When my family and I moved to Dallas, and I started middle school amongst a bunch of weirdos I'd never seen before in my life, I immediately noticed one thing about the girls in my class: They were all hairless.
OK, I don't know if they were hairless EVERYWHERE (those adventures were for college!), but I did see that when we changed for PE or when they wore skirts, their legs were smooth and shiny. So were their upper lips, but for some reason my mustache didn't bother me as much as my hairy legs.
They all shaved their legs. And I didn't.
For the first week or so I convinced myself that nobody noticed my legs. That delusion was shattered when, hiding in a bathroom stall during lunch (I was THAT cliche), I overheard the cool girl with the sassy black bob haircut talking to the cool girl with the long blond flowing locks (not on her legs).
"That Chinese girl…have you seen her legs?"
"I know, somebody needs to give that girl a razor!"
"And some deodorant."
Deodorant, whatever, I was in denial. But my LEGS? THEY NOTICED?! THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT MY HAIRY LEGS? My heart started racing, and I felt those familiar pangs of anxiety that had started wracking my chest since moving to Dallas.
Of course the next logical step was to exit the bathroom stall where I had been hiding. Obviously.
I flushed the toilet for effect, opened the stall door, and politely smiled at the higher ranking girls. Long Blond Flowing Locks basically ignored me. Sassy Black Bob, who had a reputation for being "The Nice One" smiled big at me and said a little too loudly, "Hey Louise!" before the two of them scurried out of the bathroom.
I knew what I had to do.
This razor is 3 months old. My shower is an elephant graveyard for razors.
That night I went home and told my mom that I was going to start shaving my legs. No asking anymore, not pleading, it was a statement. Leg hair was what was standing between me and acceptance.
"You know, once you start, you can't stop," my Mom warned.
"I don't care. Then I'll never stop."
So after a bit more negotiating about above the knee/below the knee and armpits and pubes and mustaches, I stalked off to the bathroom with determination, armed only with my mom's pink, plastic razor.
Nobody told me NOT TO DRY-SHAVE MY VIRGIN LEGS.
SHAVING MY LEGS MAKES ME FEEL LIKE THIS: Interpretive Leg Shaving.
Thus began my ongoing battle with leg shaving.
I'm in my 30's now, and I can honestly say I'm still bad at it. Is that sad?
I'm still the woman most likely to be wearing the Band-aids on my ankles and shins at your wedding. Or I'm the one with the strip of long black hairs down the side of her leg where she missed a spot.
I just hate shaving my legs.
There was a period of time in my early 20s when I existed only to vanquish body hair. I would wax any hairy appendage that made it's way within ripping distance of my sticky little hands. I waxed myself, I waxed my friends, I would probably have waxed you.
But as I got older and lazier and more comfortable with my body, I started waxing less and less. Finally I bought my first pack of razors in years when I was 28. I can make a pack of razors last for months.
The vast majority of women surveyed felt it was necessary to take off their leg hairs and on average women would spend four minutes, six times a week on the ritual - adding up to 21 hours every year.
Six times a week? Really? Once a week is a fancy week for me.
Look, I'm sitting here with shaved legs right now. I like how they feel (it's been about a week) and I catch myself happily running my hands down my (mostly) smooth legs. Bare, hairless skin, anywhere, can feel really good, I can't deny that.
I know many women who don't shave anything, it's not necessarily a statement or "sticking it to the man", but just how they choose to groom themselves. Nonetheless, I can't help but admire how okay they are with their bodies. Part of me wishes I could be like that, but I know that's just not me.
My mother was right. I just can't stop.
How do you feel about leg hair? What do you do to remove your leg hair, if you do? How often do you shave your legs? Six times a WEEK?!?