Over the past couple of years I've read many posts about underarm hair on women, and we've all contributed to comment threads exposing our own practices re. that subject, but I just wanted to reiterate my amusement and frustration that underarm hair still seems to be up there with nipple escape as a titilating conversational distraction.
It's been very hot lately, and I generally prefer not to wear sleeveless tops (more to do with my bye-byes than anything else), but the heat has driven me to wear them. Nearly every conversation I have, with either men or women, gets sidetracked slightly if I raise my arms slightly and a wisp of hair is exposed. They don't change the topic, but I notice the other person getting a bit flustered and either looking or trying very hard NOT to look. One man I was talking to couldn't drag his eyes away for a moment. I felt like I was topless! In fact, I think if I had been topless he wouldn't have blinked; it was something to do with the hair.
I like to move my hands as I talk, so my underarm hairs do get an airing regularly. I even trim them neatly, preferring the slightly prickle of freshly-trimmed hairs to the sharp irritation of deodorant on raw skin and the agony of stubble rash. It's HAIR. It grows naturally. It belongs there. It's nice and furry. I shave my legs these days, but I can't relinquish the little underarm mice. Are we really such a waxed and polished society? I can't wait to get to Woodford (yes, we are going, after all) and let it all hang out in an anything-goes atmosphere for a while. That's what I call a holiday.
While I'm on the topic of bodies, my lovely sister outlaw, while commiserating on the phone last week about my ladybits, said something that really resonated with me. We were talking about that plunge into nothingness with general anaesthetic, and how scary it is even if you trust the doctor. She mused that she couldn't understand how people can willingly go under the knife with plastic surgeons, to take that plunge for the sake of making your body different/more acceptable. More acceptable to whom? is my first question. WTF? is my second. Especially in the case of vaginoplasties, or 'vaginal rejuvenation', as I was reading in the latest issue of The Monthly this morning.* Erk. Anyway, I agree with my outlaw: going under the knife for something necessary is scary and risky enough; going under for sheer vanity or to be fashionable is sad and foolish.** Apparently vaginoplasties are 'in' because it aims to make your ladybits 'more attractive', and as Anne Manne says:
These are not ... surgeries to increase female pleasure. They are designed solely to render a vagina*** more "attractive" -- and more in line with the quietly universalising standards established by pornography: the surgical version of the Brazilian wax, with its faint resonances of child pornography. Indeed, the Society for Gynecological Surgeons warns of the scarring, nerve damage and numbness which may follow vaginoplasty.*
Are men really that judge-mental? Actually, I can believe that some are, after an experience a few months ago (I can't remember if I blogged it and I'm being naughty taking this much time to write, so I won't search -- apologies if I have) riding along the bike path and having a man ride very slowly behind me for a while, then slowly overtake me and look back. He took one look at my face and sneered and shook his head, then rode fast away. At the next intersection I saw him chase up to another female rider, and then later again he was trying to chat another one up, a nice-looking girl with great legs who obviously met his standards. She was ignoring him. But the irony was that this man was short, fat and oddly hairy; something I wouldn't hold against him in an ordinary meeting, but in this context it was sad and offensive.
I don't really know what I'm trying to say here. It's a mosh of ideas that I just needed to vent today. Yay for women who like themselves just the way they are, to quote Mark Darcy. I'm sorry for people who think they need to be better. I'm sorry for people who can't accept other people's bodies. And to all of you out there who think women shouldn't have underarm hair, I'm sorry. It's YOUR problem. It's really very friendly if you get to know it.
* "Love Me Tender: Sex & Power in the Age of Pornography" by Anne Manne, The Monthly, Dec 2006.
** I should say here that I don't consider a breast reduction vanity surgery. Nor reconstructive plastic surgery. Duh.
*** I'm hoping that having the V word in this post may attract some readers who never think about underarms. May you learn something today.