November – officially it is still autumn, but with the clocks turned back and the darkness descending on us an hour earlier than I’d like, it feels more like the beginning of winter. Or the beginning of the end of the world.
It’s the time of year when I wish I could do what bears do and go into hibernation until the spring. Imagine going to sleep for months and not having to deal with the stress brought on by general elections, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Brexit. What bliss!
But I’m not a bear and unfortunately – since I hate cooking – my kids need to be fed on a daily basis and given a decent amount of motherly care, so I continue to drag myself out bed each morning, lest I can convince my husband to get up before me.
While I can’t hibernate like a bear, I can grow hair like a bear. Well, almost. I’m not talking about the frizzy hair on my head; I’m talking about the growing forest on my legs and under my arms. No, I’m not trying to make a feminist statement about body hair, it’s just that November weather – cold, wet, and windy – demands an extra layer of protection. At least that’s the explanation for why women grow hair on their bodies that I give my nine-year-old when she asks why I’m so hairy, and she’s not.
“Whatever, it’s still gross,” she responds, clearly unconvinced by my argument.
Admittedly, hairy legs are not terribly attractive, whether on a man or a woman, but as long as I’m less hairy than my husband, I won’t let my hair bother me just yet.
[On a side note, this time last year I wrote a blog in praise of bushy eyebrows so there really must be something about November and women’s hair growth.]
But seriously, why is women’s body hair such a contentious issue? I can’t even remember when I started worrying about my body hair, but I’m pretty sure I was at least eighteen before I first shaved my legs. And I can’t recall my mother ever suggesting I should remove any unsightly body hair (thanks, mum!). I was horrified, therefore, to hear mothers of twelve-year-old girls – friends of my daughter’s – fretting over their own daughters’ growing body hair. Is it appropriate for a twelve-year-old girl to wear a sleeveless summer dress that reveals the hair under her arms? Yes, absolutely!
One of the best things about growing older, I find, is that with each passing year, I care less and less about what other people think of me. My only regret is that I wasted so much of my youth worrying about others’ opinions. For example, I was in my early 20s when someone I admired first suggested I pluck my eyebrows to look prettier. For years afterwards, I had them plucked on a regular basis until I became a mother and my eyebrows quickly lost any importance.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t pluck your eyebrows if you like, or shave your legs if that tickles your fancy, but don’t do it because someone else expects you to.
Me? I’m sticking with my hairy body until spring.
Each to their own!