Tag Archives: hair

Another intimate tidbit…

There was a 15 year span in my adult life during which I did not shave my legs.  Ever.

I had spent the previous seven or so years of my life shaving my adolescent legs, because “we have to.”  I hated every wasted minute, every painful red rash bump, every time the stupid guy who sat in front of me in history class would reach back and caress my shin and say either, “Ooo, smooth, who are you trying to seduce?” or “Oh, stubble, time to shave!”  In the way the a lot of teenage girls do not question cultural assumptions or the asinine way that people communicate them, I would inevitably feel alternately whorish or ugly.  And I continued to scrape the sharp metal against my skin.

Until I moved to Oregon in my early twenties.

Now, I know, there is electrolysis, hair removing cream, waxing, and a myriad of other methods.  BUT WHY?  Why do we continue to adhere to the purely vain idea that women must spend time, money and energy regressing to a prepubescent body by removing the natural covering of half their bodies?

Well I wasn’t going to do it anymore.

For those of you who have not had the singular experience of living in an area inhabited by a significant population of freaks, you will not understand the ease with which this decision is made.  You can walk down the street in shorts, leg hair flapping in the breeze (and to impress  you further, my skin is quite pale and my body hair, minus the grey on my head, is quite dark), and no one will bat an eye.  When you are surrounded by folks with their entire faces tattooed, by young people, white and black, with their hair in long scroungy dreads, by piercings and earhole-widening plugs and green spiked hair, the most likely reaction to a woman whose sole foray out of the norm is her hairy legs will be, “Geez, why are you such a square?!”

Thus, 15 blissful years.  

Granted, it took me a while to overcome my cultural training and stop being repulsed by the sight of my own bare legs.  It helped that I saw others similar to me.  I always wanted to high five these women, thank them for being a weirdo like me, but I thought it might progress the cause further if I just acted cool, as though saying “What’s the big deal?” might make it so for the rest of the world.  

I also had, about five years into this experiment, what might be considered a healing dream of sorts: I was sitting in a circle of men, all of us in shorts, our legs casually stretched out toward the middle of the circle so that when you looked down you couldn’t tell us apart.  It fit so satisfyingly into my gender ideal, which is that each person be seen for who they are as an individual and not be immediately put into a box based on the type of genitals they (presumably) possessed.

It was a habit that would be called into question when I met the man who is now my husband.

He is far too kind and understanding to have demanded or even suggested that I shave.  But I knew.  I could tell by those subtle clues that one must use with those selflessly thoughtful people to find out what they really think.  So I began to shave occasionally, usually just up to my knees.  Heck, I supposed that in doing so I was meeting him halfway.  Seemed fair.

And now?  Well, dear readers, I am currently living in the South.  The days of freakdom have (temporarily?) come to a close and I suspect that a stroll down the avenue with gorilla limbs would not be well received.

But I still hate it.  My poor gams are stinging as we speak.  I wonder if they might be willing to walk all the way back to the Land of the Weird and reclaim their right to be shaggy.

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Close-cropped progeny

I can never resist a request for pics (macbeck – is that you my dear artist friend?)

So here’s the little ones pre-infestation and then what I did to them to facilitate eradication of the nasty-crawlies:

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Mathilda, right?

 

Then little dude before:

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And post-buzz:

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Those parasites may be able to suck the blood from their scalps (I’m making myself itch again just thinking about it) but they can’t make them stop smiling!!!

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Further lessons in humility…

Heaven knows I’m sure I need them.

We found lice eggs on my baby son’s head, so it was time for the buzz.  He’s 20 months old and had just grown in the sweetest curls.  But he’s too squirmy to have to search through his head all the time, and I hate the thought of putting poison on his baby head, so we just buzzed him.  It made me sad.

Even sadder, I keep finding eggs and bugs in my littlest daughter’s hair, and she has never had her hair cut (only bang trims) in all her 6-1/2 years.  Her lovely brown ringlets went all the way down to the small of her back.  But enough is enough.  Luckily she and her Dad just finished the Matilda book and movie, so she is thrilled to have a cute bob just like the lead character’s.  And it does look sweet.  But me and my sentimentality, I had to shed a tear first before chopping it off.  

I feel totally drained.  Every morning this week has been spent/wasted dealing with bugs.  I poisoned all our heads Monday, but today I still found bugs in my little girl’s hair.  Back to the store, more poison, more expensive stronger brand.  Damned if there weren’t still LIVE BUGS in her hair an hour after treatment.

Sigh.

I’m going to try the oil treatment tomorrow, see if something more natural won’t do the trick (oil is supposed to suffocate them if you completely saturate your hair and leave it on for a couple hours.  And it’s not poisonous!)

Anyway, enough bitching.  Just in case anyone wondered why I haven’t had anything intelligent or insightful to say in a few days, it is because my critical powers are focussed on searching every strand of hair for bloodsucking parasites, and my eyesight has been encompassing nothing of interest.

Hope to be back in the game soon.

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Vanity

I like having my hair long.  I think it’s fun, and it exploits my hair’s natural tendency to curl, which used to manifest itself as tight ringlets (what I like to call “sproings” on my daughter’s head) but now, my hair being old and laid back, is usually no more than loose loop-dee-loops.

My husband likes long hair as well, but I know he supports whatever I want to do with my appearance, as well as in any other facet of my life.  Other advantages to length: easier to make it behave, makes me look younger, can have more fun with it.  

Sure there are disadvantages: a pain in the rear to brush, often looks scraggly unless I wear it up, can’t take a shower too close to bed time because it takes so long to dry.

But there is one major disadvantage that caused me to employ the assistance of my daughter plus the clippers to buzz my coiffure down to within an inch of its existence:  long hair is a haven for lice.

I know… gross.  I don’t know where we got it from this time.  I’m thinking it might be the kid up the street that my son started hanging out with about a month ago.  They sit on each other’s beds while they play each other’s video game systems.  

We had them once before when we lived in Oregon… well, twice, actually, because I don’t think we did a thorough enough eradication the first time and so we had a second round.  I had long hair then and it was hours and days of picking through every strand to get all the nits.  Sick.  Barf.  Completely grosses me out.

The thought of asking members of my family to lose entire swathes of their lifetime in a, literally, nit-picking pursuit was more than I could stand.  If you just miss a couple, just a mere fraction of the teeny, miniscule, nasty little eggs, then you’ve failed the entire mission.

I wanted to buzz so badly, but it made me sad to think of giving up my hair.  I was sickened not only by the bugs but also by my own reluctance to give up looks for practicality.  I hate to feel vain!  I hate to feel my head crawling and itching and still want to maintain the warm tangly ecosystem that the parasites call home.

I am proud of myself that I cut it off, even if it took five minutes of crying to pick up the scissors and make the decision irrevokable.  My time and my kids’ time is too precious to waste trying to make Mama look a couple years younger.   

I’m glad we spent the afternoon playing Monopoly instead of fretting over Mama’s infested locks.  Vanity be damned; life’s too short to be wasted worrying about being pretty.

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