Ask A Woman: To shave or not to shave.
Originally Published 11/1/12
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I am 20 years old and I’ve always had a lot of hair on my body. Not only chest hair, but, everywhere. I have never been uncomfortable with it, despite that I come from a generation that is too used to the idea of “clean shave.” But I made the mistake of shaving certain parts two holidays ago. After going through the annoyance of letting it grow slowly, I thought the lesson would’ve been done, and with that the end of my punishment . But I was wrong. It appears that it grew in even more.
I don’t know what to do, Beth. First off, I don’t know if girls really mind that. I guess while there’s love… but anyway, I feel I can’t shave it, because of that “If you shave it, it will grow back stronger” thing. I feel I can make things worse by doing that. What can I do?
Speaking as a woman with very dark hair who came of age and has continued to mature in a time when women are expected to have ZERO body hair…I feel your pain. Literally. I could fund a scholarship in my esthetician’s name with the amount of money I’ve spent on waxing over the years. Anyway.
First, that theory about body hair growing back thicker, darker, faster, with magical powers and steroidal muscles–not true. Ask your doctor. Check out Snopes, the world’s crusader in debunking urban myths. So why have we believed this for years? Well it’s probably one of those things that just got started by a doctor somewhere with misguided intentions (you know, like what will cause blindness in young men). I think it was probably then entrenched in our culture by personal experience because people noticed that their hair did seem to be thicker than it had been before. But the time when girls begin shaving their legs and young men begin shaving their faces also corresponds to the onset of puberty…a time when hair grows in thicker all by itself. Classic logical fallacy–post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Just because one thing happened first, doesn’t mean it led to the second thing. You’re 20 years old, Jonathan, which means that when you were 18 you shaved the area around Little Ricky–classic timing for hair growing in thicker on its own because of hormones, not your razor.
Kramer…spreading Old Wive’s Tales.
So don’t stress about the hair being thicker. It’s not. It’s growing in the same as if you’d been born 100 years ago, and never taken a razor to your body, before we became a society obsessed with hair removal. Some doctors even caution that the lack of pubic hair sprouting from all these teens’, twenty-somethings’ and thirty-somethings’ crotches is actually bad for the public’s health. Pubic hair protects against infection and disease–you may be more likely to get an STD if there isn’t a barrier between you and your partner. It’s fun when Beth puts on the Dr. Ruth hat, yes?
All of that said, if you like the aesthetic or feel of a clean shave down there, or anywhere else on your body, go ahead. But it sounds like you don’t mind your body hair, you’re just concerned that women will mind it. Like everything else–muscles or slim physique, brown hair or blond hair or red hair, athletic ability or artistic talent–what women like depends on the woman. The only way to find out is to date. Like you said, when love develops, a bit of body hair won’t be a deal-breaker. In the meantime, while you’re getting to know these women, if the bouffant nature of your thatch makes you feel insecure, there’s a happy medium between bare and billowy. Trim it, my friend.
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