- I had a cute little bob in kindergarten. By second grade, the length of my hair determined my perception of my femininity. I refused to cut it short again until I was 22.
2. A nine-year-old giving herself bangs just a few days before Easter is never, ever a good idea. I chopped a huge, uneven hole in the middle of them, so messily that the hairdresser couldn’t quite even it out. My parents were furious.
3. In 6th grade gym class, I sat at the front of the line during attendance, observing the hair sprouting from my bare shins. Dark hair stands out against pale skin. The bullies noticed.
4. The first time I shaved my legs, I tried to use Nair first. It stank, it didn’t actually remove much hair, and my skin hated it. I switched to a Venus razor and never looked back.
5. My shirt rode up when I bent over to pick up my books. “Shave your back before you talk to me,” said my neighbor’s best friend. To this day, sometimes I do.
6. In 7th grade, all I wanted was long black hair like a goth idol. I got blonde highlights instead. Good thing, because without them, my friends thought I looked like Professor Snape.
7. In high school, I thought blood red streaks would give me the goth edge I craved. Against my dark brown hair, the red barely showed and faded too quickly. From then on out, it was cheap clip-ins from Hot Topic all the way.
8. My first sexual partner asked if I was ready to try receiving oral. Around the same time, I hit my tolerance limit for accidentally ripping out pubes when I changed a pad. Two plus two equals razor.
9. I got my eyebrows waxed right before senior prom. The salon offered me a cream to soothe the swelling, pain, and redness after. Instead, it lit my skin on fire with an allergic reaction that made me sob.
10. You’d think that ten years of shaving your legs would teach you how not to cut yourself. My manual dexterity has always been shit. I still can’t escape shaving without shedding a little bit of blood.
11. I’d spent a decade trying and failing to grow my hair down to my waist. Enough was enough. Before my bathroom mirror, I pulled my hair into a low ponytail, took a deep breath, and chopped.
12. I dyed my hair purple in a friend’s bathtub. It came out subtle enough that I decided to play the “how long will it take for my mom to notice” game. I lasted a day and a half before I cracked and told her.
13. “You can’t love vaginas if you don’t love hair.” Every time I’ve seen the Vagina Monologues, that line opened the show. I wonder why as I reach for my razor.