I am hairy. Yep. I said it: hairy. For the past three years (with the exception of a handful of times where my mother pleaded with me to shave because I embarrassed her), I have gone au naturel. I do not shave, I do not wax, and I do not use depilatory cream, thus my pits, legs, and pubes remain. I originally stopped shaving out of laziness. If I didn’t shave twice a day, then I would be itchy from regrowth. I would go from “smooth as a baby’s bottom” at 8am to “Next stop, Stubbletown!” by noon. Don’t even get me started on my razor burn problems. (Please refrain from any lectures on not using the right products. I tried virtually every product in the shaving aisle to no avail.)
Then came the shaming. As misogynistic as our culture is right now, I was a bit shocked to find that most guys don’t care. In fact, many guy friends like to compare leg hair length and laugh about it. Nearly every bad word about my body hair has come from women:
“I can’t believe you’re doing that.”
“That is so gross!”
“Why don’t you just shave it?”
I’ll tell you why I’m not shaving it: I love it. It’s freeing. I feel like I sweat less and smell better than when I had bare pits. My personal liberation is a conversation starter! I can use it as a method of bringing up more important gender issues, such as workplace equality. In fact, I can now go from, “Why is shaving a gender segregated social construct?” to “Why are women earning over 20% less than men?” in 60 seconds flat.
You know what is the most surprising thing I’ve learned from this? Being hairy makes me feel more like a woman than being smooth ever did. By keeping natural, I gained a body confidence that I never had. I’m not afraid to wear my crop top, sized 3X in all my fat glory. I’m not afraid to admit to myself that I want to wear dresses and skirts and never pants because pants are so uncomfortable for me. I’m not afraid to wear my Doc Martens and black/blue/purple lipstick with aforementioned dresses. I’m me with my body hair and never have I felt sexier.
Patience Priegel was born and raised in Oklahoma and has lived her full 20 years as a bleeding heart liberal in a very red state. She is currently working as a line cook until she has enough money to move to Melbourne, Australia. Patience loves board games, books, baking, and banter, not to mention alliteration.
(Featured image via)