FIRST OF ALL, 98% of you clickers will not read this post in its entirety (and that’s understandable — it’s uber lengthy). But if you take the time to read any bit of it, I would most like for you to see this: http://hairylegsclub.tumblr.com/. I just discovered this website today and it is completely fabulous — ladies (AND MEN) share stories of how they were able to move past society’s twisted standards regarding body hair and how they can now embrace their natural bodies. Many have suffered criticisms from family and friends, but they have stuck to their decisions and have found freedom in them. It is so, SO awesome. I really hope that you enjoy reading through the various posts. Now, back to business —
To those of you that know me, yes; please read the title to this post again.
Okay, excellent — now please read it just once more.
Thank you for indulging me. And yes, you read it correctly: October 2013 – October 2014 has been my most feminine year “of life” to-date.
“WELL IT’S ABOUT TIME!” I can hear you exclaiming. “Geez Rose, welcome to the 21st freaking century… blow dryers, make-up, tweezers, waxing, heels, pedicures, silky shirts and hazy perfumes — glad to see you’ve finally joined the club.”
…thank you. Now, let me clarify; 10/13 – 10/14 has been my most feminine year to-date; NOT my most dolled-up, flowery-smelling and synthetic year to-date. …do you feel me? Okay, I really did want to avoid another lengthy, ranty blog post, but I’ll concede. Let’s go.
What is femininity? My favorite entry on http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/feminine?s=t, for this word, is “womanish.” How fitting. For years, I pictured a feminine woman as you probably do: empowered (of course), super pretty, dolled-up, dressed nicely and looking picturesque with manicured nails and silky hair and a completely flawless face. Also, bright red lipstick. The feminine woman in my mind is definitely wearing bright red lipstick. It seriously looks awesome on ladies, doesn’t it? Adds that dramatic touch..
Anyways, this morning, when I got out of the shower and dressed myself and realized that, for the first time in a year, I didn’t see a fat and ugly girl-like human being gazing back at me from the mirror, the true meaning of femininity SUDDENLY hit me: being happy, and being a woman.
- I have not shaved in the last 365 days.
- I have not worn make-up in the last 365 days.
- I have not plugged in a hair dryer, or a curling iron, or a straightening iron (OR ANY kind of iron), and neither have I smelled the chemical fumes of nail polish in the last 365 days.
- I cut all of my hair off this summer.
- I wore heels once, at the beginning of fall, and I absolutely hated it. Do you need a pair of heels? They’re pretty cute. They were like 50 bucks 2 years ago and you can have them for 5. I hate them. <<< kidding; I’m not really selling them. Might need them for a super important meeting sometime in the next 40 years — but thank you for your interest!
Now — you’re just COMPLETELY lost. “WHY did you start this post by saying you’re finally feminine? Clearly, nothing has changed.” Oh — but it has. I am happy with myself. Finally. I am a woman and I am happy.
When I began my experiment of living “naturally” and not shaving last October — well, I didn’t really realize that I had started anything. It was October — the weather had gotten a good deal cooler — and wearing dress pants 5 days out of the week (and then PJ bottoms during the other 2 days of the week) left me feeling pretty comfortable not shaving. Now, after 2 weeks of this not-shaving business, I realized — “what the heck? What on earth am I doing? What my legs are now growing is beyond stubble. This is scary. What’s the plan, Stan? This can’t go on forever. ….and this has got to be a record.”
I took no immediate action; I reeled in my self-horror, gave the matter some more thought and then added in a small dosage of reasoning the following morning:
“I really should shave, but it’s still so cold out — why bother to shave my legs at the crack of dawn each morning if I’m still destined to wear tall socks and leggings and dress pants for the next wee— month… months, anyways?”
So, I sort of resolved to (as horrible as this sounds) kinda not shave? during the rest of the winter. And no, I’m not an introverted, single woman with no man in her life; I shared my intention with my husband immediately and he totally dug it. “Do whatever you want, babe; I don’t care. I love you.” Simple as that.
So I did do whatever I wanted and enjoyed month after delicious month of fuzzy warmth and zero hassle. It was marvelous. Along came March and, after 6 months of my quiet rebellion, I am totally digging this no-shave thing. It has become a lifestyle; hairless skin is a thing of the past. “I ALWAYS HATED that next-day feeling anyways,” I thought to myself one day; the way you could brush one leg up against the other and almost believe that sandpaper was glued to each calf because of how TERRIBLE it felt. How awful that I put up with it for so long.
Merry as things were, I was, however, forced to ask myself — won’t this need to end sometime soon? It was a horrid thought — going and picking up a bottle of shaving cream and a package of cheap razors at Target that weekend — “goddddd, no!” But oh, there are pencil skirts to squeeze into and cut-off shorts to wear, and the world is not ready for this. Not yet. What to do, what to do?
I couldn’t just back down and relinquish the sense of control and comfort that I had secured over my body, so I continued not-shaving and also continued wearing dress pants to work — for the whole spring and summer. It was a little warm to be wearing pants – especially come July and August – but it was, in my estimation, a cheap trade for the comfort of living happily in my own body. In my personal life, I even began to venture showing my legs – my hairy, cavewoman legs – out in public.
