How I Don't Shave My Arm Hair!
Whenever I see a new hot beauty product launch on the market, if it’s marketed to make me feel bad about myself enough to buy it, guess what? I’ll probably buy it.
You know the type, the kind of cream that makes just enough promises to categorize itself as one of your earlier college boyfriends: your skin will look better, baby. You’ll see 53% less stretch marks in one week, baby. Just try me and see. I don’t do (FDA approved) labels.
What can I say? As much as I’ve learned to use makeup in a way that makes me feel beautiful on my own terms, I can’t pretend I don’t still want to be beautiful on every one else’s. This I cannot shake. I can't turn on the Victoria's Secret fashion show yet and go "blech, no way, I'm glad I have much duller skin and flatter hair." When it comes to glowing skin and voluminous hair and a hairless, cat-like body, I'm all in.
How do I achieve it? Well, I don't, really. Why have money when you can have a variety of lotions in jars? At 28, I have creams that promise to get rid of dryness, redness, patchiness, and crow’s feet. Sprays and deep conditioners that get rid of horriffffic split ends. Chemical hair remover that smells like gasoline, which I willingly put on my body. And it leaves me with pretty great hair about 3 days a week with enough hair spray, skin that looks good with some redness, and hair that grows back. But it's not just about the hair, skin, and nails. I’m incredibly open to criticism. What other parts of my body are hideous and gnarly and need changing? My elbows? The backs of my knees? My second toe? I have suddenly taken notice of my cuticles, which I have deemed ‘not as attractive as they could be,” which is almost nuts. Who has sexy fingers? It’s not like I’m a hand model on a pack of supermarket dish gloves.
What part of my body do I need to change next? Is it my frenulum? My ankles? Well, I’ll tell you which one it won't be, at least for me: my arm hair.
In the summer and at least two times a year after that, I have almost no body hair. I'm in the beauty machine, people, and I'm riding it like a Ferris Wheel that slowly builds Sephora points. I'm mostly fine with no body hair on myself, because it’s my choice to nick my toes every time I shave them in the shower. And I spend a lot of time tweezing and plucking and waxing and shaving so most of my visible body is hairless, save for my eyebrows and head.
And my arms. My arms are hairy as they come.
I know many people who shave their arms, and I cannot and will not blame them. I get it. Smooth arms feel fantastic. People like shaved arms, just like they mostly like shaved everything. And it’s not even true that if you shave it, it grows back thicker. It doesn’t. So if you subscribe to beauty standards as much as I often do, you’d think I’d shave them. Nope!
In 9th grade, I was made fun of for three main reasons: my mustache, my weight, and my arm hair. By the time I was 17, I had lost 25 lbs, gained an eating disorder, and used depilatory cream on my upper lip. But not my arms. My arm hair is dark but not thick, and sometimes sticks up like a small Yorkie went near something static. It creeps up to my hands. Some pieces are longer than others, some are darker. It’s noticeable but not glaring, and every time I think about waxing or shaving or getting rid of it, I can’t.
It’s because here’s the truth: it doesn’t bother me at all. It just doesn't. I don’t like it, really, but I don’t mind it. It boggles my mind that I don't mind it. I mind mostly everything else---rough skin, even finger hair bothers me. But my arms I am indifferent about. Even when I get made fun of for it. Even when I see how hairy it is. In my mind I just go: I don't feel like taking care of it. It's fine. It's there. Who cares? Why would I shave it? And because it doesn't bother me, I'll never get rid of it.
We give ourselves such a hard time about the way we look. When we have acne, we spend money and time trying to get rid of it: picking at it and loading it with creams and covering it up. When we have facial hair, we pick at that, too. When our hair gets frizzy from the weather, we cover it with a hat or deep condition. We are so meticulous. We take so much time to keep an image. We work on it. I know I do. And I still feel bad about myself. I still am not perfect. I fight to be beautiful, and I don't always feel it and I'm not always beautiful. That’s just the truth. If I was, why would they sell all the creams?
I don't shave my arms as a reminder that it doesn't always have to bother you. You don't always have to change it. It doesn't always have to be an imperfection and a flaw. It can just be you, the way you are, and the way you present yourself to the world. There are flaws we can embrace, flaws that just don't bother us. There's no cream for it. I love that it doesn't bother me. If you have something that doesn't bother you: your frizzy hair, your buck teeth, your unpainted nails, whatever it is: don't change it. Why change something that you don't care about, if just because you know other people think you should?
It's just who we are. Hairy arms and all.