Over August I am growing out my armpit hair for Armpits4August to raise money for PCOS charity Verity. Here is my hairy armpit diary...
Day 1After slight difficulty I have set up my Just Giving page.It has actually been a day or 2 since I shaved anyway. Is that cheating? So I am starting with armpit hairs cresting the skin and pretty confident that in a week children will reach forth from their pushchairs to snuggle into my fulsome and well-deodorised pits. Kids love me.
Day 2I meet up with two friends who are also taking part in Armpits4August. Lianne and I have very little to show for our eschewing of the razor. Sigh, Ruth is not far off luxuriant waves beneath her arms. My pale stubble shrivels in shame. My hugely competitive nature that I like to keep under wraps (by being a total misery if anyone so much as suggests a card game) is roused – even though I am all too aware after a disastrous haircut at 16 that you can't grow hair through will alone. Even if you are starting at a new school in a different country in a few days. Thanks hair.
I am also saddened that my friends have not rallied beneath my armpits as it were. I have supported some men over Movember, praising the charity shadow above their lip. I don't know if this is because people don't realise the severity of PCOS or a general distaste for underarm hair overwhelms any charitable leanings.
That's shock at my lack of progress
Day 3My armpits have entered into a George Michael designer stubble phase. I've always been a Wham! fan so this pleases me. The celebrity quality of my pits seem to have buoyed up my friends' will to sponsor my axilla fur and I am a quarter of a way to my target of £100.
Day 4A friend asks me if this venture is influencing my wardrobe choices. It has, but not in the manner people might expect. Due to pale skin and a complex about my upper arms I tend to wear t-shirts and cardigans until I swelter. But it seems pointless to conceal my glorious bushels, so I wear vest tops. In fact, I'm impatient for the hair to be more visible for the general public to notice. I've always thought women with under arm hair rather glamorous, Frida Kahlo and Kathleen Hanna are my furred role models and I yearn to be exotic like them.
Day 5These are still not glorious bushels, this is still stubble. I can't say I'm not disappointed. I have Googled how to encourage underarm hair to grow. Instead of advice I find discouragement, 'Don't grow it ladies!' Oh ok, anonymous internet person. I do read eucalyptus oil will hasten growth. I've only got Tea Tree oil, will that do? It is reassuringly zingy so it must be doing something.
I have hit my target for Armpits4August! So I raise it to £150, the messages range from encouragement, 'rather you than me' and 'gross!'. As a thank-you I post an image of my armpits for those who have donated. You would not believe how hard it is to take a simple photo of your own armpit. It is not appreciated with the gusto one might hope.
Out and about
Day 6Armpits I love you – but you're letting me down.
Day 7Eurgh. Impatient for armpit hair.
Day 8OK, today is a special day because we can see the beginnings of Proper Hairs. These are noticeable. I go out in a sleeveless dress to the Pussy Riot flashmob in Brighton. As the Punk Prayer plays we raise our arms in the air and it is revealed I'm not the only one eschewing the razor, in fact the fecundity of some participant's armpit hair makes me realise I look like I'm smuggling shedding gerbils under my arms.
Day 9So far despite unnecessary stretching at pubs, barbecues and cafés I haven't yet noted anybody doing a double take at the hair.
Pits on parade!
Day 10 I am glamorous, exotic, mysterious! I am Julia Roberts that time she didn't bother shaving for the Notting Hill première! I am artistic, I am bohemian, I am attracting stares from a gaggle of teenagers at a comedy night. It's actually quite refreshing to know full well what it is I have done that is offending their teenage sensibility so. Stare all you want my puberty-addled onlookers, I am convinced that hirsute is cute.
Day 11I am so pleased with the support I have garnered on the xoJaneUK and US sites. Most importantly it has shown how many women have been living with PCOS on the down low and how vital the community PCOS charity Verity creates is. Of course I have been informed I will be itchy, smelly and possibly banned from public transport as well.
When discussing what I should call my armpits with a friend he suggests “Stank Traps”. This is a man who uses those natural deodorant stones. I believe science and soap is on my fuzzy pits' side. As commenter RaDD678 said: “I love that for women it's unhygienic but for men it's fine”
One of the many comments from xoJane readers
Day 12I did promise my sponsors that once I had hit £100 I would dye my pit hair. However this was when I thought in but three days I would have managed a centimetre at worst. So far the pit wookies are yet to reach such lengths but I am a woman of my word... an over ambitious woman of my word. I live tweet the total non-event and my armpit hair has gone from light brown to indecisive blueish brown.
The failed pit dye attempt. I can't smile due to the lack of blood in my arm.
I've still got some hair dye to spare though so... Let it grow let it grow let it grow.