You know, ‘twas not so long ago that a woman’s body was expected to have hair in most of the same spots as a man’s body – just go a lot easier on the facial and leg hair. But something changed in the psyche of the denizens of North America and Great Britain; they began at first to expect women to shave their armpits, and then to shave their legs. If you do a little research, the dominant theory is that this was due to changes in women’s fashions in the early 1900s – namely the introduction of sleeveless tops & shorter skirts. I don’t know – it seems a little too pat an answer for my dirty little mind to accept.
My theory is that this madness started with an apparently bored prostitute who decided to shave her legs and her armpits – be it for laughs or all in the name of niche marketing and customer service – her “clients” liked it, and a trend was started. Mind you, for quite a while, good girls (i.e., wives, sisters, mothers) left the hair where the Powers That Be put it, but Naughty Nelly was pushing the envelope. In fact, to add insult to injury, the little tart actually upped the ante & began to denude (I know, it sounds like an oxymoron) her naughty bits.
Now we’re in a more enlightened age, where women are edging closer and closer to equality in all areas of life, but we’re still stuck with the pain-in-the-ass task of hair removal from a large percentage of our bodies. And it’s not for medical reasons or religious regions, but because our society regards it as a grooming necessity, a must for sexual attractiveness and, hell, just part of one’s basic personal hygiene. The general opinion seems to be that hairlessness is next to cleanliness is next to godliness – translation: if it needs a shave, it must also need a good scrubbing. Sigh……
Naughty Nelly, you silly twit.
Now we’re stuck with finding the hair removal method that best meets our selection criteria: least painful, least expensive, the least inconvenient. The options follow, in no particular order or ranking. Just between you & me, I think Nelly’s got a whole lotta ‘splainin’ to do.
Let’s start with chemical hair removal via depilatories. You can spray ‘em on or smear ‘em on, but they’re all pretty messy (and smelly). They can even be a little painful, probably due to the chemicals that basically dissolve the hair right off the body. I have to wonder what those chemicals mean in terms of my carbon footprint, other than making it a little less wooly.
Then we move on to epilation – which is just a fancy way of saying there ain’t nothin’ quite like yanking hair out by the roots en masse. Remember the Epilady of several years ago? (Do they even still sell those little doohickies, you may ask. Yes, they do, and for what it’s worth, they do seem to have greatly improved upon the technology. I’m just not up for any product testing.) A friend of mine had purchased one of the early models and did her damnedest to use it, but she just couldn’t take it. She was angered/amused when her husband christened it the Epileptic Lady after watching one of her attempts at leg hair removal – one’s limbs seem to move of their own volition in response to the painful stimulus of dozens of hairs being forcibly removed almost simultaneously. My friend warned me of the contraption’s effects as she passed it on to me to try; she never wanted to see it again and told me to trash it if I didn’t like using it. I figured, “What the heck – I pluck my eyebrows & survive it, and the skin on my legs is tougher than the tender skin around my eyes – how much tougher can it be to yank leg hairs?” Now I'm the twit. I made it through a couple of passes from ankle to knee before I gave up – It. Hurt. Like. Hell. My leg felt like it was on fire and I nearly wet my pants. Imagine if I’d tried it on my underarms or, God forbid, my down-doobie-do-down-down; someone would’ve had to peel me off the ceiling and help me with a massive, messy clean-up. Bottom line: epilation was, for me, an epic fail.
Friction is a popular method of hair removal, and it does work, but it’s kind of messy in a construction site sort of way. You purchase a “handle” to which you attach what is basically a piece of fine-grit sandpaper, and you sand off that pesky hair – along with a few layers of skin. When all is said and done, those newly naked areas will be covered with a whitish powder, which is all those poor little skin cells that gave up the ghost for what you hope will be a sexy, shiny, smoothly hairless you. Just beware the potential for friction burn – you wanna be a hot mama, but the friction rash is no picnic.
And speaking of hot mamas, let’s move on to waxing. Now there’s a concept I believe even Osama bin Laden could get behind – hot wax slathered onto incredibly delicate areas, then ripped off, thereby removing the pesky hairs. Sounds like a form of torture, doesn’t it – something cruel and inhumane? Idiot that I am, I considered having a Brazil wax done as research for this blog, since I’ve only tried a “regular” bikini wax one time. Then I reminded myself how painful that “regular” was. Helloooo, there’s a reason it was a lone attempt! I’ve decided that the Lord giveth me hair down there for a good reason, so if He thinks I need to cultivate a cute little landing strip, He can taketh the hair away. It’s not as flashy a trick as a burning bush (if you'll pardon the pun) or turning someone into a pillar of salt, but I’d certainly utter, “Hallelujah & Amen!”
The original tried & true method, shaving, is both time-consuming and tough on the skin. And the cheapskate in me resents the fact that over the years you end up spending an arm & a leg on replacement blades for a good razor, i.e., one that leaves your skin intact. And I loathe shaving any part of my body in the wintertime; the chilly temps in my drafty bathroom result in goose bumps which, when shaved, morph into little bloody bumps. But if you don’t shave (or somehow remove the leg hair), that razor stubble under the bed sheets, combined with static electricity, can result in a surprisingly realistic imitation of the aurora borealis, with added audio – snap, crackle, yeow! [In a related note, I cannot for the life of me understand how some women can stand to shave their poor little coochie. I got really daring (or was it drunk?) and tried it one time, and believe me when I say this will NEVER happen again. The logistics are a nightmare; if you have any boobage whatsoever, it’s damned difficult to even see what you’re doing down there, which makes razor burn the LEAST of your worries. And the razor stubble as it grows back itches terribly – think baseball player readjusting ye olde jock strap while stricken with a mega-infestation of, er, crustaceans. It’s not a pretty or particularly ladylike sight to behold.]
In conclusion, I would state just for the record that I think we women have, once again, gotten the short end of the stick. (Like it wasn’t enough to deny womankind the ability to pee standing up?) So to even things up a little, the next time your honey-bunny complains about having to shave approximately one-third of his widdle face, offer to treat him to a professionally performed wax job that starts at shoulder level & ends with the fuzz on his big toes. And if possible, book the session with an esthetician named – what else? – Nelly. The bitch owes us big.