September 3, 2014 by jeliwobble
There is something exceedingly satisfying about wearing shorts right now.
I am not normally one to subvert normal expectations. I was taught in my long school and University career that anyone stepping outside that which was generally considered normal parameters was instantly and intensely derided. It was a matter of personality whether you weathered such storms or bowed under the pressure. My personality was such that I immediately adjusted my behaviour, in some vain attempt to prevent myself being noticed, to try to avoid more such derision. This was somewhat problematic when the main cause of my fairly constant bullying was my weight, which I didn’t seem able to change, and my apparent intelligence, which was over-inflated by the local grammar school creaming off the best students making those left seem brighter than they really were.
Even in my work places, doing things outside of the ‘normal way’ of doing things was frowned on. I remember clearly the professional tutor in my second placement school sniffing derisively about my lessons; ‘You run your lessons like a game show!’ as if this was a bad thing and not actually something that got the kids to respond positively and enthusiastically, improving learning outcomes.
It’s taken me four children and ten years to shake off the idea that someone else’s normal is something that I should adhere to. That said, I am not really about anarchy. I understand that some moral and social norms are sensible and, in actuality, mostly preferable to not having any in place at all. Laws, for example, in the most part, are there for my protection, just in case someone decides that their version of normal is more important than mine, although I am always pleased when out-dated prejudices that have been canonised in law are challenged whole-heartedly.
All of which brings me to why wearing shorts is currently giving me a subversive little hitch in my adrenaline and a secret smile on my face.
I have stopped shaving my legs.
Actually, I have stopped shaving any part of my body, but it’s my legs that are currently giving me the most pleasure. I have never grown my leg hair for longer than a month, usually in the depths of winter so covered in trousers, leggings or thick tights. My knees are giving me both huge satisfaction and big consternation as they are bizarrely thickly haired. I never knew this! It makes odd sense, if you think about it, knees being highly furred. Good protection when you kneel down…it’s like having built-in kneelers!
The biggest, most difficult part of not shaving is resisting the urge to do so. It’s *so* ingrained in the Western culture that females being unshaven is somehow unclean, that not shaving feels constantly wrong. I do see it written down, time and again, that ladies feel cleaner when they are shaven, as if hair is somehow dirty, or that not shaving said hair means you get dirtier than you would normally. I am really unsure of how that’s possible. Hair doesn’t attract more dirt or prevent you washing dirt from your body.
It doesn’t make you smell more either, despite what some people will have you believe. I have always struggled with body odour, particularly from my underarms, and, since I haven’t been shaving (other than a brief period when the hairs were at about half growth), my struggles with BO have quite literally dissipated. I am not sure whether this is because the hairs wick the sweat better, meaning my clothing gets less sweat on it, meaning the bacteria have less to feast on, or that I can get a better distribution of antiperspirant on the hair, not just the skin, so there is actually less sweat. Whatever the reason, I still smell fairly sweet on even the most ridiculously humidly hot New England day.
This is a revelation to me! I have always believed the people telling me that hairy people smell more and are dirtier. Well, not *believed* it, so much as gone along with the social expectation of hair removal justification. But it *isn’t* justified. Not at all. Shaving seems to me to be an entirely pointless and, actually, damaging thing for me to do as my body seems to behave better with hair on! I want to shout it from the rooftops!
Body Hair is Good!
I am now waiting for someone to ask me just what the actual living f*** I am doing not shaving, and my subversive hairy self will be in paroxysms of self righteous pleasure!