I come from the hair belt!

5 06 2010

I have a love hate relationship with my hair.

I love the hair on my head. I wash it almost daily, shampoo it up to a big white lather, condition it and am constantly playing with it. I go through periods of wondering if it’s falling, trying to grow it out, cropping it short, coloring it, hiding the grey, loving the grey and buying hair shine products that hardly ever work.

The hair on my body is another story. I’m constantly trying to remove it or to discover a method to remove it forever. I haven’t succeeded. But not for want of trying – I think my hair is very stubborn… like the rest of me.

As a teenager I used to wax my legs. I remember my first wax. It was just before my uncle’s wedding. I was 16. My mum took me to an Indian lady’s house where I had to lay down under a slow-turning ceiling fan while she proceeded to rip my hair out using just one ball of wax. It was excruciatingly painful. She used the same ball of wax, pressing and stretching it out to cover one part of my leg, pulling out the hair, kneading it into a ball again, and stretching it out over the next bit of young flesh. In less than an hour, I was hair-free and clean.

But the problem with starting waxing is that you have to keep it up. Since then I have waxed religiously every month, sometimes every 6 weeks. The worst is when you are approaching a period, the pain is heightened and I scream out loud!

I have tried other less painful ways though. One involved lasers. My dermatologist told me this works best on fair-skinned people with thick, dark hair. I was a good candidate she said – not as perfect as some Arab women but perfect enough. I went to six sittings; the hair under attack was my moustache and the hair under my arms. After spending a shitload of money, I was still left with some hair, but it was scantier.

I have also tried an epilator. This appeals to me as it allows me to grow my leg-hair to resemble that of a grizzly. My niece named me hairy-beary! But epilating is messy and takes too much time and you can’t always get every hair you want. The back of my thighs was particularly challenging.

But my legs, moustache, chin and underarms are just the beginning. And no, I am not referring to my privates before you start thinking of that. I do have hair in other unwanted places. For example, I have a love trail. This is caused by the hair on my tummy leading down to my pleasure pot – hence the name love trail. My girlfriend thinks it’s cute but that’s because she is hairless – as smooth and soft as a baby’s bottom – and I envy every bit of her.

My friend K and I had a discussion once about how leg hair removal is a manifestation of one’s social class. For example, in Sri Lanka, women from privileged backgrounds almost always wax, shave, epilate, use electrolysis, or laser away unwanted hair.  But all this costs money and needs to be done frequently. So not everyone can afford it.

Some lesbians I know choose to keep their body hair as a political statement. I don’t mind hair on other women, but on myself it bothers me endlessly. I just have to tweeze that millimeter of hair on my chin or else I won’t be able to sleep at night!

So I have resigned myself to it. I come from the hair belt! It’s kind of like a volcanic belt or a forest belt and it is definitely geographical. Being hairy is in my genes. I know some men of my ethnicity who are like gorillas – with hair that extends from one end of their bodies to the other. (Wall to wall carpeting, I call it.) But this isn’t cool or acceptable on a woman!

How is it that men can get away with being so hairy and women can’t? When will it be cool to be hairy? I want to be cool and hairy. But for now, I have to stop writing this post because I feel a follicle erupting in my chin and I have to rush to find one of my four tweezers… Good night!





You’re not a feminist, but … what?

18 04 2010

Many young women embrace the ideas of feminism but are reluctant to use the ‘f-word’ for fear of rocking the boat…

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/07/feminist-f-word-young-women