Thursday, December 30, 2010

dating while hairy, fourth edition...

This post was written about 3 weeks ago, and has been waiting for me to get around to uploading the picture from my camera. I will have to do an updated leg hair post in the very near future, as there have been some new developments since this was written.

This will be, by far, the most disturbing post yet for many people... I am actually going to include a picture of my legs... now with 6 months of hair growth!!!

I have had two recent experiences where these legs have led to problems... and the weirdest part is that the people had not even seen them! I was discussing gender performance with a very feminine lesbian that I met online. I'm not sure exactly how the discussion on shaving happened, but I remember it being something about her complaining about not liking to shave, but doing it anyway. She asked me if I ever planned to shave again, and I told her that I wasn't sure... I haven't thought much about it, but I wasn't entirely opposed to the idea. She had to go a few minutes later and hasn't come back online since (which I think means that she blocked me... I'm not offended or anything, we had only spoken a few times, but I think it's a bit funny).

When I did shave my legs often, they would often get little red bumps all over them, the skin would get rough and dry, and within a couple days they would have prickly stubble beginning to grow again. They didn't feel nice to touch without the help of shaving gel and several types of moisturizers. Now that I'm not shaving, the hair and skin are both incredibly soft and I find them way nicer to touch, and they feel better.

I knew that having hairy legs would not be a popular choice for many people, and I was expecting people to be a little uncomfortable with my decision not to shave (for now) at times, but I am surprised by how completely shocked some people have been.

As you can see from the picture, the hair isn't particularly coarse and isn't all that noticeable from a few feet away. Still, when a woman in my grad program saw the hair last week, she jumped back, hands flailing, and almost shrieked "what the hell is that?" She always has perfectly applied makeup and not a hair out of place, so I would imagine that body hair would be a complete no-no for her. I couldn't help laughing at the severity of her reaction, but still, it led me to question whether this was possibly more transgressive than I had originally thought.


  1. The level of transgressiveness depends on the beholder... some people don't care at all. Some people will be shocked! and horrified!

    I stopped shaving 10 years ago for a silly reason- I was living in a dorm and there was no hot water or light sources in the narrow, stand-up only showers. Taking cold showers in the dark, narrow stalls made shaving so difficult I just had to stop.

    I sorta planned on taking it up again when I had access to better bathrooms, but I never did. Not even once. I just couldn't handle the bother of it. In ye olden days, I too got the dry skin, the bumps, the quick reappearance of stubble. My skin is in great condition now.

    Depending on context (socially conservative, socially liberal, geographic location, feminist, non-feminist, straight, queer, gender-conforming, gender-noncomforming) I get a whole variety of responses from others, but I remind myself- their reaction is THEIR responsibility, THEIR problem, not mine.

    It can still be hurtful to be on a bus in the summer with a bunch of hairy-legged young men who point, laugh, and hurl insults at my hairy legs. Fuck 'em. They're only the body police if you let them be.

    I'm happy with my entire body and hairy legs has been zero impediment to dating. Of course, I tend to date other hairy-legged women, so I've got it good!

  2. Congrats on making it 10 years without feeling the need to conform to what might be described as a silly convention! I agree that it is quite context dependent, but I have yet to meet another woman in my social circle who does not shave, and most of my friends are very leftist, often radical, academic and queer.

    And that is a great attitude to take about the juvenile insult hurlers on the bus... I haven't had to deal with anything quite so blatantly offensive, but I have a feeling that it would be difficult for me to refrain from actually telling them off.

  3. Haha- your radical leftist queer friends shave!?

    I am surprised to hear that only because in the various communities I have lived in, people with such identities didn't usually shave.

    Tell your people to get on the wagon! ;)

  4. Thank you... this was the best comment I've received in a long time! Had me laughing and I had to read it aloud to the friend I had over at the time... whose response was something along the lines of the irony of there being any type of box that could be referred to as a wagon for a radical leftist queers.

    I live in a rather small city that has a very small radical community, which might be part of it. My more radical friends from Ottawa and Toronto mostly do not shave, and I'm sure there are people here I know who don't but the topic has not yet come up, but, yes, there are radical hairless people too I guess.

  5. I've tried different hair shaving frequencies, particularly in the past year. I may have gone three months last summer without shaving. I think I like shaving every two weeks to a month best but I like feeling like it's my choice. Since I don't feel the obligation to keep my legs completely hairless, I feel like I shave because I feel like it. I'm fine with hair but part of what I like about shaving is the change from lots of hair to smooth legs so that requires not shaving too much, which is fine by me. :)