I just got done with a discussion with my husband regarding my leg hair. He was perfectly nice about his preference about my lack thereof, but still, I resisted. I couldn’t figure out why I was so strongly against his desire for my smooth legs, as I like them as well. Generally I only go a week or so between shaving.
And then I remembered that in 5th grade, sitting in Friday all school mass, a girl named Mary told me I was gross for having leg hair. I had noticed, of course, that my legs were growing hair, but being 11 I didn’t know yet what that meant. Blame the Catholic school lack of sex ed, but it didn’t connect in my head that the leg hair meant anything. Also, that day made me realize that some of my schoolmates used the pews for being jerks instead of worshiping. I guess I was usually concerned with the altar. I was never popular, but my predisposition for early puberty and love of Mass really did me in.
The following day, before I went to ballet, I stole my mother’s razor. I had no idea how to use it, but I tried my best. I succeeded only in slicing my upper ankle on the second swipe at my hair. I didn’t know how much pressure was necessary to cut the hair but not cut flesh.
I had never been taught how to use a razor. I also wasn’t the kind to stop when I was foiled. After the first deep slice, I shaved the rest of my legs with little issue. But I still had to wrap my leg, because I had done a number to my lower left leg. Luckily, my mother was a nurse, so we kept the necessary supplies underneath her sink. I managed to clean, bandage, and hide the injury for the most part. I told my parents I’d just randomly hurt myself. Not unlikely when I was happiest being outside and falling down. My ballet instructor noticed, and I don’t remember what I told her.
The first significant injury I caused myself was trying to fit into someone’s ideal. I’m not sure it was coincidence that when I started seriously self harming a few years later that I used my inner legs as a primary target. Easy to hide, easy to explain if figured out.
Maybe I have a good reason for loving my leg hair.