“You know, she doesn’t shave her legs…”
“What? I just wanted him to know what he’s getting into…”
This conversation happened just after my first official date with the man who became my husband roughly 6 months later. Needless to say, I was mortified.
In a way, I still am. Why is the state of my leg hair of such critical importance?
Because it is. In American culture, female hair is a really big deal. Just stop, for one moment, and think about just how much money and time goes into managing, or removing hair from various parts of the female anatomy. Mind-boggling, isn’t it?
Leg hair, as it turns out, is a big deal to me. A really big deal. God put it on me. Why should I be expected to remove it? But then, those Barbies I played with as a child had long, slender, monochromatic limbs, free from messy little growths. They shone. They were beautiful.
I have long, slender legs. With a good tan, they used to look quite a bit like Barbie legs. Now that I’m in my thirties, I am beginning to notice irritating imperfections, like stretch marks and little purple spider veins.
Wait a minute. Why am I even LOOKING at my legs? Ugh.
Because we all do. I watched a children’s movie tonight with my family, and I was stunned by the number of shots of women’s LEGS, smooth, hairless, slender, toned legs, that were displayed. Did I mention that this was a CHILDREN’s movie? Oh, how effectively my offspring are being indoctrinated.
It makes me angry.
Asa was right. When I met my husband, I didn’t shave my legs. My relationship with hair removal has been on-again, off-again. Literally.
At the ripe old age of 12, I started begging for the “right” to shave my legs. It was the way things were, according to the fashion magazines I read, the puckered and plucked women I saw on TV, and the pretty, popular girls in school.
But there were always the women who didn’t. And they fascinated me. How could a woman walk around, especially in a bathing suit, as I saw some do, with clearly visible leg and armpit hair? Where did they get such confidence? Where did they get such a counter-cultural self-image? Were they dirty? Didn’t they notice “everyone” staring?
When I left my hometown, I generally stopped seeing “hairy” women. And, over the years, I noticed that, when I was least confident, I was most groomed. During my most abusive dating relationship, I found myself obsessively concerned with always presenting a perfectly groomed, nearly hairless physique. It gave me pause. My feelings toward my leg and body hair reflected my feelings toward myself. By the time Aaron and I began dating, I had laid down my razor, and promised myself a level of self-acceptance that I was, frankly, incapable of maintaining.
You see, I was raised on Barbie, and 17 magazine. (I begged for them.) I grew up listening to completely sexualizing music. I wanted to see myself as something amazing, but deep down, a picture of myself as a mere sex object reigned.
So, when it was time to get married, I got out the wax. If I wax my legs, I’m not shaving, right? After wax, I tried an old-school, metal coil epilator, those little sandpaper pads that abrade hair off of your body, sugaring, harsh chemicals that burned the hair off, and more. I guess I was pretty worried about not being “enough.” You see, my husband was raised on those same images of femininity, the ones that demand a perfectly sculpted figure, smooth, flawless skin, and dear god, don’t grow hair anywhere but the top of your head, and your eyelashes. For those, absurdly long and thick would be best.
So, for the last 14 years or so, I’ve shaved, waxed, and plucked my way through life. My irritation with the entire concept of hair removal regularly rears its head, and my husband is stuck trying to snuggle up to a very prickly woman, as I let the shaving of my legs slip, again and again.
Recently, my family and I moved back to my hometown. And I am seeing hairy women, again. I see women with leg hair. I see women with armpit hair. I see women who are aging gracefully, with long, thick braids of hair, in their natural colors, shot through with white. I see fit, shapely, happy women, who are unashamed of the way their body was designed to behave.
I stare at them.
I stare at their legs, and try to decide if they’re beautiful, or horrifying. I stare at their armpits, and wonder, if I let mine go, how much would my own armpit hair show? And, would I get terrible body odor?
I stare at these women, and pray they don’t notice. I watch them with a fascination that might make some doubt my sexual orientation.
I don’t want to have sex with these women. I want to be one of them. But I’m afraid of the stares, probably of women like me. Women who are envious. Women whose addiction to a razor feels like a compromise of their true selves. Why should I have to spend hours a week removing the hair God put on my body?
And, what if I stop?
I want to create an army of sexually confident women.
I have already gotten started.
I cannot be stopped.
One woman at a time, I will encourage, entertain and educate. I will scream, if necessary, over the voices of a culture that tells her that she’s too round, to flat, too wrinkled, too droopy, too frigid, too thin, too hairy, too stiff, too clueless to be a sex goddess.
