The Ongoing Battle of the Bush
I’m a hairy lady. Hairy and scary.
People think being Mediterranean is a gift. They see the olive skin, the green eyes, the curves and a head full of thick glossy hair…but what about the rest of the hair? There’s so much of it!
From the age of eleven, when I started secondary school and realized that most people’s eyebrows didn’t meet in the middle and their leg hair wasn’t plait-able, I have been waxing, shaving, plucking and pulling.
25 years on and I’m now sitting here writing this with very stingy legs and an incredibly itchy hooha. Why? Because after a long lull of beauty upkeep, I finally got around to getting the industrial lawnmower out and tackling my beast-like body.
The problem is that we had a long winter and my hairy canary hasn’t been touched since last summer. Not by a woman and her expert waxing skills at any rate (my husband has braved the jungle a few times…but he brings his own trusty sword and makes it quick).
So why did I venture below eye level today?
Because I was invited to spend the morning with friends at a swish five star hotel Spa. Along with my mind instantly screaming ‘Where the fuck is my cover-it-all swimming costume?!’, it slowly dawned on me that hotels have strong ‘No Yeti’ policies and I would have to tackle my acute hirsuteness before leaving the house.
Before I had kids I had a body worth beautifying and new wonderful men to impress on a daily basis, so I was pretty good at keeping my legs smooth and my bits coiffed. Going for a wax, or shaving while enjoying a long bubble bath, wasn’t a luxury – it was a necessity. But I’ve let things slide because, well, because now everything else in my life seems more important than my hairy legs. Plus my husband doesn’t care. Or at least if he does care, he doesn’t say anything (because a bush in the hand is better than…well…nothing).
So back to my attempts at self improvement on the hairy front this morning.
Picture this (I’m warning you – it ain’t pretty).
I’m running late and have too many children buzzing about to draw a bath. I’m also convinced I’ve run out of hot water to have a long enough shower. So first I shave my armpits at the sink. Easy. Done.
I then take a peek in my magnifying mirror, the devil’s invention, and (whilst suppressing a scream of disgust at my gargantuan pores and chin full of thick black spiky hairs) I get busy with the tweezers.
With no shower option I opt for my beloved bidet for the next stage. I adore bidets; as far as I am concerned they are the answer to everything.
With baby nail scissors in hand (best that I could do), I precariously squat on the bidet and begin to hack way at my whatsit. Just a little trim, it’s only so that I’m neat under my cozzie, no one is going to see the details. I then have to reach down and sort out the tricky bit, but I can’t see properly so I have to do it by touch alone, and I nearly nip myself. Close shave (pun intended). I can’t say I am particularly well acquainted with the flappy bits of other ladies but I am sure I have more going on down there than the average porn star…but I persevere, finishing off with a quick shave along the edges, already anticipating my ingrowing hairs next week
I then fill the bidet with warm water and squirt my husband’s shaving foam all over my legs. He bloody hates it when I do that, but not as much as when I use his razor (which I didn’t do this time). In fact I used a new one, a proper pink ladies one…then proceeded to butcher my legs! I fucked them up in a way that only a 13 year old shaving her legs in secret can do. They are covered in more cuts than an NHS hospital. My eldest daughter walks in and screams, ‘mummy, there’s blood! What have you done?’
Her little sister joins the party, picks up my razor and says, ‘this is why we can’t touch it, mummy, because, look! You hurt yourself! Why did you do that?’
What I want to reply is ‘It happened because I’ve let myself go. My leg hair is too long and the skin on my body is too dry from a long cold winter. My razor is a cheap piece of shit and I’m rushing because you are going to be late to school. Look at my legs, for fuck’s sake, look! It hurts, it really hurts.’ Instead I say, ‘oh don’t worry, silly mummy’.
Then I remember an article about Coconut Oil and how it heals everything and is good for moisturizing the body. So I grab it out of the cupboard (the kitchen cupboard, where I keep it for making Thai curries) and I dive in with my bloody fingers, getting a few stray curly hairs stuck in it for good measure.
So now I have a pubic region that looks like a bonsai road accident, a blotchy face and legs that not only resemble a Jackson Pollock experiment in red…but also smell of an Oriental restaurant. But I got there, the hair has gone and the Spa awaits.
With kids safely tucked away behind the school gates I saunter into the hotel foyer like a boss. Oh yeah, I belong here. This is my luxury morning. I am a preened, polished lady that lunches.
My friends are waiting in the changing rooms. One is dressed in a bikini, boobs spilling over, and her legs are silky perfect. The other is in a 50s style swimming costume, not a stray pube in sight. The third, an Amazonian beauty, has legs that go on for miles and the hairless face of a 16 year old. Remind me next time to choose fatter uglier friends. Not one of them is dressed, as I am, as if she is on her way to a school PE lesson. Plus they have all bought fancy beauty products with them…I didn’t even remember the shampoo.
So there I finally am, submerged up to my waist in sea-salty bubbly spa water, no bugger aware of just how hairless I now am because my body is under the water, and every bloody pore on my legs stinging like a mother fucker.
My Spanish grandmother used to have a saying ‘donde hay pelo, hay alegria’ – which means ‘where there is hair, there is happiness.’ I should have listened to her more (except maybe the story about why donkey’s can’t swim due to water going up their bums).
Still, at least I’m getting to have a nice peaceful sit down in child-free warm water, listening to the sound of silence and imagining for a fleeting moment that I am a woman who knows how to look after herself. Until tomorrow, that is, when all the bloody hair grows back.