Monday, January 25, 2021

Shaving – My Hairy Little Secret

September 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Body Image

Jen Orcutt from Great Family Adventures submitted today’s kinda funny/kinda gross post for your reading pleasure!


This post may contain TOO MUCH INFORMATION for some of you. If you don’t want to read about shaving habits and armpits, just move on.

Right now.

I mean it.

OK. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

armpitI shaved my armpits yesterday for the first time since December. Yes. That December. Yes. Three months ago. I thought I’d feel sleeker, cleaner, better. When I look in the mirror, I certainly feel more attractive. But I don’t feel cleaner; I feel sticky, poky, uncomfortable.

I don’t really know what spurred me into growing hamsters in my armpits. I think it had a lot to do with raising girls and my tendency to question why we do the things we do. Why should I teach them to shave their ‘pits when the time comes? WHY do American women DO this? Is this the best thing for our health? If not, shouldn’t we educate our girls about the importance of maintaining ‘pit health in the interest of their overall well-being? Is popular culture more important than personal health?

OK, so I get the whole cleanliness argument. It SEEMS logical that if you shave, there will be less hair to trap bacteria and the stink that arises from them. But that only seems logical because it’s the way I’ve been taught, what my forebears believed. Others claim the ‘pit hair draws moisture away from the skin, thereby reducing the moisture in which bacteria can grow. The hair also relates to pheromones, the chemicals we associate with scent but which are also related to sexual attraction, among other chemical signals. (Even the scents have been studied.)

So: hair = cleaner skin = cleaner pit, right?

Not so fast.

There has also been quite a bit of talk in recent years about the the relationship between ‘pit health and the health of the lymph nodes. One hot topic is the debate over the health implications related to using antiperspirants (which, by their nature, are intended to keep the ‘pit from doing its job as nature intended) versus deodorants. It seems to me that if my body is intended to cool itself and otherwise release chemicals through the ‘pits, I should let my body do its job.
But it looks terrible, you say.

I couldn’t agree with you more. I was raised on Western culture, where sleek, fit, young women are the bomb and fat, hairy girls are, without question, out. Why? Because that’s what marketers of whatever description decided: actors, directors, models, consumers, the whole kit ‘n caboodle. When was the last time you saw a hairy model or actress portrayed as a beauty in Western media? Or even as above average?

So, between the fat and the hairy, I’ve certainly been living on the wrong side of the tracks in the beauty village. This winter, however, only three people saw my pits, all of them living in this house, two not yet affected too greatly by popular culture. None of them seemed to mind. None mentioned it. If we were in most other parts of the world, I would have fit right in. Hell, with this much ‘pit hair, I might even have been revered! (I had no idea how hairy chick ‘pits could be!)

I thought I could buck our societal norm of the shaven ‘pit. I did. But only in my private little world, the winter world where long sleeves, or at least sleeves, hid my hairy little secret. Now summer’s coming and while I realize that I’ve been avoiding the pool for lots of reasons, it wasn’t just my slow swimming and poor physical condition, but ultimately the ‘pit hair that kept me cloistered. WHAT would people say? Would they avoid me? Would my friends there be repulsed? (One could then ask, of course, if they’re really friends if something as simple as ‘pit hair could get in the way of good company.)

Today was it. I couldn’t hold out any more. Maybe it had something to do with recently aired television commercials, which several friends have mentioned without knowing about my dirty little secret. Maybe it was a lifetime of cultural education. Maybe it was vanity. Certainly it had something to do with vanity. Whatever. I grabbed that razor and in second undid what took weeks to cultivate.

I fit in with my friends and neighbors. But I feel sticky and stinky and filthy even minutes after showers.

So if you must look, prepare yourselves; the hamsters are very likely to take up residence again.



18 Responses to “Shaving – My Hairy Little Secret”
  1. Juniper says:

    Amen! I know just how you feel. Though I am usually good about shaving my armpits I will go for 6 months or more in the winter without shaving my legs. Winters here start late October-ish and run well into March and April. It takes a LOT for me to finally cave and go buy a package of razors but I eventually do, and why? Because “they” say so. Who are “they” to tell me what is best for me, “they” don’t even know me.

  2. Toadlet says:

    I can’t shave, i refuse to shave… After years of shaving I realised that my body hair was now coarse, thick and ingrown! I now wax, and of course this means I have to wait for the hair to grow out first… I live in a place where it’s pretty much hot all year round so i can’t hide my legs or pits! But no one seems to mind… The small town isn’t really like that, no one is bothered. Here people find it amusing to see a tourist climb out of their air conditioned 4WD caked in make up and wearing high heels.

  3. A says:

    I just trim mine (with blunt ended scissors or a beard trimmer) every few weeks. That way it doesn’t get out of hand, but it also doesn’t get ingrown.

  4. Jewell says:

    Don’t shave ladies, armpits, legs, your beautiful bush. Save the crap about why it’s supposedly healthy to shave. It’s all a bunch of shit pushed by dove or whatever brand of beauty product of your choosing. Come on women, we’re smarter then that! Why haven’t I heard a bunch of justifications/reasons as to why men gotta shave their pits?

