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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. 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.

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HA, now don't be shocked by this but yesterday when we were watching the movie and you were putting lotion on your legs I noticed that ummmm well you had a bit of hair on your legs, but i didn't want to say anything cause gosh that could be mean and well my legs were hairy too, but I will note that I did not see any white hairs amongst the darker hairs so they looked youthful and full of life to me (somehow this was supposed to be encouraging but I'm not so sure it turned out that way)


I remember getting a white hair on my wrist years ago. It was the only one. Fortunately, I have few gray hairs and that's fine. Tough news on the shaving. Just know that guys DO appreciate it ... tremendously. My wife did some electrolsis at one point. I guess if you wnated to try it at home Roger could hook up the car battery to a writing pen and you could give it a go. .... ( pause ) or not.

And if those legs in the pic are yours, I have to make a pervy confession. You have nice legs and a nice tummy.

~Jef ( Pervy pervy perv )


Katie: It's okay. I noticed that you noticed my legs, and I guess I should have said something, but then I thought that if anything needed to be said, I probably couldn't do it justice. So: HAIRY LEGS. AM GROSS.

McPervy: Sorry to disappoint, but those aren't my legs. We'll go ahead and say they are though, just for fun. (See? See how fun it is?) But the tummy! The tummy was totally mine.


How timely! I just shaved my legs this morning...for the first time in, oh, a week or two. Right on schedule. I don't have pain issues, but I'm with you on the better things I could do with 15 minutes...like "thinking about what to wear today."

Also, if anyone knows how to make my legs resemble those in the picture, I will love you forever. I might even take to shaving them more than twice a month. =)


I've been doing laser treatments on my underarms, and LOVE the results (I went to an all girls schools, so I forget to shave...actually I cannot remember the last time I DID shave. I should do something about that...). Anyway, the pain associated with the laser is NOTHING compared to waxing. Plus, the hair is gone for 6-8 weeks between sessions (and after 5 or 6 sessions, it's permanent)! I'm seriously considering lasering my legs once I can save enough.


This is where I get to tell you that I've set a goal size for myself, and once I meet that goal, guess what my reward is?

No, go on... guess!

That's right! Laser hair removal.

It's like we ALL win. I no longer have to shave my legs, Roger no longer has to lay in bed next to a prickly pear.

Isn't love grand?


Shaving is a pain in the buttocks, indeed, but lasering sounds very high-tech and scary. Like my whole leg might get burnt off. I'll settle for my couple-times-a-week hacking around at my leg region with a Gillette Venus in the shower. Although I have blonde leg hair, so perhaps I am not as sensitive to the plight of the dair-haired woman as I should be.


My friend has been waxing her legs for so long that she says in the next year or so she probably won't ever have to again. It's finally stopped growing.

I remember those stupid epilady's. It was the worst around my sensitive little ankles. GAH that hurt.

My problem is that if I'm in the shower, I don't normally have my contacts in. Which means I miss. Normally the same places I missed before. Then we I can see, I'm grossed out. EWWW! hair!


oh, and HA!!! You got King's Quest?!?! We had that game for our Apple IIc. Stupid little knight didn't understand anything I typed!


In all seriousness, I had to stop reading at Epilator. Epilator for Kris = closing scene in Braveheart. Non?

I hope you found hairless hapiness. I may be able to finish the post and find out in early 2008. ;)


I begged (and I mean BEGGED) for an epilady when I was about 14. When my mom finally relented, I spent hours in my room in tears, daintily trying to "get used" to it. Haaaaa. I tried a few times, and then it languished in a box somewhere. Evil contraption. Who can use those things?!


So, I can top the gray leg hair------I found a gray hair not too long ago...not on my head or my legs or arms.......... I about DIED!


ROFL wonderful post!!! You are quite funny!!!

I too have tried every imaginable way to rid my legs of unwanted hair with similar results. The only thing I haven't tried is an electric razor.

I think I'm going to try that!!


At 28 years old, I found a gray hair in my left eyebrow when I was plucking last week. I feel your pain.


People get white hairs on their legs?!?!?! What?!?

That said, I'm staying 23 forever.


Jes, you are funnnnny


I'm with Deals...Laser Hair Removal is the ONLY way to go. I decided to treat myself to hair-free underarms and legs in honor of the rather big birthday which looms in front of me this year. I am about halfway through treatments and I must say that it is already worth every penny.


I tried Veet, and it's expensive, and it sucks. I figured your hair was turning blonde because shaving is what makes it black. I thought maybe your electric razor was better for it or something.

I totally want to get laser hair removal. That would be awesome.


I've always hated shaving too. Until the day I tried my husband's Schick Extreme triple blade razor in the shower. So fast, so smooth, so painless and easy. Now I shave all the time.


EVERY time I go to get my hair dyed my hair chickie cant help but inform me that I have some "shiny babies" aka gray hairs. I dont know why she thinks it is necessary to tell me- I have been dying my hair for the past 7 years, I no longer care what color my hair is- and that would certainly include any grays thankyouverymuch


Dude, I LOVED all the King's Quest games... I had all of the Sierra stuff. I remember paying like $80 for the brand new shiney KQIV. I still have them somewhere....

So, does it work on your system? :)


Ahhh hair. I told Ammar that if he goes bald, I will graciously donate all of my extra body hair to his cause. He'll just have to dye it black and voila!


Hi this post is old! But I am commenting anyway. Because I'm crazy like that. or bored. whatever.

This post reminded me of a conversation I had a couple years ago outside a bar with a really cute guy who was telling my friend and I finding a grey hair in his manly area and how traumatic it was. It still cracks me up. I hope he was drunk.


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