Monday, November 10, 2014

On Fucking Shaving. (Don't Read This, Mom.)

This is the blog that no one has been waiting for. Seriously. (Don’t read this, Mom.) Consider this a warning. Way too much information.

I’m writing about something that I have been threatening to write about for years – even during the years I wasn’t writing as much.

Today I’m going to talk about… Shaving.

I fucking hate shaving.

I call myself a Breck girl. My hair (when I decide to fix it) is one of my vanities. It is full and thick. Luxurious, even.

There is one problem with having a really good head of hair – especially if your ethnic background is of the European variety – and that is: what you have on top is pretty much all over.

All over.

I’d like to take a moment to thank The Powers That Be in fashion and society for their constant fucking of women in terms of how we are supposed to look. Change everything about you that is natural. And before any of you whiny-assed crybaby men even think about complaining, let me remind you that you have Sean Connery, the man who was allowed to get old, bald and heavier and still deemed “sexy.” Who do we have, other than the women themselves who have stood before everyone and told them they were still sexy? Why isn’t a woman standing in front of a jukebox shaking her ass wearing a short skirt with “scruffy” legs allowed to be sexy?

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been brainwashed like everyone else. I don’t think hairy legs are attractive. But I still resent what some of us have to go through just to get rid of it.

It was society that decided that “unsightly” hair be removed from women when women’s fashion started showing more skin, beginning in 1915 with the advent of sleeveless tops for women, and then when skirts started getting shorter.

My background is Italian and French (a number of years ago when someone asked me that question I used to answer that I was a descendent of apes).

This issue has scarred me for life, literally and figuratively.

My mother would not let me shave until I was 13 because she thought I was too young. Never mind that my legs looked like those of a 40-year-old man. The first two years of middle school I was tormented on the school bus by a boy named Eddie who called me “Hairy Mary”—I suppose I should be grateful that he was not familiar with the word “hirsute,” because then he could have come up with something extremely clever that actually rhymed with my real name. He was a year older than I was, so by the time I was allowed to shave that last year of middle school, he had already moved up to high school and no longer rode the bus with me.

Even finally being allowed to shave brought with it other problems. Because she was afraid I would hurt myself with a real blade, my mother only let me use her Lady Remington electric razor. That introduced me to the word “stubble” because, as everyone knows, there is no such thing as a close shave from an electric razor. (Can you imagine sitting in the car in traffic and seeing the woman in the car next to you whip out her leg and an electric razor and start shaving?)

Do you remember when you were a kid in your early teens, playing in the pool with a mixed group of friends? One of the boys would always sneak up underwater to one of the girls, grab her by the ankles and pull her underwater? Yeah, I remember that well. I came up for air to the sound of him screaming that his hands were bleeding because my legs were so sharp.

Good times, good times…

This meant that I never played any of the pool games that required physical contact. Chicken? Hah! Nobody would want my legs on their shoulders!

My family used to go to Old Orchard Beach, Maine, every summer. My cousin Kim, who was a year older than me, was on hand to teach me many, many things each summer. I couldn’t wait to tell her that I had finally started shaving my legs. She laughed when she found out I was using an electric razor and gave me one of her disposable razors, telling me my legs would be much smoother. (My mother was not there, so I made the executive decision to try it.) But there was one thing Kim did not tell me…

I went into the bathroom, put my right leg up on the sink, put the blade at the bottom of my leg near the top of my foot, and dragged it up to my knee—

--and SCREAMED!—as chunks of skin were removed with the hair. Kim ran into the bathroom when she heard me, and then informed me that I was supposed to have used soap and water. Any of you ever pulled a razor up dry skin? (That was 34 years ago, and I still have the scars up my shin!)

After getting the bleeding under control about an hour later, I shaved the rest of my legs and then headed down to the beach…

Two more things I learned that day the hard way:

·         Ocean water in New England is cold. Cold causes goosebumps. Goosebumps raise the hair follicles—meaning, once you get goosebumps, you’ve wasted your time shaving.
·         SALT WATER STINGS after shaving! Especially, if you have one or two nicks! (Nicks! HAH!) And the burn you get displays itself in lovely red dots around every hair follicle.

There were many other things I learned about the joys of shaving since then. “5 o’clock shadow” does not only apply to men. There are some days when I have to shave twice, if I’m going out in the evening. My activities began to revolve around my shaving schedule. If I were going to go to the beach, knowing that salt water burns and causes a rash, who I was going to the beach with determined when I would shave. Shaving the night before was ideal, because my legs would not be so sensitive to the water; however if I shaved the night before, my legs would not be as smooth when I woke up. It was a double-edged sword (there’s a pun in there somewhere).