It started out slow; I’d drive up to the local park on the weekends, wearing a baggy t-shirt and some gray athletic shorts, and as I walked laps around the lake, ear buds blaring out the chatter around me, I could feel my cheeks redden as I passed other people. “Oh god, I bet they’re freaking traumatized by what they’re seeing right now. They probably think I’m crazy.. literally, they MUST think I’m crazy. Only a psychopath living in the 21st century would go out like this; unshaven and uncivilized go hand in hand, don’t they? A police car could pull up any second. I am not kidding — it really could. How will I prove that I’m SANE? Oh.my.goodness. Why didn’t I just wear pants.”
It was pretty rough, and in the summer, when my weekly Target run (not a literal run — my shopping trip at Target) came around, I would hastily pull on a pair jeans while in the bathroom before running downstairs to meet my husband. Without fail, he would always say something.
Usually: “Why on earth are you wearing pants? It’s 98/99/107 degrees out there, Rose.. you’re going to be miserable. Go change.”
“I don’t WANT to, Chris — I’m FINE.”
“No you’re not, you’re being stupid about your legs. Why do you even care what people think? You know I think you’re gorgeous.” Awwwwww.
46% of the time, I’d let him talk me into changing; I would bare my legs to the world, feeling nauseated and hyper self-aware during our entire outing, but, over time, it stopped.
It actually, literally stopped being such a big deal. The pointed reductions in my discomfort came along slowly at first; I would walk into Nordstrom on a Sunday afternoon and browse the clearance racks, laughing and pointing items out to Chris, and would only remember that I had worn shorts out when a female would walk by and, seemingly, “notice.”
“Oh yeah —- I forgot about that. Should I say sorry?.. NO! Heck no. Get over it, lady. Go shave your legs; I’m sure that 1/87th of an inch has grown since you did so this morning and you obviously can’t have that.” [Rude, huh? I didn’t REALLY think that. But it’s fun to read and to think that i could be so spunky.]
And now, a full year later, I can happily say that walking around in my natural body doesn’t bother me at all. I feel liberated to have gotten over all of the negativity — the negativity that lived inside of my mind as well as all of the negativity and ignorance surrounding me. I feel very proud to have accepted my body so fully, where others cannot seem to stand the thought of even the hint of a hair growing near their ankles. It makes me sad to know that other women feel so ashamed of their bodies and feel the need to “correct” what is not wrong with themselves. Don’t get me wrong here: preference is one thing, but abhorrence is another. I’m certain that there are women out there who shave daily/weekly simply because they just prefer being hairless, and that is totally understandable; smooth legs look and feel great. I am A-OK with that. But I refuse to allow a pretentious and prying society govern how I live my life OR treat my body. The idea is absurd, and you would probably agree that it is, too, but how often do we conform to society’s standards regarding personal matters without even realizing we’re doing so? It’s startling.
What was it that The Spice Girls always said — my beloved Spice Girls.. was it ‘girl power’? YES. #Girlpower. I like that. They shaved their legs, I’m sure, but still; I’m positive that they’d say “GIRL POWER, LET YOUR FREAK FLAG FLY!” to any girl who told them that she was sick and tired of bending to the stupidstupidstupid will of society. Girl.Power.
My biggest personal breakthrough was glancing into the mirror this morning and realizing that hairy legs and underarms no longer repulse me; last year, they did. It was just something that I put up with and tried to ignore because I realized, factually and rationally speaking, that I was just “conditioned” to see body hair — on a female — that way. Isn’t that so freaking sad? Little girls are brought up to believe that, at age 12, something “wrong and awful” starts happening to their legs and underarms and that, in order to be pretty and acceptable and date-able, they have to spend every day of the rest of their lives “fixing” it. Terrifying. Sometimes, I hate the world.
It is, in fact, the most natural thing in the world for a woman to look this way, and every trace of shame is long behind me. I am happy with myself; I have never looked and felt more like myself, and i have also, admittedly, never been so at peace with my whole self: mind, body, and spirit. Losing 18 pounds and 3 pant sizes in the last year has certainly helped things also; sigh, I miss having nightly brownie sundae parties with Chris.
Now — will I ever shave my legs again? Yeah, probably.. honestly, I’ll probably end my little strike this spring, considering the fact that I received a promotion at work recently and can’t be the training specialist who paces around the office looking like a jungle native. I just can’t. Again, the world isn’t ready for that yet.
But when I do finally “give in” and run the sharp and ominous blade back down my delicate skin, it won’t really be the end of a strike; the one-year project has already culminated. Now, I’m no longer experimenting. I’m just enjoying being a woman — being feminine: empowered and respected, free and weightless, happy and natural. How does that sound?
^gag, right? I went a little too far with the hashtags. But you know what I’m saying.
And OH, GOODY! It’s No Shave November! I’m already participating.