This ever so lovely Sunday, I was working outside in the greenhouse and came inside to get some AC. I was leaning on a shelf and my friend coworker Adrienne commented, “Damn Saba, your armpit hair is long enough to braid.”
I wasn’t even mad. This has been the best comment I’ve gotten in a long time. It was this year that I said fuck it and started letting my armpit hair grow out. It has been a strange journey to say the least because I was raised believing that I could only be beautiful if I was hairless. Smooth armpits are literally so important that in post-apocalyptic zombie torn nations the women still take time to shave their underarms! *coughs* The Walking Dead *coughs*
I vividly remember the moment I shaved my armpits for the first time. The tentative feeling of not knowing quite what you’re doing. You want to go with the grain, but maybe you should go against it? If I go the wrong way will I slice open my whole armpit and I’ll bleed out and they’ll find my body with one hairy armpit while the other is smooth AF.
It was funny because honestly I never even questioned whether or not I had to shave my armpits, it was always something that I assumed I had to do, just like my legs. I can say that of all of my girl friends, there are sparsely a handful who don’t shave their legs, and that’s mostly in the winter because as soon as summer rolls around you gotta get those legs looking smooth because people can see them. Heaven forbid you go swimming in public as a female with hairy legs.
In high school there was ONE goddamn girl I knew who didn’t shave her armpits and didn’t give any fucks about it, and that’s my beautiful, majestic friend Claire, pictured below. There was always an envy towards her, I mean I could have easily stopped shaving my pits, but being in high school and accentuating my already abundant body hair didn’t seem like the best plan. High schoolers are much more vicious than university students in regards to everything related to developing bodies. I wanted to stand out by my own means, not because people felt the urge to talk shit about me for choosing to not abide by societies views on body hair.
I’m not going to say that after growing out my armpit hair that I just sort of magically become mega-confident and lifted up my damn arms in the air like a boss ass bitch. The first day I wore a sleeveless shirt to work there was a moment of dread walking in. What if someone commented on it? What if I smell bad and someone points it out? I was convinced that people would come out with pitchforks and torches to banish me back to the cave I crawled out of, but I was very wrong.
The thing about armpit hair on women, is that it is closely related to body odor. It’s something that you just don’t talk about to someones face. In the United States you avoid talking about other people’s hygiene because it’s a bit of a social faux pas. If you’re alone with close friends, yes, you can totally call a friend out on not showering or shaving, but you won’t say a goddamn word to a stranger because it’s not polite. Maybe I’ve been in the Midwest too long, but safe topics for conversation does not include politics or hygiene. Even in the more . . . intimate moments in my life, not one word has been said in regards to my armpit hair.
My first day debuting my armpit hair was thus uneventful. I do get some wide-eyed stares now and again, because it is glorious as fuck, but not one single person has said anything to me about it. I have learned to love my armpit hair and I hope all of you do too! Well maybe not mine, but yours, but fuck it you can love mine too. There’s a ridiculous double standard of hair removal between males and females and embracing your armpit hair is a step in the right direction. Now I’m not saying that you should all throw out your razors and go au natural because fuck yeah, feminism! No, I’m saying that you shouldn’t let the opinions of others dictate your body hair.
I have struggled my entire life with severe self-consciousness due to the sheer amount of body hair I have from being half-Pakistani (Thanks dad). It took me until this year to fully be confident with it. TWENTY TWO FUCKING YEARS. Society fucked me up for over two decades, but you don’t have to have the same problem! You want to have smooth legs? Shave them! Want pubic hair? Bring back the bush! Want to let your happy trail grow? Do it! There is only one thing I want you all to take away from this. Humans are hairy, deal with it.