it if I didn't believe that stupid facial hair ruins a nice face, and in this instance my face is better sans beard.

But if you think I'll be able to talk to my Aesthetician/Laser Technician without using air quotes like Dr. Evil from the Austin Power's Movies, you're so wrong.

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