Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Adventures in Hair Removal

So we are now one month away from the big drag show. Last Saturday the sisters met to film the video introduction to our show. This meant the first shave. Armed with a full can of shaving cream (obtained for free from Mary Kay because I dragged Mandy along to a party) and a 12 pack of Bic Sensitive Skin Razors, I began the adventure. Into the shower we go (please note the use of black boxes and "blur dots" to protect my privacy and your vision) where we do the usual shampoo, conditioner, facial cleanser routine. I then opened the razors with a smile, lathered up an arm, and set to work. Now, boys have this tendency to be more hairy, even on our arms. I know...shocking, isn't it? Each razor pass would clear about an inch or two before clogging up. As you might imagine, it was a long process. I finished one arm just as the hot water was running out completely. Thank goodness I started early. After drying off, I used a trimmer to knock down the rest of the hair to more managable levels. I waited a while for the hot water heater, a large one to be sure, so that I wouldn't be dealing with shaving and goose bumps. As my crack team of make-up experts (Tessa and Gina) pointed out, they are NOT a good combo. The rest of the shaving went fairly well. I was very impressed with my legs...minus the slight speed bump cuts I got on my knees...which are tough to deal with! Two showers, several hours, and 5 razors later, it was done.

So the process of shaving was interesting enough. But the sensations and introspections are even more so. First of all, it just feels ODD to not have hair someplace you normally do. Drying off with a towel, putting on clothing, or just the breeze moving past your body feels completely foreign. In some respects, it feels like a heightened awareness...you simply notice things more consistently because it feels different. In other respects, you lose sensation. Hair is connected to nerves and skin, and is part of a complicated system of our body. We become accustomed to feeling the air movements on our hair.

And so I started to think...it took me hours to get ready. Now granted, most women aren't starting from the level of hair I possess, but it's no wonder it takes so long for them to get ready! This is so much fricking work! Shave, moisturize (VERY important), dress. Then it's time for make-up! That took quite a while, though to be fair I was learning and could go much faster now that I know vaguely what I'm doing. And I kept thinking what if I get pulled over wearing this make-up? What if I get a flat and have to change a tire? What will the guys at work think next week if they notice I'm now hairless on my arms and legs?

The sheer volume of expectations, insecurities, and taboos about femininity and masculinity is overwhelming. Girls must shave themselves all over, men must not. Make-up on a means X, but Y on a female. So take a moment today and think about how we put so much emphasis and meaning on something as mundane as hair. I think you'll be surprised, and knowing most of my friends...a little outraged at the gender rules bullshit.

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