Scary Thing June: Public Pubic Hair

Pubic hair. Amiright…? 
I don’t know what kind of relationship you have with yours, but mine has often been complicated.. 
How many times have you been asked “Does the carpet match the drapes?” If you answered never - I don’t believe you. I don't believe you because men (and boys) started to ask me about the colour of my pubic hair when I was just twelve years old. I’d like you to take a quick moment here to think about any twelve year old you know right now. Now think about them again, but in the presence of someone much older, who’s first thought is to make a comment about them being a natural redhead, and then, without explaining it, referring to their (12 yr old vulva) as a ‘Fire-Crotch’. 

How did that make you feel?
Kinda ragey? 

Now, imagine that it doesn’t stop. The question is asked as they age through their teens and into adulthood. Do you think that this twelve year old is going to have a healthy relationship with their pubic hair? I’ll just answer that for you. Nah - it’s not going to happen. 

I mean, even friends of family members would meet me, and get right to talking about all the sexy things they thought about redheads. It had a deep impact on my self worth as a human. As a woman. 

A quick note:
This is not a shaming of humans who choose to wax, or sugar, or shave their cat-grass or jingle-bush. You do what makes you happy. You deserve to be happy. 

I started to obsess over removing any and all evidence of my true hair colour by the time I was 14. As an adult, I refused to have sex or get naked if there was even a hint of my natural fur coat. By the time I was twenty, I had developed strategies for shutting down the pubic hair questions by answering that I had had hardwood flooring installed. Throwing men who are drinking off by being wittier than they, often saved me from more disturbing innuendo. 

Anyway, this isn’t about gross dudes - it’s about how my relationship to my pubic hair has changed. Because it has changed so much…. 

I love my pubic hair. I love how it shines in the sun, and I love the shape it grows into naturally. I love that it just stops growing at a certain length, and is happy with it’s stature.
I think I was 30 when I started to go longer and longer without trimming, cutting, or shaving. When I did shave or wax, I’d always regret it. But I felt that I had to get rid of it to be a welcome member of summer society. And, that’s not a wrong opinion. That’s real. Our culture often shames (mostly women) into removing all their pubic hair all the time. Snickering even if there’s just a hint of regrowth.

It’s been 4 years since my vulva has seen anything that resembles a popsicle stick covered in hot wax, or a razor blade and shaving cream. Which I thought meant that I wasn’t afraid anymore. 

That is until a good friend generously gifted me with a pass to the spa. That’s when I realized how often I avoid situations that involve bathing suits. Constantly. I have constantly, unconsciously avoided the sweet salvation of a pool in the oppressive heat of summer. I haven’t been to a beach in years. So, Twas the night before my solo spa adventure, and I found myself standing in front of the mirror in my old bathing suit, staring at the pubic hair that was spilling out the sides. 

I don’t think that the words we’ve created to describe our intangible feelings are often right, or enough. Sometimes feelings are like scribbles. They can fill up our insides with chaos & mess. That’s how I was feeling. I felt like I was filled with scribbles in the theme of anxiety/fear/shame/doubt. My partner convinced me that it was okay. That having pubic hair is okay. That having pubic hair in public is okay. I may not have gone to the spa that day without the pep talk. 

I struggled again when I got there. I saw cars in the parking lot & almost turned around, because ‘it’s too busy’. I was sure that my GC wouldn’t work - because of literally no reason. But eventually, I made it to the change room - which felt like a real feat. And then once you’re in the change room, what are you going to do - Leave?! 

But I didn’t just go home, and although I was totally convinced that someone would ask me to leave, I finally ventured out of the safety, and right into my fear - strawberry patch and all.
Do you want to know what happened!? Literally nothing. No one stared at my delightful tufts of ginger fur. No one asked me to leave. I don’t think anyone even noticed. I was able to relax and enjoy myself - pubic hair and all. So, I’m encouraged that maybe (hopefully) I’ll allow myself to unwind by the pool, or a lake, or a river. 

But, I don’t think it’s going to be that easy. I’m currently fearing summer. I don’t have a bathing suit that fits, I’ve made zero moves to find one, and the blazing heat is started. I want to wear a bathing suit in public, but I’m scared of stares. Not all humans keep malicious & tasteless statements about things that aren’t their business to themselves. And I’m afraid of what I’m inviting (I’m not inviting), by just living and making my own choices. 

If you're out in the wild this summer, and you see someone who has chosen to keep their secret garden in full bloom while enjoying swimsuit season, I hope you'll choose to not judge them. I hope you'll reflect on how it's normal, and okay to have pubic hair.

I don't know if I can truly overcome this fear without a rallying pep talk every time I leave the house.
But summer is here, so I guess we’ll find out. 

Don’t be afraid to be scared.

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