If you're anything like me, and through the narcissism of Internet writing I assume you are, you spend a fair amount of time thinking about your nipple hair.
Yes, nipple hair, lots of us got it, lots of us don't know what to do about it. So in the spirit of hard-hitting journalism, here I am, ready to pull up a chair by the fireside with you and talk nipples. The hairy kind.
I first noticed a few little black soldiers appearing around my nipples at age 11. This, apparently, is normal since nipple hair coincides with hormonal changes, and boy-howdy was I hormonal! Puberty hit me hard and in a matter of months I went from a wispy, stick figure (ROBBIE CURRAN called me Olive Oyl. That's right! I'm calling you OUT!) to the human-hair edition of a Chia Pet. Hair where it wasn't before, as well as bumps and boobs threatening to ruin my LIFE.
And since none of the other girls had B.O. or pubes or boobs or a MUSTACHE, I was convinced I was the Great Kitten in the Sky's science project gone awry. Then the nipple hairs pushed their taunting little heads through my boob-skin and it was over.
I mourned. Gone were the days of changing for the community pool casually in front of my girl friends. Gone were honest discussions of what was going on with our bodies. Gone were white tank tops. I now had a secret -- a hairy, embarrassing secret.
Throughout my teen years, I intermittently gave up and attacked my chest colony full force. Shaving and trimming were my first tactics. The year my mom let me start shaving my legs, around 13, I shaved EVERYTHING. Funny how the reality of a razor-burned, nicked and stubble-covered body isn't as sexy as you imagined. I weirdly believed that a stubbly boob with ingrown hairs was my lot in life and even in those early years I started rehearsing how I would explain this to my husband, Christian Bale from "Newsies."
By the time I reached college, I was so far in the nipple hair closet, I believed my lie, "I really don't have that much body hair," was a truth. If nobody knew (everyone knew) that I was a Hairy Girl, then I wasn't. (I did this with B.O. too, what is my deal???)
This is about the time I did what all the "de-hair your nipples" advice columns tell you never to do. I Naired my boobs.
That is, I used Nair on my nipples. I thought this was the answer! If I dissolved the hairs and killed the roots, my boobs would be a slick as a baby seal! OF COURSE!
I was wrong. Sweet criminy, I was so wrong. Oh, yeah, sure, the hair withered and melted and fell out, but I thought my nipples might, too. They were red, inflamed, bumpy and -- for some reason -- erect. I walked around for days with major titty hard-ons that caused me to grit my jaw and flinch every time something awful like cotton came into contact with them.
After that, I left well enough alone for the next few years. Once my hormones calmed down a bit in my twenties, my nipple hair became less prominent. Or maybe I just got used to it. Either way, it bothered me less. None of my sexual partners mentioned my secret garden, and even if they did, they were more interested in my amazing sexy-time prowess. Maybe it was all in my head?
Then it wasn't. My first real, long-term boyfriend broke the spell.
We were getting ready for bed one night and I was yammering on about how great I thought it was that a friend of mine was so OK with her body and how she was totally cool with not shaving or anything like that, and how her partner at the time was really accepting and stuff. Ya know, stuff guys like to talk about.
My boyfriend sort of paused and looked at me. What? He sort of sheepishly pointed to his chest region. Huh? He started drawing circles in the air. Tell me!
"Well you sometimes have some extra, uh, hairs, uh, around your..."
BOOB?! WHAT?!? HE WAS TALKING ABOUT MY FREAKIN' NIPPLE HAIR! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Needless to say, I slept in a turtleneck and sweatpants that night, in case my errant hairs heard us talking about them and decided to stage a coup in the night.
Ever since then, it's been war.
The best, and really, only way I've found to stop the hair brigade around my nipples is consistent and dedicated plucking. I pluck those suckers, and, yes, it can hurt but it keeps me nipple hair-free for at least a week.
It seems to be the nipple hair removal style of choice too. I polled a group of my friends, of various ethnicities and ages, and -- across the board -- Pee Plucking was the favorite. Pee Plucking?
Pee Plucking is when you pluck your nipple hairs as you pee. It's all so convenient. You may or may not be naked (most of my lady friends mentioned that they are often naked while peeing), but either way your boobs are right there in front of you. And your tweezers are usually within reach. Studies show that the majority of American women pee several times a week so -- oodalolly! -- that makes for some great nipple hair maintenance!
Plucking your nipple hair, whether on the toilet or not, seems to win in popularity. Even Dita Von Teese plucks her nipples.
One friend of mine, who is blessed with light colored nipple hair, says she either leaves them alone or trims them close to the skin. This was backed up by some of the info I found on the interweb from various beauty Q & A sites. More than one site warned against the dangers of nipple hair plucking, due to the possibility of ingrown hairs or infection, recommending instead trimming or even electrolysis. You've been warned.
Electrolysis scares me a little bit, and the thought of zapping my nipple hairs with electricity brings back memories of the Great Nair-scapade. As does wax. The opinion seems to be split on using wax to remove nipple hair. The area is very sensitive and in the wrong hands (mine), putting hot wax on your nipple could leave you without said nipple. Not really, but you could cause yourself some real pain. However, I made some calls to salons, it seems most skilled Brazilian waxers can and will tackle the hairy nipple, no problem.
I read that around 30% of women in the U.S. report having nipple hair (is this covered in the census? did I miss this part?), and from what I can tell from Googling "nipple hair?" many of them are embarrassed and confused as to what to do with it. "Am I normal?" or some variation on that, is a common question in forums.
It's all pretty ridiculous. As my favorite crunchy friend once said, "If my partner is going to love me, then he or she is going to love all of me -- hairs and all." I agree with this sentiment, yet I just can't get myself to let it all grow out.
I really want to. I'm the laziest person around, yet I'm willing to spend valuable time and energy ripping out of my body, what nature says should be there.
If nothing else, spending the last day or so asking women about nipple hair and researching nipple hair on the interweb has reinforced the fact that I am the friend you least want to receive a text from after midnight. ("How hairy are your nipples right now?")
Where do you stand? What are your favorite means of nipple hair removal? Have any of you waxed your nipples?