Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why I Don't Shave

When I was a kid my mom's full time job was a Jazzercise intructor.  (Ask me later to show you the routine to Neutron Dance.)  She taught a ridiculous amount of classes per week; something like two or three a day.  In Jazzercise there are always two students (mostly women) who are registrars.  This means they come to class for free and handle all the money and checking people in.

I clearly remember one of my mom's registrars because she didn't shave under her arms.  I totally remember the first time I saw the dark hair in her armpit as she lifted her arm up in some crazy movement of dedication to the cardio god.  I was shocked, I didn't even know that women could grow hair there.  I was intreguied.  Why did this woman have hairy armpits when no other woman in my world did.  Is it a choice to be hairy?  And if so, why would she choose to look so different.

Fast forward a million years later and I am unshaven.  There are actually several reasons that I don't shave. The first (of course), is becuse I am crazy lazy.  But there is more to it than my unfailing dedication to one of the deadly sins....

When I got my first piercing at the age of 18 (because mom aforementioned Jazzer loving mom would not let me get it done "under age"), I did it because I wanted to stand out and look different.  I've colored my hair pink and blue.  I have tattoos.  I wear my pentacle necklace loud and proud.  Yes, I like to make it pseudo-obvious that I am not like everyone else.

But now, virutally everyone in my age group and under has started to do the same thing.  I look around my town and see piercings, tattoos, and randomly colored hair everywhere.  It no longer stands out as someone choosing to not fit into the dominant paradigm.  Bummer....

This is the main reason that I don't shave.  I get some amazing reactions from people when they see my hairy pits.  On the surface I probably look pretty mainstream.  I don't dress all the crazy or odd.  My hair is now a "normal" color.  My nose ring is so small that often people don't even know I have my nose pierced.  I wear makeup and live in the suburbs.

Not shaving under my arms is my secret little way to stick it to the man!  It is my little way of saying that I don't fit in and I don't want to.  It is my little way to take back what is sexy and feminine.  It is my way of saying this is how my body is and I want to keep it that way.  So there!

I will never know why Jazzercise registrar lady didn't shave, but it is one of those moment that stands out as a pivotal point in my life.  Which just goes to show you, you never know when you are making an impact on someone.

Plus, not using razors is better for the environment.


  1. Love it! Thanks for this. I remember my own process of stopping shaving. One pivotal moment was seeing a new friend of mine in a long hippie skirt with hairy legs, and appreciating how beautiful she was. I stopped shaving my legs first and was going to still shave my armpits, but I went to a festival and didn't shave over the weekend, and realized it didn't bother me. Definitely better for the environment too!

  2. I LOVE this post. I didn't shave until I hit 40 and suddenly had the urge to. I found the bare skin was super sensitive which was really lovely so I haven't gone nack yet. Maybe that will be part of my 50th birthday celebration of cronedom, stoping hair dye (also bad for the environment and shaving :-)

  3. This was a beautiful post and i understand completely how one can cherish the feeling of uniqueness!

    1. Love this!! I used to be really paranoid about having hairy legs and underarms and anyone seeing me with hairy bits. I can't imagine what I thought they would do about it. I went to a class with a trapeze artist friend of mine, who didn't shave her legs for it, and I thought, it's cool that she doesn't feel the need to shave her legs all the time, and it didn't bother me at all. So since I realised it didn't bother me, now I only shave my legs when I have to - dance performance, when I teach mostly. So I guess I only professionally shave now...?
      It just feels pointless to do it all the time. The people who care dont matter, and the people that don't care, do.