Friday, June 13, 2014

Confessions of a fuzzy girl



Hair is kind of a complicated subject, you guys.

Look, I didn't inherit the Hispanic skin from my Cuban grandmother, but I did inherit Hispanic follicles*. My dad's a fuzzy dude. My brother's a fuzzy dude. That seems to be okay with everyone. My sister and I are fuzzy, too, and that's suddenly not okay?

I want to be one of those women who don't care, and most days I get about half way there. I subscribe to the Dollar Shave Club and get my constantly-new awesome razors monthly, which is a godsend when you're poor and each leg basically takes the edge off a blade. But here's the thing: I only shave when it bothers me.

Examples:

  • I shave in the summer when I'm going to be swimming or wearing lighter, looser clothes, because I don't like feeling like there's sea-weed attached to my legs, or like every bug in the world is crawling on me when the wind blows. I only shave in the winter when my leg hair gets to long that it pokes through my tights, or when I'm feeling fat--taking off that fuzzy outline does make a leg look thinner.
  • I shave my eyebrows so that I have an actual arch and not just a flat line, but I rarely shave my armpits--the skin there is sensitive, and have you really thought about the weird angles you have to get into to get all the hair out of there? Unnecessary effort I could be spending on art or writing or babysitting.
  • I remove other body hair above the waist  because it itches or makes makeup application difficult, but I couldn't care less about my arms, and below the waist is meant to be fuzzy if you're past the age of, like, nine.
  • And I rarely ever cut my hair. If we've met, you know that it averages about waist length** and that I'm a fan of really messy buns and fancy braids, both of which would be impossible if I cut my hair shorter. Also? I live short hair for about one day, maybe two, and then the first time I wash it, every single time, I hate it--too much upkeep to keep it short, too much trouble getting it to look like anything but a rat's nest, way way WAY too much trouble getting it to grow back out again.
Other days, when I'm fragile and stressed and otherwise not right, I feel like I'm too hairy and too fat and too short and too pale and too much of everything I'm not supposed to be.

But who decides what is supposed to be?

I have never had a guy tell me that he won't sleep with me because I'm too hairy. On the other hand, I've also never tried to sleep with a guy who looks like he'd care***, so there's that.

And I have also never had a moment since I hit puberty where I didn't notice that everyone everywhere is getting more hairless--girls, yes, you hear about that all the time, but also men. There's a commercial for NoNo for Men, where these dudes with over-plucked eyebrows and orange tans are NoNo-ing the hair right off their arms, and I'm just like O_o??? If you're not a husky living in South Florida, why do you need to shave off all your hair? If you absolutely must clean up your lines, why do you have to get rid of all of it? Then you're whole life is about being exposed in places that are meant to be protected, and constantly dealing with itchy regrowth and the potential for ingrown hairs.

I keep waiting for hair to come back in fashion, so I don't have to spend ages shaving before I spend two hours getting ready if I want to look mainstream, and it hasn't happened yet.

I keep waiting for people to stop caring about other people's hair, and it hasn't happened yet.

I keep waiting for media to stop making all the grossest people in the world the hairy ones, and all the beautiful people the ones so sleek they may as well be made out of glass, and it hasn't happened yet.

I keep hoping if I have kids of my own, their dad will have a low amount of body hair naturally so they have a chance of being naturally less fuzzy so they don't have to go through all the trouble--or deal with the fallout of making the decision not to care about it all that much like I did. Because there is fallout. My fourteen year old niece was messing with me the other day because my legs were fuzzy--when I wear long skirts almost every day of the year and I'm currently both single and not required to follow any sort of formal dress code day-to-day. 

She's fourteen. As far as I know, she's never even kissed a boy yet, and she's convinced her own legs are ugly and that I'm weird because I don't care to spend the time to remove hair that isn't bothering me. I didn't even start shaving at all until I was fourteen, and she's been shaving for two years. She's not even done forming yet, and she's worried she isn't whatever it is enough.

I guess it's a feminism issue. I don't think of it that way, exactly. I think of it as a personal issue--personally, I have better things to spend my time on, and because of that, I'll shave once a month or less. Personally, I think people should be allowed to be whatever they are, to look however they look, without being told, constantly and from all sides, that they aren't right. Personally, I think that people have no business telling anyone else how they should look or what they should do with their own bodies.

So I'll just be over here, being a fuzzy girl and working through the pile of BS I'm no longer reacting to and now starting to slough off about the fact that my hair follicles happen to work in volume. And I'm going to do my best to get the same across to my niece, and my nephews, and any other kids I come in contact with or produce on my own.

If we all stopped worrying about body hair, what could we accomplish?




NOTES:
*And a deep and abiding love of guava, a similar love of mango and avocados, and an obsession with garlic in all my food.
**Currently, long enough that it sometimes gets stuck in the waist of my skirts when I get dressed. Soon I'll be able to sit on it accidentally!
***Basically, if a guy looks like he cares about how he looks more than he cares about anything else, it's sort of a turn off; how could he care about me if it's all shaving and primping and gel and tanning? Ew.
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