Friday, 25 January 2013
Ugly truths #1: When you can't mow the lawn
In my never-ending quest to make everyone on the internet even more drastically uncomfortable, think I'd like to make a series of blogs involving the more unspeakable parts of being a girl, hah. I just might. I also would like to apologize to those who know me relatively well, as this might be too much sharing. But if you know me well, I also must say:
Anyway, in light of certain blogs I've read lately, not to mention the just STAGGERING amount of ignorance I've seen surrounding the topic of ladyparts (and manparts too) and the aesthetic standards unfairly placed upon them, I'd like to make a statement. Keep in mind that this is an incredibly sensitive topic for me, and though I am comfortable sharing with anyone who is open enough to discuss this even offline, it's still somewhat difficult. That being said, if I might be able to help dispel some of the well, completely douchey reactions I face when these topics arise from men and women alike, it'll be something good.
(Or maybe this will result in TOTAL sharing regret and the publishing of this entry will forever haunt me but) I'm just honestly sick and tired beyond all reason, of the kneejerk reactions out there facing anyone dealing with intimacy: Pubes.
I have struggled my ENTIRE adult life with the issue of pubic hair. Yeah, I know. Ugly sentence right? Doesn't it just give you the heebie jeebies? That's because you're socially conditionned, just like the rest of us (myself included) to perhaps be more drawn to the unrealistic, prepubescent look. And hey, I get it. I've seen those artsy films (*cough*porn*cough*). I understand the allure of total or partial hairlessness. Nothing looks better than a good wax job down there, and some custom trims. I get it, but that's a whole other debate I'm not going to get into, because it's a matter of taste. Suffice it to say though, in general, the trends and expectations have definitely shifted towards an imposition of hairlessness. I mean, remember this classic Scary Movie scene?
Ok I couldn't find the actual scene... but Bobby the boyfriend, who's been trying to get into Cindy's pants forever, basically ends up taking a hedge trimmer to her vag after he pulls down her panties and a literal bush explodes out of there. (HAR HAR, VERY SLAPSTICK. WE GET IT.)
Point being: the argument has been made time and again, in various ways, that less hair = more desirable. And though the feminist in me cringes at this, I agree to a certain extent. I shave my pits and my legs... and no matter how ingrained in art school I get, I personally just don't like the feeling of hair in most places other than my head. (Plus, freshly shaved legs on bedsheets? BEST.FEELING.EVER.) But that's not the issue, to each their own. WE WERE TALKIN' PUBES, WEREN'T WE???
So, here's MY own personal context regarding this particular standard of aesthetics, and why I have not been able to subscribe to it. Brace yourselves, it's gonna get specific. I suffer from a chronic skin condition known as folliculitis. It's basically a combination of factors, such as weak hairs and/or tougher skin, which essentially makes for a veritable minefield of ingrown hairs, should the sufferer not be careful. And this goes way beyond razor bumps, people. You can Google image search it if you haven't eaten, but I'm warning you, it ain't pretty. Sufferers are prone to their hair follicles (the little hobbit holes in which hairs live in the skin) getting infected because they clog more easily than other people's (clogs = ingrown hairs) and can get all kinds of nasties popping up in the form of abcesses, boils and skin peeling which all result in, unsurprisingly: INCREDIBLE PAIN. Anyone who has suffered from a skin abcess anywhere knows how ridiculously painful they are, right? Now imagine that, RIGHT IN THE VAG. I can't even tell you. Like a Ginsu to the snatch. I've literally been hospitalized a few times because of this seemingly innocuous problem believe it or not, because I could not walk without screaming. (And even suffered a few high fevers, as a result.) You try explaining THAT to your nosy, macho boss. "Uhm... sorry I was absent yesterday.... I had to go to the hospital because my punani exploded." Suffice it to say, the expression "lady problems" was used quite liberally by all involved.
I've known some fellow sufferers who've experienced it on their faces and backs, but in my case, and as is the case for many women I've learned (from my doctor), it affects me mostly in my upper nether region. (YEAH GENETIC LOTTO, I'VE WON AGAIN!!!) All things considered though, it's a minimal issue compared to say, someone who suffers from chronic acne or anything like that, so I've made my peace with it. There's far worse in this life in general, and it's not like I have a serious disease so I'm grateful, all things considered. That being said, the impacts of this, in a cultural context of hairlessness, have been enormous on my personal life. While I have been able to learnhow to manage it, folliculitis has nevertheless caused me a great deal of anguish over the years, especially when it comes to the bedroom.