    And hair doesn’t get coarser when you shave it. If you were like me you started shaving when you were just nearly hitting puberty, obviously if I shaved from the time I was 14 to when I stopped the silliness at 22 I’d see a difference in the coarseness of my hair.

    We need exclaim that our body is beautiful hairy armpits, legs, bushes, and all! (And when was the last time you heard a guy shave his happy trail above his trunks? The hair’s got basically the same consistency as pubic hair if you ask me, so why do I gotta wax my entire lovely bush!) And don’t even get me started on breasts! Sheesh!

    • Lampdevil says:

      We need exclaim that our body is beautiful hairy armpits, legs, bushes, and all!

      We do, yes we do! …but what about us that have hairy toes, bellies, upper lips, cheeks, chins, and eyebrows? Is there room in the “your hair is awesome and beautiful” camp for the genuinely hirsute?

      I’ve come to terms with some of my fuzz. But not all of my fuzz. The chin fuzz, especially, makes me want to lock myself in my house on some days. Anyone else got some insight on this here?

  5. Katy says:

    Does this post really need to be introduced with the warning that it’s “kinda gross”? Isn’t the point of this post that not shaving your armpits is not about being “gross”, it’s about being natural and not succumbing blindly to whatever society says is beautiful/hygienic/etc? I find that kind of squeamish and judgemental introduction completely at odds with the actual piece, which is refreshingly honest.

  6. Jen says:

    THANK YOU, Katy. I appreciate my post being shared here, though thought the same thing when I read the intro. I thought We Are the Real Deal was about freeing folks from the stigma of marketing, commercialism and unhealthy societal norms. Still, even a site like this one isn’t perfect. While TRYING to break the mold, it’s hard to pick off the last of that sticky residue at times. This would be one of them.

  7. Jen says:

    I’d also like to note that the photo shown here was used on my original post under Creative Commons license. For usage information, original source and your OWN permission to use this image, see the original post:

  8. daniel says:

    You are beautiful the way you are, always. In fact, I think the hair emphasizes your natural beauty…making you sexier. Honestly!

  9. Donald Rupp says:

    Jen you look great with or without armpit hair. I prefer a lady not to shave. I was born and raised here in the states. Neither you nor I are are alone in this. There are many other women who don’t shave and many men who find that to be very sexy. It’s all about image and dollars. We all know this. The idea of the ideal woman being hairless under her arms and public area goes back thousands of years. For a woman to go hairy here in the US is pretty gutsy. Therefore most women who do not shave are very self-assured and independant, witch is extreamly sexy. Finally there is the smell. That is what drives me nuts. I love the smell. Cleanliness counts 100% either way. So drop the blade babe and don’t put Nair anywhere!

  10. Shayna says:

    Ok all this talk is very gross! In scientific proof it may be cleaner NOT to shave! but to me i shave my pits EVERYDAY and my legs 3 times a week and im perfectly happy with it! I feel nice and clean when my under arms r bare idc about my legs as much but i feel nasty and disgusting even if i skip just ONE day with not shaving under my arms! and for the woman who dnt shave all winter now thts just nasty i mean ok ppl have their own opinion and all but dnt post it on the internet and ecspeccially don’t send a pic! now tht was very nasty! There was more hair under HER pits them my own 45 yr old father!YUCK!: (

  11. Philly says:

    If you don’t want a man, then by all means let armpits hair grow. If you do want a man then shave them. It’s that simple.

  12. 1noelle says:

    This is a personal preference and one that should be decided by the individual. I do not find it gross at all one way or another. It is only a problem, hair or not, if personal hygiene is not maintained.

    I started to shave everything, arms and legs at a very early age because I was a competitive swimmer and yes, we took every advantage to slip through the water to be faster with minimal drag.

    Now as an adult and no longer swimming I do not shave my arms but shave everything else because it is what makes me feel comfortable. It is for me and me alone and that is what matters most.

  13. hairy jazmin says:

    Its so simple. I am a hairy girl, will stay that way cause I love the feel of it and my husband loves it even more on me. Plus, it would b kinda hard to hairy a site called hairyjazmin if I was shaved. LOL Please let it grow girl, unshaven is beautiful and it is the way we were ment to be. simply put, If God didn’t want us to have it, he wouldn’t let it grow
    Your hairy mistress

  14. You can thank the original inventors of the safety razor for why women shave in this country. Evidence points to a single marketing campaign, designed solely to sell razors to a new audience. Once they planted the seed that hair on women is “unclean” and “unwanted,” it was easy money. They started with underarms, moved to legs, then our “bikini area.”

    Other cultures have different reasons for removing hair, but as best I can ascertain, much of it has to do with the idea that hairless bodies are somehow more “pure” or “clean.” Funny how it doesn’t seem to matter how pure or clean men are.

    Read my post on hair removal trends here:

  15. Christian Alexander Tietgen says:

    Shaving is not a good thing to do.

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