For some people, four weeks without shaving is absolutely nothing. For others, it’s an eternity. Personally, as somebody who usually pulls the razor into action at least twice a week, it felt like a very, very long time.
I love shaving. I love feeling like a baby dolphin when I emerge from the shower, fresh and as smooth as a cod liver oil capsule. It’s like a new confidence washes over me every time I get rid of those pesky hairs.
But what I don’t like is the itchy skin as the hair starts to grow back, the occasional shaving rash, the dry skin from where the razor has irritated it. I hate how long it takes to shave, and that I have to wake up twenty minutes earlier than usual just so that I can wear a dress without tights. Most of all, I hate the feeling of stubble. So over the summer, I decided to ditch the razor (and the wax, and the epilator) and just let everything go.
My skin no longer felt like sandpaper from the mixture of stubble and dry skin. I no longer felt the need to scratch my legs all day. I didn’t have to worry about waking up earlier to shave. Life was easy-going and glorious and itch-free.
Despite the fact that I know that a hairy body is seen as unattractive purely because of our darned patriarchal society, I still didn’t feel sure getting out my overgrown underarms or flashing the forests on my legs. It’s not something that I’m courageous enough to do, and I wouldn’t have felt happy and comfortable with myself. For this reason, I stuck to tops with sleeves, long trousers, and tights for the entire month. I found it tiresome finding something suitable to wear every day which covered the hair I was so uncomfortable with. I found myself feeling frumpy, unattractive, and lazy. I know that these are ideas that have been purely driven into my mind by society, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to let go of those thoughts. I wanted my confidence back.
The thing is, I never actually think those things about other people who choose not to shave. I never look at somebody’s legs and think “they’re just lazy” or “ugh that’s ugly”. I think about how confident they are, and how much braver they are than me. Because I don’t think of body hair as a gauge of how attractive or unattractive somebody is, I think of it as a scale of confidence. They’re openly fighting the beauty standards that are pushed upon women in magazines, on television, and by men, they’re sticking a middle finger up at all the people judging them, and they’re embracing their hair. Because it’s natural.
When I finally shaved, I must admit that I felt a little bit like I had been reborn. I had forgotten how smooth my skin could be, how great it felt to wear a sleeveless top, and how much more self-assured I felt. I wish that I could have been confident enough to whack on a sleeveless sundress with four weeks of hair growth poking proudly out from my bare legs, but that’s not the case. Maybe one day I will have the confidence to let go of all those inbuilt fears and strut out of my house without a care in the world, but right now that’s not something I feel I can do. It’s a shame that I’ve been made to feel so embarrassed about my own natural body hair.
I know that shaving isn’t for everybody, and letting your hair grow isn’t for everybody either. It’s a personal choice, and nobody can dictate what you do with your body. I don’t shave because I feel like I have to, I shave because I feel more confident in myself when I do. And that’s okay.
Do whatever you’re comfortable with, whatever makes you happy, and whatever makes you love yourself that little bit more.