You know why? Because there is NO cure. Some people are just prone to it, and others are not... and the only PREVENTATIVE method to avoid incidents, aside from keeping clean and exfoliating (which I do, religiously) is *wait for it*: NOT TO SHAVE OR REMOVE THE HAIR. It makes sense, because if you deliberately cut the hair so short that it remains under the skin, it will be more prone to being trapped there and getting infected, and 2 days later, Liz is doing the howling spastic crab walk.
< tangent>I remember, as a rebellious young person hell-bent on a shiny hoohah like all the other pretty girls *sniff*, going to a spa to get ye olde tortoise shell waxed, consequences be damned. I did, however, mention this teensy problem to the nice lady before she began, in hopes she might somehow... go easy on me. Oh how precious I was. She took one look at me, raised her perfectly sculpted brow and told me to get out. I swear, she didn't say "you giant idiot" out loud, but her eyes did. But I digress. < /tangent>
The point is, while I am able to keep it trimmed and generally neat down there, it's never perfect. I can only use scissors and shave with the grain (not against) to ensure that my ladyparts don't turn into that familiar old "I swear, it isn't herpes, I have a medical certificate!" conversation. Generally, it looks normal actually, and I haven't had an incident in over a year *knock on wood* but see, unless I want to suffer enormously (and I'm not a masochist, last time I checked),"normal" to me has to include hair.
And I keep wondering why that can't be part of normal. I understand that people have preferences. I understand that if it looked like the Amazon (and smelled like it) it would be less than appealing. But it isn't like that. It's clean, it's short, but there's hair. And somehow, though I'm extremely hygienic, mindful and nearly religious about that region, I often find myself longing for the 80's where it was more socially acceptable (but then again, so were shoulder pads and sweatbands). Because hell, I've been dumped before because of this, point blank. You can understand why it's a contentious issue for me... and why I literally sweat bullets when the idea of sex rolls around (once a few centuries) because I'm expecting my partner's face to melt off in sheer horror, apparently.
....Maybe I should move to Japan.
Er, anyway. If I'm sharing this with the entire world it's because I'm
crazytrying to get people to keep it real, and to be more sensitive. I could make the same point over having realistic expectations of boobs, of body fat, of everything else. And I could even go so far as to say that the standards imposed on women in particular, are just absolutely ridiculous and rage-inducing...because shit, if you had ANY idea how much maintenance is required to be an "average" woman, you'd just hand every CHICK IN TOWN A GODDAMNED MEDAL FOR BEING SO PATIENT AND----!!! In reality, that whole idea that the "average" woman hairless, preened, made up... all that, is an obvious myth. Our bodies are constantly submitted to so-called norms that require very invasive modification, if you ask me...... but I'm trying to be as objective as possible here, and keep it brief because that's a WHOLE other blog. I'm sure men have their own issues, and I'd be glad to hear them.
Point being, my particular situation is extreme, but even in normal circumstances, hair removal is obviously no picnic at all and everyone knows it. Despite this, I've seen posts around lately where people just basically go "EWWWWW" about such things as hair, labias and every other goddamn thing some women just can't control and are nevertheless ostracized for, as though there were fresh roadkill in their panties, and I'm sick of it. I've heard numerous jokes be made around me about this sort of thing too and the discomfort for me was just overwhelming, to the point where I felt like a failed woman... just because nature has imposed these conditions on me, which really... aren't unnatural at all. My body just reacts more... bitchily than most when I try to change it. I myself, have never been as judgmental with my partners' states of hirsuteness (or not) and hair, I can deal with (unless you've gotten to the point of braiding it). What disgusts me is that people can be so harsh over things others have little control over. But that's life. I console myself with the fact that hair and all, I consider myself a pretty damned good, open-minded lover, and an awesome girlfriend. I do my best with everything, and that includes the lawn.
Anyway, I don't really have more of a point to make, but I wanted to share this. I've never been brave enough to blog about this before, even though a few years ago, a few women had contacted me in light of a pulse I had vaguely emitted about such problems and requested I blog about it. And really, blogging about this will probably just cause more boner-killing than any real thought-provoking on the topic, and that's fine. That's the nature of... nature.
But still I'm curious. Give me your thoughts on this, and do share if you've experienced anything similar. I think more dialogue on this is more than necessary.