hair issues

I have hair removal issues.  In fact, I’ve had hair removal issues since my teens.  Being the daughter of a swarthy, mostly Italian father and a fair skinned, blonde WASPy mother, it appears I inherited none of my mom’s physical traits, but made up for it by doubling up on my dad’s.  I have hair everywhere.  In fact, I used to be embarrassed by this fact so much, I never discussed it with anyone except my friend Tracy, who, upon helping me choose a wedding dress for my 3rd wedding commented “It’s a little low-cut.  You know you’re going to have to really work on that hair issue on your chest.”    Thanks, Tracy. 

When I was in my 20’s I realized that I was getting hairy in places that weren’t exactly appropriate for a female – my neck, my chest (not just the usual nipple location – I’m talking ON MY CHEST, people), my upper lip, my chin – and it was then I discovered the necessity of having a really good pair (or two, or three) of tweezers, a good light source and a ready supply of Nair. 

It’s probably the neck and chest hair that really piss me off, and embarrass me the most.  Women are supposed to have smooth, hairless chests, and not look like they’re closely related to a cave man species.  You can imagine the hours and hours of plucking that have gone into those areas over the years, especially during the summer months.  Nobody wants to see a chick in a tank top who looks like she’s about halfway through a sex reassignment. 

That’s so not cool. 

When I was in my thirties, I finally sucked it up and asked my (male) gynecologist about this freaky hair growth.  “Is this normal??” I wanted to know.  “Well,” he said, scrutinzing my chest and breasts, “it’s not unusual for women to have hair there, but boy, I see what you mean.”  That was not comforting.  We decided to have my testosterone levels checked, and the news was bad.  My testosterone levels were normal.   Absolutely normal.  “You’re just a hairy woman.” said the doctor when he called me with my results.  Fuck.

There’s a part in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the female relatives of the bride are attacking Toula’s unwanted facial hair just before the wedding.  “At last”, I thought “someone had the guts to actually show the world our dirty little secret.”   Although it was an hilariously funny scene,  it was so real.   Nothing says love like having your aunts and cousins minister to your unwanted facial hair, so you won’t be embarrassed on your wedding day.  Ditto for friends who offer to pluck your chest hair on your wedding day so you won’t look like a tranny playing bridal dress-up.  

Thanks, Tracy!


15 Responses to “hair issues”

  1. 1 Rhea June 24, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    When I was a teenager I was concerned about hair, used Nair, even used wax at one time. But you know what? The hair thing was somehow magnified in my mind. It’s not really that bad. I think the media got to me.

  2. 2 Simonne June 25, 2007 at 12:32 am

    Oh dear god, laughed raucously when I read this!! I too have a hairy Italian father and a blonde, hairless mother, and I too got dealt with the hairiness gene! Thankfully I did get the blondness, which helps matters somewhat! I’m more than a little obsessed with good light and my teezers. I’ve already instructed my bridesmaid (getting married in 4 months) to have the emergency teezers on hand ALL day!
    You’re a crack up, LOVE it!

  3. 3 V- June 25, 2007 at 5:54 am

    We are so much alike, and we’re not even blood cousins. I inherited Grandad Perne’s slavic genes and all the hair that goes with it. I’ve gone the razor/tweezer route. I even shave my arms. The only thing I got from my dad’s irish side was the pasty white skin…

  4. 4 observantbystander June 25, 2007 at 5:58 am

    Rhea: Yes, I think I’m slightly neurotic about it, but will only admit to slightly…Now that I’m 50, it’s not just a way of life, it’s my private obsession!

    Simonne: Don’t you love a good friend like that? One who will tweeze all your errant hairs for you? Sometimes I think, “What if I become paralyzed? Who will tweeze for me?” This is the kind of crap that keeps me up at night.

  5. 5 observantbystander June 25, 2007 at 6:23 am

    V-I got the pasty white skin on the lower half of the body and the olive complexion on the upper part. Thank you, Neutrogena self-tanner! You make my legs match my arms (which, thankfully, are the one part of my body I don’t have to shave)!

  6. 6 Simonne June 25, 2007 at 6:24 am

    HA HA!! I have been known to ask my significant other if he could please learn how to tweezer efficiently and insert a tampon just in case I ever became a vegetable. Yes, sad, I know. Sorry to be gross on your blog – it’s clearly my inherent nature…

  7. 7 observantbystander June 25, 2007 at 6:28 am

    Simonne: It’s so good to know there are other like-minded women out there in the world who have a great sense of humor!

  8. 8 poseidonsmuse June 25, 2007 at 10:19 am

    Wow! Stepped into this conversation a little late [damn]! Hilarious! I can’t say I have a problem with the hair thing – but the freckles, oh the freckles…please banish the freckles.

  9. 9 observantbystander June 25, 2007 at 10:56 am

    PM: Man, I always wanted to have freckles! (OB always wants what OB does not have).

  10. 10 ~m June 25, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    I have to commend you on your brutal honesty here.
    I’m sorry but I really had to laugh (I know it’s not funny but you make it so)
    A hairy woman is not so bad as long as she knows how to handle it.
    Sounds like you’re at least on that road.
    That’s all a guy can really ask. I think. Wonderful post.
    Almost makes me want to be a hairy woman.
    Almost. . .

  11. 11 observantbystander June 25, 2007 at 7:37 pm

    ~m: Well, I usually write in a pretty self deprecating way, with just a touch of exaggeration thrown in for good measure (makes things more interesting). I’m not hirsute by any means, but some days it feels like it. I think all women find their personal faults larger than life, whether or not they actually are. Oh to be a man! Some days it seems it would be so…liberating.

  12. 12 Grace June 27, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    I wish I could say I was feeling your pain, but as a woman whose ancestral DNA must have been crossed with the hairless mole rat at some point (ugh. god. what a visual! LOL), alas, I cannot. However, I affectionately named my baby daughter Monkeygirl for the one inch swatch of hair that ran down her neck to her tailbone.

    Uh, how about laser? waxing? TATOOS??? 🙂

  13. 13 observantbystander June 27, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    Grace: Yeah, I considered the more permanent options, but in addition to getting the hair gene, I also got the miser gene. Luckily for me, gray hair comes in handy in some places!

  14. 14 Goody October 8, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    I realize this post was made earlier this year, but I randomly stumbled upon it just now and WOW you sound exactly like me. I’m in my 20s and got the hairy gene. Got tested and, like you, was actually really upset that the hormone test said everything was normal. I get the “you’re just a hairy person, there’s nothing you can do!” lecture from my doctor all the time when I complain. Now I’m just using Nair so at least I have some control over it.

    Just wanted to say thank you for posting this – it made me realize I’m not alone 🙂

    Wow, thanks! It’s a really embarrassing problem and frankly, I’m glad I’M not alone too!

  15. 15 Sappyunhappy October 27, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Well, I was struck with the really hairy gene and I’m about to get my blood tested to see if it is PCOS. It is something that has gotten worse the last few years now that I’m in my thirties. I only had a little arm hair when I was young. Now, it is all over. I wish I had a sense of humor about it like you all do, but I really feel alone and unwanted. I guess I will just have electrolysis for the next 10 years and see if that will help.

    Monkeygirl 2

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