The Schick Choice

I stopped shaving my legs on 9 July 2005. It wasn’t a decision I made with any foresight or conviction. It came down to a choice between shaving and eating, and I picked eating.

It started innocently enough. I was packing for my three-week study abroad in Oxford, England. I managed to fit it all into a carry on. I didn’t pack my razor. Razors were carry-on no-no’s. I knew when I landed I could buy one. I had pounds and pence in my wallet and had notified my back that I would be travelling throughout the UK for three weeks and would be using my check card while there. I took a shower, shaved my legs, dressed for travel, grabbed my bag, locked the door, and left on my second summer study abroad.

During the six-hour flight, two things happened. First, my fault, was the posting of the study abroad deposit check from six months prior that I never wrote down, didn’t notice as outstanding, and spent paying a month forward on responsibilities so as not to give them any thought while overseas. Second, partially my fault, was the posting of the post-dated rent check three weeks early. I had only what was in my wallet for three weeks in England, or about £70.

I stretched every pence to eat. I had a couple of pints. I did not buy a razor.

I returned to the US, and my then boyfriend and now ex-husband didn’t notice. I was so nervous. After accepting that I couldn’t shave for three weeks and being pleasantly surprised that the hair grew in blond (seriously, check the gravatar, you can’t tell), I was suddenly hit with the overwhelming anxiety of my boyfriend discovering my hairy legs. Gasp! But he didn’t.

I decided to wait and see if he would notice. He didn’t even touch my legs. I asked him about it after a couple of days. He didn’t care. It wasn’t my legs he cared about.

Fast-forward to 2013. Three years out of my marriage, and still with the hairy legs. Still, until a weekend which sociologically demanded shaved legs. I plucked flower petals. I shave. I shave not. I shave. I shave not. I shaved.

I shaved and my legs felt fucking awesome! Holy mutherfucker of smoothness. I couldn’t keep my hands off my legs. Two days later, I was shaving again, and cursing it. Why?!?!?!

Why?

Good question. As I pulled the razor up my legs, erasing the soap in single, short strokes, I questioned my motivation. I had been staring at a year’s supply of razors for eight years, untouched. Why now? A man? Myself? Society? A sick and patriarchal combination of the three?

A man? I was going to spend time with a man the following Saturday. It was, at the time, plenty enough platonic that it didn’t matter. It was spring, and I knew I could get away with jeans.

Myself? It’s an arduous and time-consuming task, but the results made me feel good. I needed feel good. If ten minutes in the morning would give me that, then those ten minutes were well used.

Society? Had it ever noticed, I probably would have been bullied into making the decision long before I did. But it didn’t, and I liked that I could go undercover as a woman, and still be a woman. Society can kiss my ass.

I started shaving my legs again on 1 April 2013. It came down to choice. I wanted to, and so I did. Now, sometimes I shave and sometimes I don’t shave. It’s my choice, and having choice isn’t something I take lightly.

*Title references Schick®, a maker of razors for women and men.

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26 thoughts on “The Schick Choice

  1. I don’t shave as often as I should, mostly because I start to get light headed when I bend over in the shower nowadays. Unlike you, my hair grows in dark. This is when Nair comes in handy.
    Who wears short shorts?
    Mer wears short shorts!

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    • I love the “whatever” days, still, when I don’t feel like shaving and so I don’t but still feel perfectly comfortable going out “like that”.

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  2. I have this conversation with Hubby…how come men can be as hairy as they want and that’s accepted but women can’t?? What’s with that?! Signed “She still shaves” You’ won’t ever catch me in short shorts but yeah that’s stuck in my head now! lol

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  3. Having blonde hair has its advantages. I never shave my legs unless I’m getting fancified and that’s only as part of the whole “I like getting dressed up” phenomena and not out of any sort of vanity.

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    • Yay blond hair! It helps me keep it a choice and not a social pressure because I know it’s not noticeable, unless you’re really up close, and if anyone is going to be that close, I’m shaving.

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  4. Cool, but you really lucked out. I’m a Yeti and I don’t shave unless I’ll be wearing something where they will show. Men? Maybe I would if I felt like having sex, but I’ve been celibate for 14 years and I’m pretty happy with my solitude. You did it at the right time and for the right reason – because you frigging wanted to! 🙂

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    • I, too, am a Yeti. I have to shave or I lose my mind. Hair makes me cranky. I told Dave the other day that if I could take a pill and lose all the hair on my body, and have to draw on eyebrows and wear a wig… I’d still prefer that to having to constantly remove hair. I said it as a silly dramatic joke, but realized at the end that I’m not even joking. That’s how much I don’t like hair. 🙂

      So I’m definitely down with the “Yay, do what you want!” team. 😀

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      • It’s all about the choice, right? Unfortunately it’s more of a social demand right now. (I am so very sorry I missed this comment. I wasn’t ignoring you, I promise!)

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        • Haha, that’s alright. 😀 And yes, shaving is a social demand… but, from a lifetime of completely ignoring those social demands, I know they’re really weak demands in actuality. 🙂

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          • They are weak. In my time going shave-less I noticed most people didn’t notice. That helped, really, and now I worry less if I go a day or a week.

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            • It’s the same thing with hair styles. I had to shave my head for a medical attempt to save my lungs, and I cried like a baby the night before. Not for the procedure, but for my hair because I was sure everyone was going to stare. Friends did, the first day because I didn’t tell them I was going to do it– but everyone else just kept on truckin’. Social demands of all sorts are like that– bigger in our heads than in real life.

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            • They are more in our heads than in the world. (I’m sorry to hear you had to go through that ordeal.) I keep my hair very short which in some circles isn’t socially acceptable for a woman, but I do it anyway because it’s what I’m comfortable with.

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    • When I was in high school I did a study abroad in Germany. During the preparation orientation, our sponsor told the girls we could leave our razors at home because it wasn’t a cultural demand in Germany for women to shave. None of us did though, every one of us shaved our legs while we were there and corrupted some of the students whose families we lived with when we taught them to shave too.

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