First of all, fuck shaving.
I have very sensitive skin, and I’m prone to outbreaks of eczema. Shaving makes it much, much worse. For the past year, I’ve had these stubborn little patches of eczema on my armpits and inner thighs that just won’t go away. Moisturizing ointment and steroid cream help, but each time I shave, they come back, itchier and redder than before. It’s razor burn, turned up to eleven.
Because of this, I began to research other methods of hair removal and eventually bought an epilator. For those of you who don’t know, an epilator is a handheld machine, about the size of an electric shaver, but instead of razor blades it has spinning rows of tweezers to pluck out hair.
It hurts. A lot.
When you use tweezers, the hair is gently pulled out of your skin, one at a time, at your leisure. With an epilator, large chunks of hair are grabbed at the same time and yanked out, over and over again as the rows of tweezers spin.
It’s terrifying. If you look the Horrible Machine in the eye, the spinning tweezers look like rows of gnashing teeth that are just itching to rip your soul apart.
Still, the hair doesn’t grow back for about a week and when it does, it’s thinner and softer and comes out easier. It also doesn’t give me spontaneous, fiery eczema. Despite the pain, it was good idea.
The Horrible Machine worked so well, I decided to try it on my pubic hair.
It turns out that down there is really sensitive. It was probably the most painful thing I’ve ever done to myself, and that’s including the time I burned letters into my leg with a knife and a lighter when I was seventeen (angry teenagers do dumb things, you guys).
It still worked, in that the my skin stayed smooth for a relatively long time, but the pain wasn’t worth it. After a month of trying, I gave up.
Still, it seemed like the best solution for the rest of my body hair. After months of experimenting, I duct-taped the remaining shreds of my soul back together and accepted the Horrible Machine into my life.
But why do I put myself through all this pain? No matter what, in order to remove my body hair, I have to painfully rip it out by the roots, zap it with expensive lasers that might cause permanent damage, or give myself perpetual eczema and never take care of my skin properly.
Meanwhile, a man can have his glorious tufts of armpit hair poking out of his shirt holes every time he scratches his nose.
If I were lost in the wilderness for more than ten days, I guarantee you that, upon being rescued, I would have a uni-brow, a mustache, and armpit, leg, and pubic hair that would impress a Sasquatch enthusiast.
Sexy. I know.
You know what? There is nothing wrong with my armpit hair. If given the chance, my own tufts of armpit hair would just as glorious as any man’s. Yes, I did receive the standard body image issues that seem to come from growing up in Western culture, but I’m over it now. I happen to like my body, and growing hair is just one of the many things my body is good at doing.
Why do I have to remove my body hair just because I also have a vagina?
The Horrible Machine is a shaky compromise. It’s painful and time-consuming and it sprays hair everywhere, but I only have to use it a few times a month.
And when I don’t feel like having my hair violently ripped out by the roots, everyone can just deal with my armpit hair.