Shaving first thing on a cold morning is no picnic either, when you have goosebumps.

Epilady. I still have nightmares.

And then there’s the joy of the rash one can get from shaving. Particularly in sensitive areas. The reason Bikini Zone cream was invented. This attractive rash is not just limited to shaving; it can happen after waxing (another fun experience) and after using lotion hair removers. Once one gets one of those rashes, shaving soon is out of the question. The idea of needing to shave two days in a row causes me stress!

Again, I’m a Breck girl all over. The positions I have to get into to make sure I don’t miss anything…

About five years ago I was in the shower, and had my foot up on the side of the tub to be able to reach the back of my leg. I slipped and almost fell. I don’t know how I caught myself. It was one of those moments similar to when people say their lives flash before their eyes—only in my case, what flashed before my eyes was a newspaper headline:

40-Something-Year-Old Woman Dies in Shower During Freak Shaving Accident.

I don’t stand anymore while shaving, and the positions I need to get into rival those of a contortionist (especially in the 3 x 3 tub I have now!)—and for you sick, twisted people out there, get your minds out of the gutter. I can assure you, it’s NOT attractive. And I’m certainly not enjoying myself. Yoga? Ha! Who needs yoga when you have to shave like this?

Two years ago, when I got my physical exam for work, the doctor asked me if I could touch my toes. I did with no problem, and she got all excited about how “flexible” I was (and she could not have been more than 10 years younger than me). If that’s a feat for a 45-year-old, I have to say I owe it all to shaving-- because I certainly don’t follow any exercise routine.

Shaving while pregnant is fun, too. Especially near the end. We are all told that the doctors don’t care if we’ve shaved or not, but some of us want to know the doctor will be able to find the baby when it’s time.

And for you ladies who only have to shave once a week, or only up to your knees: I hate you. And don’t tell me what “works.” I have tried everything.

A word of caution about lotion hair removers: if you have to use it all the way up, start at the bottom of your leg first. If you start at the top and then start squirming around to get it everywhere, you will get it everywhere…possibly interfering with the landscaping--as well as burning the 'delicate' areas.


I got waxed before my honeymoon to St. Lucia. I still had to shave every day. Thank God it was warm all the time there: no goosebumps. The marriage didn’t last, but I still have fond memories of the smoothest my legs ever were.

The commercials on television for shaving products for men with “sensitive” skin make me laugh. Pussies. You only have to worry about your faces. We have much more area to cover. I won’t listen to you whine until you’ve waxed, burned yourself with hair removal lotion, or experienced one of those shaving rashes right under your testicles.

(The only men I do sympathize with are the men with back hair. They get a lot of shit, too. And that’s not an easy place to reach, either.)

About 12 years ago my friend Maria told me she only had to shave under one arm, because when she was younger she had shaved her underarms and right afterwards used the old Right Guard aerosol deodorant (not sold anymore), and it burned her pretty bad—but the hair never grew back. To this day I wonder if I could find a case of that on eBay and try it out. It would be worth the burn to me…

One of the benefits of being single and not ‘getting any’ with any regularity is not having to shave as often. That’s one small consolation (don’t even think of getting shocked by that—we are allowed to enjoy “it,” too!) There’s nothing worse than a romantic moment ruined by…say…an intimate bath planned in detail with scented candles and bath products—and one of them is a SALT scrub…or when that attractive resulting skin condition makes the other person concerned about the possibility of an STD…

Yes. And yes.

It would be so nice to be able to wear shorts all day, sitting next to a significant other and not worry about whether or not he’s going to reach over and put his hand on your leg…

This is not just limited to legs, either. Eyebrows? Upper lip? Especially when you get older. My upper lip is now resistant to most products. Even after waxing the tweezers still have to be used (that's everywhere, by the way). And I don’t even bother with the lotion products made for the face; they just waste my time.

Another word of caution; When you use Nair for Legs on the face, do not follow it up with an actual face cream that contains salicylic acid. You will end up with a painful pink Fu Manchu ‘stache.

Yes, that too.

I dream about moving to a warmer climate where I would never get cold. Or moving somewhere where hair removal is not required. For now, I will be the one wearing jeans for most of the summer, scheduling activities around shaving.

Unless Cousin It is single.