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The Results of Not Shaving for Six Months

I’ve always felt weird about my body hair. The fact that it’s a bit darker than even my parent’s has made me hyper aware of it over the years. The feeling of a smooth leg after shaving would make me feel nice, but it would never be more than a day before the little black hairs were back again. No matter how much I shaved, I would still be haunted by hairy looking legs.

Hairy legs felt like such an inconsiquential worry, yet I kept getting confronted by the fact that of course people would notice my body hair. Whether it was a little kid asking why I had a mustache or a trusted family member commenting that of course all women get their body hair waxed or plucked or otherwise removed. I didn’t want to spend any more money or pain on this thing that I was born with and would never get rid of. I could shave my legs as often as I wanted but there was no escaping the constant awreness I had about my leg hair. So, I stopped. 

Not shaving my legs hasn’t felt like a huge, radical change. It’s just one less thing I have to do and one less thing to worry about. Pretty soon, I even forgot that it was a conscious decision to stop. The thought of shaving my legs barely crosses my mind anymore. There just doesn’t seem to be any reason to do so. 

The funny thing is, the longer my leg hair got, the less hairy my leg looked. Maybe it’s because I’m not comparing the spots of dark hair to the perfectly smooth leg that was there the day before. Or maybe I’m just more used to it now. Either way, the hair just exists instead of being a daily pest.

I will admit that I still feel self-conscious about the hair when I’m wearing skirts or trying to look particularly feminine. Especially if there’s a formal event coming up that I want to look nice for, it can be difficult to remember that no one probably cares about my leg hair. Sometimes I remind myself that it’s better than wondering if the little pinpricks of hair are going to poke through my tights in winter. 

Image via author

Another reminder that has helped is the lack of reaction I have encountered. The only comment I have received these last six months was a stranger saying that they thought I was “brave” for growing out my leg hair. The comment was so small and quick that many of the details have already fled my memory. But I didn’t feel ashamed or unclean. I just remember being confused on why it was considered “brave”. I wasn’t trying to make a political statement. I wasn’t trying to take a stand against the patriarchy. I wasn’t even really risking anything. The idea and the reality of not shaving my legs seemed so mismatched. 

Sometimes I do miss the feeling of smooth legs, but overall, this small decision has saved a bit of time and a good amount of paranoia in my daily routine.

Zoe Philippou

Gettysburg '20

(she/her) From Arizona, Zoe is officially a Psychology and Anthropology double major, a German minor, and an unofficial a Theater inhabitor. She loves all thing having to do with culture or really just people in general. She's also a huge nerd who loves crafts.
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