A Diatribe On Shaving
January 02, 2007
If you think you have tried everything under the sun to get rid of unwanted hair, you might want to think again: I’m pretty certain I have sheared the competition.
© Matthew Bowden
I dislike shaving my legs nearly as much as I dislike waiting in line at an amusement park (where is the amusement in that?), or eating liver and onions with ketchup at the local cafeteria, or exercising for an entire hour on the elliptical machine and not experiencing immediate gratification, even though the display clearly read that I burned 1,023 calories. Doesn't it stand to reason that if I burn that many calories all at once, I should be able to see the difference straight away? Perhaps my legs should have become perfectly toned and – as an added bonus for my hard work – soft and silky to boot. Velvety legs aren't easy to come by, though. I've had to learn that the hard way.
Because of my distaste for the sport (and believe me: it is a sport), I've tried just about everything in lieu of shaving:
- I've attempted growing my hair out, kind of like a chimpanzee, but I'm convinced that those little hairs were causing runs in my pantyhose, and I'm much too thrifty to allow such a thing. That, and it was kind of gross.
- I've had a go at shaving them in the shower with a razor and a wide variety of shaving creams and gels, which only led to coarser hair. It also led to razor burn cropping up the first moment I got chilly, which led to giant itchy welts, which led to my refusal to wear any clothing that rose higher than my ankles. Considering I live in Dallas, Texas, where the average summer temperature hovers around 105˚, not shaving is not an option.
- I've taken a stab at the world of Nair and Veet, placing the fate of my legs in the hands of a depilatory cream, only to discover that not only did my leg hair grow back in just a couple days, but I also got chemical burn. Chemical burn! Just before I went to the beach! My skin looked leprous and it felt like a hundred full-grown jellyfish were stinging my legs every time I was hit with a spray of salt water.
- I've even gone as far as using an epilator, which I tried only because a friend of mine swore by hers and promised that it didn't hurt. Temporarily forgetting that I have an abnormally low threshold for pain, I purchased my very own epilator, which looked deceivingly like an electric razor. The first night I used it, my voice grew hoarse from crying out in pain.
Determined that I only needed to accustom myself to ripping each hair from its tender follicle, I continued to put myself through a pain that rivaled Dante's fourth circle of hell. And then I realized that I had become a very angry person. So I cleaned the epilator, packaged it nicely, and sold it to some poor, desperate sucker on eBay. Bwahahahahaaa!
- You may not believe this, but I've even used friction to get rid of my hair. Several years ago I went on a week-long backpacking trip to Colorado. Resolved that none of the hot guys would know that I grew hair on my legs, I purchased several two-inch purple squares that were the equivalent of extremely fine sandpaper. And then I buffed away my leg hair for seven days. Oh yes, I did. I buffed my hair away.
- I've tried plucking with tweezers, but that is both boring and time consuming. Also, the pain. Especially near my ankles. Have I mentioned that I don't do well with pain?
- Back in the day I even spent about six months of my life waxing my legs. I, personally, did not wax them. I paid someone to do it – and boy, did she – though I haven't figured out yet how that arrangement benefited me. Sure, I had hairless legs for a while. But I also spent an hour every six weeks gasping and yelping in anguish. The manager finally told me point-blank: "Stop yelling. People can hear you." I clamped my mouth shut and allowed small screams to escape through the tears in my eyes. I never went back, incidentally, even though waxing wasn't nearly as bad as the epilator.
Currently, I use an electric shaver. It is divine intervention in my relationship with my legs, because it doesn't cause nicks or cuts or bleeding or scars. It doesn't cause razor burn or chemical burn, and most importantly, it doesn't hurt.
Next up: laser hair removal. (As long as the pain is minimal, that is.)
Still, I can think of a million other ways I'd rather spend that fifteen minutes, like laying in bed and "thinking about what I want to wear to work today" (also known as sleeping) or catching up on Britney Spears or playing Kings Quest.
After my shower this morning, as I was towel-drying my legs and wondering whether I should shave, I noticed something odd: I had white hairs. ON MY LEGS.
Nearly ten years ago, I worked as a swim instructor at an outdoor pool in Florida. That was the summer that my skin grew dark – so dark, in fact, that as I was riding down an escalator in the mall, I overheard two guys arguing with each other over whether I was white or black – and the hairs on my arms were bleached white by the sun. I had never had blonde hair before, and marveled at the way it glinted in the sunlight.
But this was altogether different. This was white hair, not bleached by the sun but stripped of its pigment because of...age? I'm only 28. My pasty legs that have been covered by long pants for the past eight months. The only light they've been exposed to has come from my 60 watt overhead.
And do you know what this means, Internet? That I'm getting old. MY LEG HAIR IS TURNING WHITE. Next thing you know, I'll be carrying a cane and asking the cafeteria lady at Luby's for a double serving of liver and onions. With ketchup.