Often, I joke that I’m growing out my bear pelt for the winter. I’ll smooth my hand down my unkempt hairy legs and laugh that I’d freeze without them.
With spring rapidly approaching, I’ve come to re-think my position on my legs.
I hate shaving my legs. I despise the effort and time that it takes, loathe the pink tax and filling up landfills with disposable razors. Having silky soft legs feels like a ticking time bomb, just counting down the hours when the hair will re-grow.
I haven’t shaved my legs since last August. After some serious thought, I had decided that shaving my legs just wasn’t for me. It felt like an advertisement of my body: “Look, I groom myself so carefully that I remove perfectly normal hair from my body with a blade! Aren’t I attractive.” It has taken some adjustment and hard thought to realize that hairy legs are not a sign of negligence.
I am not conventionally beautiful. My body does not cast the silhouette you see on magazines– I still struggle with acne and my weight. It’s been hard to come to terms with my reflection in the mirror; it’s still a war I am waging. This is only one piece of a huge puzzle of insecurities.
The thing is– for as much as I despise shaving my legs, I don’t like how I look with hairy legs.
“If you feel that way, why not get laser hair removal?” asks my mom.
“I would,” I tell her. “But wouldn’t that be letting the media win? I’m still giving my money to perpetuate an industry I don’t believe in.”
“If it’s for you, and no one else; go for it. Anyone who thinks you’re ‘conforming to social norms’– that’s their own problem.”
I understand that, but still struggle. Can I be comfortable in more than my own skin– in my own hair?? The furry fuzz that curls around my calves is not disgusting. A perfectly normal part of the human body, my leg hair does no one harm– but still I get unwelcome comments.
“Wow, you’ve got hairy legs,” remarked a coworker.
“Yeah,” I laughed. “I don’t like shaving my legs.” She looked at me with an odd expression, as if to say, ‘what has that got to do with anything?’ “…So I don’t.” I finished. No need to defend yourself, I thought. There is nothing wrong with hairy legs. She eyed me incredulously.
“My boyfriend feels the opposite,” she told me. “He hates his hairy legs. He’d shave if he could.”
“Well why doesn’t he?” I asked.
“Because that’s not what men do,” she sighed, exasperated.
“Ha, he can trade with me;” I joked. “I’ll keep my legs hairy and he can be smooth.”
Throughout the winter it was easy to not shave my legs; nobody saw them anyway. Cold months prevented me wearing anything to expose my ‘bear pelt.’ With spring, however, comes the reintroduction of shorts and twirling dress to my wardrobe. So I will struggle, again, with my self-image.