Yes, I shave, don't you?
I remember it well. I was in third grade and had come home from school, only to hear an electric shaver humming in the upstairs bathroom. I assumed my father was home early and skipped up the stairs only to stop in horror in front of the bathroom door! It was my mother, standing in front of the bathroom mirror, skimming the electric shaver over her chin. I didn't know what to think. Mom? Are you really dad? Are you really a woman? I asked her all sorts of questions, still in shock. She said one word that would change my life and expectations for the future: Menopause. There it was. The dreaded M word. I saw a shirt once that stated, "Why do all of women's problems begin with "MEN"...Menstruation, Mental illness, Menopause. I didn't know at that time, how my life would change with hormones and how, at a very young age, I would enter that dreaded M word in my mid-thirties and experience not only fatigue and extreme heat spells, but I would grow to my disdain a beard!
I have always seen women with facial hair. I assumed it was because they had dark hair and the darker the hair, the hairier the person. I had some girlfriends in high school, where after they started menstruating, their voices deepened and they sported razors in their pockets to touch up their faces during lunch break. I've met some women who could grow a beard faster than my father could and found it necessary to shave three times a day or they could poke someone's eye out. I have always felt their horror. As a pasty white, somewhat hairless person, I couldn't imagine how I'd feel sporting more hair on my face than on my legs.
Then, it happened. Shortly after I gave birth to my son at 33, I was looking in the mirror and saw what I can only describe as witch's hairs. You know, the spiky, long, white hairs that stick out and tickle parts of your body. You know something is there but you can't find out what is annoying you. I started finding them on my forehead, my neck, my chin and on the backs of my thighs. I felt like Sasquatch. I pulled them out to begin with since they were long enough to wrap around my finger. I didn't speak of them to anyone. I was too embarrassed.
Now, I frequently have to shave my face to avoid looking like my long haired cat. Once a month, I lather my face up and take razor in hand. I shave my cheeks (thank God only the cheeks on my face so far), chin, neck and upper lip. The hair is light and white in color and it isn't pokey or sharp; however, I don't like it when my boyfriend compares me to a fur coat when I nuzzle up to his neck, so I remove it.
There are many ways to remove hair nowadays. Laser surgery is one. I would imagine that the burning of hair follicles beneath your skin would hurt just a tad. If you look like an ape or can braid the hair on your back, it may be your only salvation, but thankfully not a route I have to ever consider. I've had laser surgery on other parts of my body and once even smelled burning! I'm not brave enough to consider this method right now.
If you like little needles poking in and out of your skin, then electrolysis is the method of hair removal for you. I have a friend that performs electrolysis on people; she is licensed and certified. Since she must have a license and certification, it tells me that it's not an easy procedure and training is required. Once again, not something I have the guts to consider for myself.
I've read about those coiled bands that can be used to remove mustache hair. I tried to use one on my cheek and I felt like someone had taken a pair of tweezers, grabbed a pinch of my skin and pulled it off of my face. It hurt! Then, I read the warning. Who would've thought that a little metal coil would have a warning. "Only to be used to remove hair above the lip". Hmmm... the red mark it left on my cheek stayed longer than this contraption did in my home.
Lastly, waxing is a popular method of removing hair. If you ever saw the movie The 40 Year Old Virgin, the waxing scene was almost too painful to watch. Hot wax is poured on the hair and a cloth is laid over the wax. When the wax dries, the cloth is ripped off with the unwanted hair attached to it. I had my face waxed once. It looked like someone had slapped me across the face a bunch of times and the redness took hours to disappear. My face did feel smooth for a month but the horrific experience and the pointing fingers were enough to take me back to my razor.
It's unfair that women have to have periods, deal with hormonal ups and downs, bear the pains of childbirth, experience uterus drops, yeast infections and more...now, we have to also worry about keeping our faces free of hair!
So men, be easy on us. Your five o'clock shadow may add to your sex appeal but it only makes us feel insecure about ours. The next time your lady looks like she needs a Schick shaver, tell her how beautiful she is as you pass her the Barbasol and really mean it.