The fresh, young millennial in last week’s yoga class had beautiful legs – with a light brown downy pelt of hair; soft and silky smooth. It was dazzling, amazing – lovely. She probably never put a razor to her legs once. Trying to remember why I spend any time at all on that activity. As a kid, I WANTED to shave my legs; made me feel all grown up – glamorous. Decades later that upkeep is frankly a pain in the ass.
The reasons behind shaving, plucking and adorning women’s bodies has changed and morphed throughout history. Why do women keep on shaving today? Why do I? It can’t simply be aesthetics when natural can be so pretty. Is it because I was brought up to think I must? To believe in this activity as a condition for beauty?
Going natural – in bits and pieces is my new experiment. Fingernails, toenails – makeup . . . the non-permanent stuff . . . whose scale of difficulty to go au naturale varies. That one really ugly toe (ugh) . . . slides the scale toward uncomfortable – but bearable.
Of course there’s THE BIG ONE . . . Hair! When I left the corporate world I gave myself permission to quit the tedious and expensive ritual of dying my hair. Chasing the auburn was wearing my ass out – and I suspected I’d be 100% white/gray. Boy-oh-boy was I scared! What would people think? Would I look old? – Ugly? What would they say at Hip-Hop class? I was extremely nervous, but determined. Luckily I found a private support group on Facebook that helped me re-frame the questions. Instead of wondering what other’s thought – I was encouraged to ask “What do I think?” Instead of worrying about looking old – they wanted to know “How did I like my new look?”
Of course when the movie ticket guy asked my husband “is that one adult and one senior?” – Me being “THE SENIOR” – I was just a tiny bit thrown. Then I laughed – have to wait a bit longer for that discount.
Society has very clear standards for female appearance – and behavior. We’re expected to look a certain way, with the right make-up, hair, nails – and yes silky naked legs. Too often we’re supposed to be quiet, calm and lady-like – all “sugar and spice and everything nice.”
Just not buying that right now. We – men and women – are messy, complicated and peculiar. When I’m authentic, I contribute something unique to the world. It’s easier for me to make physical changes than behavioral adjustments. This experiment is moving my comfort zone . . . providing the impetus to brave the source of my beliefs behind appearances.
Will there be a silky pelt on my lower appendages in the future? – Hmmm, jury still out on that one.
“You look marvelous!” – catchphrase of Fernando Lamas. That is who Billy Crystal modeled his character “Fernando” after.