How did Frida do it?

photo credit: skincamp

Zola is a 33-year-old woman, living in New York City. She, like me, has a love-hate relationship with her body hair. She is one of the women I interviewed for my latest Kindle Single, Bearded Lady.

What’s your general feeling toward your own body hair?

The times when I’ve grown it out, I’ve really appreciated it. I really like my armpit hair, it reminds me of a bird’s nest. A really wiry bird’s nest. Makes me feel wild. Feral.

Why do you shave it then?

I can’t let it grow because my job and stuff. I think what happens with me and with most women is that if I were to choose to let my body hair grow, I would be less marketable. For me it’s literal, for other women the marketability factor is less immediate but no less real. And that’s fucking depressing to think about…the fact that you’re a commodity. The choice to break out the razor is to admit your status as a commodity.

Have any weird random hairs you notice?

I have a nipple hair. It’s like a mushroom. It sprouts over night and it’s like a foot long. Whenever I see that, I wonder who I’ve seen since it has sprouted.

Any body hair PTSD from middle school?

I had a little bit of a moustache in sixth grade and this kid said, “You have a stache" and I was like, ‘shut up’ and then I turned red. He knew it was my Achilles heel. That little shit. It got so bad that one morning he put a pink Bic razor on my desk and started chanting, “Shave it! Shave it! Shave it!’ Then every kid in class started pounding on the desk, chanting ‘Shave it’ until the teacher walked in.

Now, whenever I see my upper lip hairs start to grow, I’m like ‘Oh fuck’ it’s time to go get waxed. When I notice that they are full grown and I can’t get to the waxing salon, it makes me feel a deep and abiding shame and I resent that. I’m very cool and at peace with body hair, but my moustache hairs kind of flip my shit a little.

What do you like about removing body hair?

I’m a sensualist and I enjoy the sensuality of being shaved and waxed. For example, having my butt waxed is pure heaven. For me, it doesn’t hurt that bad. Now having my labia or clit waxed, that is evil. Really truly evil. Waxing inside of the labia is harsh. But having the butt waxed, that’s really good. For like ten days after I get waxed, I’ll spend inordinate amount of time washing my butt in the shower.

What do you think when you see a woman who maintains her hairiness?

I see not shaving as a political act of radical self-acceptance and the shirking of patriarchy. If someone was to not shave and not for a political reason, I would think she was stupid. I’d be like, “Don’t you get it? Didn’t you know you’re supposed to shave?”