It wasn’t until I got back in the car to drive home, put my arm up on the passenger seat, and turned to look behind me that I noticed the rather large tufts of armpit hair peeking out from my cap sleeve.
An unusually warm Saturday in February, this was the first opportunity to wear a short sleeves outdoors in months. In fact, it was sweaty hot walking amongst the animals and dust. The kind of hot where you stand with your hands on top of your head wishing you had worn even less clothing than the light shirt, Capri pants, and no socks.
Sitting in my car, preparing to drive the 2 hours home, the entire day flashed before my eyes. Not only was I wearing a leopard print, sexy shirt (hey, it was the zoo!), my armpit hair was hanging out! Add in my long haired boys hopping around me, saying a friendly “Hi” to everyone they see, and I had become a total caricature of a hippy, free-spirit kinda gal.
It sounds so bold and daring, but I honestly hadn’t even been aware of my social standard pressing exposure until it was all over. Now, looking in the rearview mirror, I had all sorts of uncomfortable feelings. The faces of many of the hundreds of people I had passed throughout the day came to mind. A zoo definitely attracts a cross-section of society.
What had that redneck in the “I’m with stupid” T-shirt thought? How about the chick with glitter, gold nails who told my oldest he should cut his hair if he wanted to look like a boy? Oh, and the Asian tourists? Would the Italian couple find it normal? Or is Italy one of those countries where removing all body hair is the norm? Did they all wonder why I wasn’t put behind a fence like the hairy gorillas?
My belated self-consciousness stirred in my tummy accompanied with a feeling of pride that I had come to such a place of comfort with my body hair that I hadn’t even noticed it during the 5 hours we spent giggling at otters and gawking at giraffes.
Free flowing armpit hair was fairly new for me. I stopped shaving my body hair November 9, 2016. Not as a political protest. More of a social experiment with myself. I began to question any action I take as a woman in order to make others comfortable. Like, shaving my body hair, spending a fortune on an amazing haircut, wearing a pushup bra, and cramming my feet into stylish shoes that give me blisters.
There’s no real plan or purpose, just play and exploration. I remembered a friend asking in reference to my body hair, “Aren’t you worried about being offensive?” Had I offended people this day?
But, I’ve never understood why the natural state of my body would be offensive. (I’ve also never been clear as to why we wear clothes all of the time, so maybe I’m not the “right” person to figure this out.)
Realizing that I’d just given my first public display of body hair this year, I thought about what a pleasure and no big deal my lack of shaving had been during the winter months. But with Summer on the horizon and the call of swimming pools and beaches echo through my heart, what will I do?
I couldn’t imagine ever taking a razor to my skin again. I wondered; will I trim? Will I keep my legs and pits covered? Will I let it all flow in full exposure and “making others comfortable” be damned?
As I drove past farms and quaint towns with the sun setting behind me, I thought about the many reasons I’ve stayed on the no-shaving path.
First, it’s easy. Second, I’m not filling landfills with razors. Third, my skin is so healthy and vibrant being allowed to pursue its natural state with no threat of metal scraping it. Fourth, when I have an itch on my legs or pits, I can scratch to my heart’s desire without damage. Fifth, no razor burn! Sixth, the hair is so soft and luxurious. Seventh, it feels sooo good with a warm breeze flowing through it. Eighth, it saves time in the shower. Ninth, body hair keeps me warmer in the cold months. Tenth, I never have stubble.
By the time I pulled into my driveway, the worry of offending anyone had drifted away, replaced by a delight and comfort that I have been doing something to honor my body and nature and women with a sense of ease and flow. We’ll see what bikini season bring.
Sometimes I wonder why I can’t just conform? Read my first blog post “Plenty of People Do it, Why Can’t I?”
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“I write to open up space for my heart and head to tumble, stumble, bounce, and roll. I write to explore the magic of our world and the power of words. I write to expose the tragic truth of life as well as the authentic abundance and joy. The stories are meant to inspire all of us facing the challenge of knowing and honoring our authentic self in a world of commands and demands.” – Jessica Sabatini