We are the daughters of Chavah. We are the vessels of LIFE.
It’s time we started seeing ourselves clearly.
I’ve been seeking an outlet for this need for years. I’ve told my husband, “When I grow up, I want to be a sex therapist.” I have listened, counseled and encouraged any woman bold enough to share with me her concerns and experiences. Yes, I have been the “pervy friend” that can be called when sex goes terribly, terribly wrong. Or, for that matter, when it goes deliciously right.
I want to be more than that. I want to know that I know that I KNOW that the advice I offer is good, and right.
And, for the good of myself, my marriage and my family, I recently found myself in need of a part-time, evening and weekend job. But said family comes first, and the idea of bowing to a restaurant or bar staff schedule seemed frustrating. I like control. So, my husband suggested a home-based business.
I had sworn off of those years ago. But the TYPE of business he suggested intrigued me, because I realized that it was a step toward living my dream. I COULD change womens’ lives. Lots of women. Starting now.
So, I jumped online and researched every romance product home party plan company in existence. There are a LOT. And most of them scarred me. I’ll never be the same, but that might be a good thing. I found just one company that spoke to me. Pure Romance focuses on womens’ health and sexual education, and my “ICKY” alarm remained silent in the face of their subdued, classy style. They partner with a graduate school to provide incredible training to their consultants. I would truly be able to help women.
I signed up, bought lots of lotions, lubricants and accessories, and got started. My business launch weekend is behind me, and the future is looking great.
My guests said, “You were born for this.” and “I know I feel better about myself in general after your party last night.” They told me that they had learned important things about their bodies, that they hadn’t understood, before. Without fail, they said that their husbands liked what they brought home. I cried. It was snotty, and somehow beautiful.
And what’s my husband’s take on it? He thinks that the men will be grateful, too. “Unless he’s the ultimate sexual explorer, he’s not going to know what she likes. Sexual self knowledge shouldn’t be treated like pirate’s treasure she’s hiding. For men, having a partner who understands her own body just might just give him permission to move beyond the, ‘uh, uh, uh, UH.’ It will challenge him to be more.”
When I mentioned the fear of offending their partners that some women display, he advised their men to buck up and deal, “If you’re afraid that a toy will be a better lover than you are, then maybe it’s time to become a better lover.”
So, I’m going to educate women about their bodies, help them to be safe, and to become the sex goddesses they were intended to be. They will go home and teach their men to become better lovers. I see no downside, here.
I do house calls. Parties, to be exact. Adult women only.
I am coming to a house near you, and my car will fly, if necessary. Because you see, like the Blues Brothers, I “AM ON A MISSION FROM GOD.”
PS—you can check out my new business website at: http://amberdawnmccall.pureromance.com
And G-d made sex, and it was good.
Really good. Excuse me.
Yup, still good. Better and better, in fact.
So, here’s the deal. I’ve been happily married for over 12 years. I have six, beautiful, incredible children. They arrived as a direct result of sex. Lots of it. And it was fun. And messy, and awkward, and mind-blowing, and funny, and heart-wrenching. Just like marriage. Because that’s what sex is. It’s a becoming. It’s a joining of two halves of one Being. And it is GOOD.
Forget what they told you in Church. Sex is not dirty. Sex is not shameful. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to rob you. Sex, however, IS DANGEROUS! (Does anyone else feel like that makes it more exciting?) Sex is not to be handed out like candy at a parade.* For better or for worse, sex changes us. It changes the dynamic between two people. It changes the people, themselves.
And I’m all about change, when it means growth. Sex, rightly done, with commitment, good humor, and a bit of adventure, can make you a happier, healthier person. And, as an added bonus, you could join me in the ranks of people who will, someday soon, have a house FULL of teenagers. Awesome.
“What about the rules?”
“Do good girls…?”
Last time I looked, there were no rules, save one: Do no harm. Beyond that, have fun, LOVE, learn, and grow, together. Leave your demure self outside the bedroom, and COMMUNICATE! Sex can’t be incredible if your partner is guessing what you like. He’ll never get it right if you fake pleasure. Send mixed signals, and you can’t grow.
Talk, laugh, learn, and PLAY! God made Sex. It is GOOD. Sex is a gift, and, at its apex, it is an act of worship, a celebration that we were made flesh. Have fun!
Remember, dear readers: Practice Makes Perfect!
*No one wants an STD/STI. Be SAFE. Try out abstinence, and monogamy. Abstinence is guaranteed, Monogamy is a close second. Condoms are a distant third: because they have been known to break, and they can’t protect you from everything.