I have to shave my legs every single day or they could sand paint off a car. I shave for my own self-preservation. I want to avoid flaying my inner thighs. I don’t shave for political or cultural reasons.
My first experience under the daily razor came after a public shaming, which touched my psyche so deep that I abhor wearing dresses to this day. I talked my mom into buying me this hideous yellow, brown and blue plaid short skirt. It was so bad that if I could go back in time, I would tell myself to just pass on by. Do not purchase that skirt! I would also include a warning to rethink that unfortunate perm I got when I was twenty. I should’ve thought to write myself a letter to be opened in the future to apologize to my older self for these unfortunate fashion choices.
But I digress. I wore my new skirt with aplomb. I also had to put on pantyhose because according to the rules of fashion they were imperative when wearing a dress. I felt so grown up putting them on, sliding them across my calves and thighs. I tried to pull them up but no matter what I did the crotch stayed about mid-thigh. I tugged and tugged. I waddled to my mom’s room. I pulled up my skirt to show her the problem.
“Oh, well that happens sometimes. Here,” she said, grabbing the waistband of the pantyhose and lifting me off the ground and giving me a good shake up and down until the crotch was approximately where it should be. “Better?” she asked.
“Yes, but what do I do when I have to go to the bathroom?”
“I’d recommend staying away from liquids. Off you go.”
I thought I looked sophisticated as I strutted down the hallway at school. At recess, my confidence took a precipitous downward spiral. My little red balloon of fashion happiness popped when one of the mean girls pointed at my legs and said, “Oh, my god, look at all that hair. Gross!”
I looked down at my legs. My pelt was plastered against the mesh of my pantyhose. I was indeed a hairy beast. A crowd gathered and the public shaming was complete. I went home, my head low. “I have a pelt on my legs and the other girls made fun of me. I need to shave my legs and I don’t know how.”
My mother took me by the hand and showed me how. It was a bloody, brutal affair and still is some days, but finally I was clean-shaven and my legs did feel nice and smooth. Shaving wasn’t so bad, I thought, until I discovered that by the next morning the pelt had returned. Something had evidently gone terribly wrong. I raced to the kitchen where my mother was cooking breakfast. I pointed at my legs. “It’s back!”
“What’s back?” my mother said, handing me a plate of bacon.
“The pelt! It’s back. I thought we got rid of it.”
“Oh, honey. It doesn’t work like that. You have to do it on a regular basis. And…” she stared down at my calves, “in your case, daily. We come from a hairy family. Look at your father’s knuckles. It can’t be helped.”
I ate my bacon and shot dirty looks at my father. “Did I do something wrong?” he asked my mother.
“Don’t mind her,” my mother said. “She’s just being moody.”
“It’s your fault I have a pelt,” I said, jabbing my greasy bacon finger at him.
“Pelt?” he asked.
“She shaved her legs yesterday for the first time,” my mother explained. “She’s a bit on the hairy side.”
“Well, just be glad you don’t have a beard,” my father said, folding his newspaper and leaving the room.
“Why would I have beard?” I asked.
“That comes later, dear. No need worrying about it now. Off you go.”
I wouldn’t find out about the beard until I hit menopause but that’s another story for another time.
Only love can satisfy a hungry heart