As a woman, no actually, as a person, there are many things I should be spending my time thinking about, yet I must admit that what engaged my mind the most recently was something that, while trivial in the great scheme of things, really really really bothered me.
*takes a deep breath*
I found three grey hairs.
And I don’t mean on my head.
Yeah I see you laughing! But trust me it wasn’t funny! Those curly grey hairs really threw me for a loop. Panic stricken I did what I usually do and called my older sister Coq Au Vin.
Me: Have you started going grey?
Coq Au: You know I have
Me: No! Not on your head!
Coq Au: (puzzled and annoyingly slow on the uptake) Not on my head?
Me: For goodness sake! I mean….down there?
Coq au: Oooooohh…I don’t think so, can’t say I’ve looked
Me: Go look. I will stay on the line
(three minutes later)
Coq au: Nope
Me: What do you mean nope?
Coq au: Nope is nope. I am not going grey. Everything is just as it was.
Talk about a distinct lack of sisterly empathy. Humph.
I quickly came to the grim realization that there was only one person to blame – my ex husband Foie Gras.
Now before you go accusing me of blaming him for everything (duh) you need to hear me out. You see it was Foie Gras who convinced me that when it came to my nether regions a hairless look was sexier, more hygienic, modern and generally desirable. When we met I was a (relatively) inexperienced young woman who shaved only those bits that met the public eye ie legs and armpits; Foie Gras (Mr Man of the World and master of multiple casual affairs that he was) helpfully pointed out that ‘most’ women shaved because it was a) aesthetically pleasing and b) cleaner. He also looked deep into my eyes and promised me he would make it worth my while. He used exactly that phrase.
My initial reaction was visceral, I felt very hurt and offended. However, I was also filled with doubt, was he right? Did ‘most’ women do it? Was I some cavewoman for opting for bush over bare? Worried that I was about to lose a great guy (hey, I was young and foolish) by making a mountain over a mound (see what I did there?) I went about removing everything my body had so painstakingly cultivated for a good decade or so. It was a long drawn out process, first trimming with scissors then shaving (very very carefully). The first time I looked at myself in the mirror, I blushed. It looked so wrong! All vulnerable and over exposed.
But, Foie Gras was delighted and made good on his promise and since I later agreed to marry him, it’s safe to assume that the whole thing grew on me (though not literally of course).
Shaving the area became a weekly ritual, one I maintained even through pregnancy (by then I was confident enough to wield a razor in an area I could no longer actually see). Being hairless had become a habit. Gradually I moved to waxing, an experience that was embarrassing and painful at first, and then just painful. However, I opted for it to save me from my then husbands’ thoughtful little jokes, for example, “Oh look! It’s a hedgehog!” was one of his favourites.
Once Foie Gras and I separated, waxing continued to be a part of my life. I think initially this was because I was trying to keep as many things as possible from my ‘normal’ life, clinging to my routines with both hands. In addition, my fortnightly ritual had begun to represent a sort of port in a storm – trust me, it’s tough to think about how badly your heart is broken when you feel like your private areas are being systematically set on fire.
After a while though, I began to shed bits and pieces of ‘life with my ex’. This involved a fair amount of tearing and burning, as well as a couple of not at all lucrative but very efficient garage sales. Then one day, I was at my regular waxing joint with one leg in the air, when I thought - why am I doing this? This all started with him. And he is, as far as possible – gone.
From that point on, I began to bring back the bush.
I have to say it took some encouraging, years of being ripped out at the roots had frightened it into submission, the first hairs peeped out doubtfully but finding they met with no resistance gained confidence, and gradually things began to look well, more like me. The old me? The new me? A combination perhaps of the me that had existed before Foie Gras came along and the one that was asserting herself now that he wasn’t around.
Once growth was established I didn’t pay it much attention. I still went off to have my bikini line waxed every now and again but basically, I let what will be, be.
Then I met The Man. Did I wonder what his thoughts might be on the subject? Of course, I did. Did I worry that a speech about how gentleman prefer balds was forthcoming? Absolutely. However, I decided that this time I would simply refuse, I would tell him that he could take me hirsute or not at all.
The fact is though that the subject simply never arose. He didn’t say anything and he certainly displayed zero reluctance in any department. So, of course, I gratefully left well enough alone.
And if you bought that, you don’t know me at all.
Me: So, you don’t mind that I am, you know, unshaved?
The Man: You aren’t unshaved
Me: Not my legs silly. I mean (I waved my hand in the relevant direction)
The Man: Goodness no! I don’t mind at all. Prefer it that way.
Me: (combative to the last) Oh really?! And if I wanted to shave?!?!
The Man: Then I suppose I will prefer that. It’s you. Whatever you are automatically becomes my preference.
Tough to argue with that logic.
And then recently, I made the discovery that began this entire tale. I didn’t have time for a bikini wax and was, therefore, shaving when something caught my eye. Thinking it was a cruel trick of the light I checked again and discovered, not one, not two, but three grey hairs.
I was shocked. I was horrified. I was mortified. Here I was letting it all hang out, blissfully ignorant of the fact that while I carefully coloured the greys on my head, down below, old man time was getting ready to cut a swathe through my middle aged bush!
I mean is there anything that says geezer more than grey pubes?!
With absolute horror, I realized that there was no way The Man had not noticed these hairs. It was painful enough that I was several years his senior, now it would seem that I had been cavorting around with a salt and pepper pubic region for the better part of our relationship! I couldn’t contain myself so I called him. He was at work.
The Man: Babe? Can I call you back I am just in the middle of something?
Me: This won’t take long
The Man: Ok…..
Me: Have you or have you not noticed that I have three grey hairs?
The Man: Um….
Me: NOT on my head.
*Sounds of shuffling and whispering*
The Man: Just took you off speaker there babe
Me: Were you alone?
The Man: I am now
The Man: You were saying?
Me: (trying not to die of embarrassment) You know what I was saying
The Man: Have I noticed grey hairs in your….? Yes, I think I have. Can’t say I counted though. Is this a test?
Me: No! It’s a sign that I am hideously old and unattractive! Fine! Go back to work!
I put the phone down and did what befits a woman in her 40s who has discovered that she has three grey pubes – I sulked. Then I pouted. I called Coq Au and scolded her for not having any. Then I called Macaron (my younger sister) and demanded that she go check if she did. They both told me off. I sulked even more.
Later that day my door bell rang. The Man was standing outside. His hair was completely white. He looked like Gandalf post his battle with Saruman.
Me: (gasping) What have you done?
The Man : It’s not permanent. Do you love me less or find me less desirable?
Me: No. And no.
The Man: Then can I please consider my point made? I mean, I would have coloured my pubes grey but I couldn’t figure out how to show them to you on your doorstep without getting arrested
I rewarded this example of love and patience the only way I knew how I made him coffee and gently washed all the spray on white out of his pretty much still completely black hair.
Later on that day I decided to hell with it and took a tweezer to my three trouble-making greys. If more decide to show up, as a result, I will tweeze them too. So there!
And for the record? There is no scientific proof that removing your public hair guarantees better health and hygiene. So don’t be convinced to remove anything on those grounds.
For me, the moral of this fascinating pubic tale is this, like any other change in our outward appearance, change if you want to, or don’t, ultimately a change will only become a true lifestyle choice if YOU want it too. Changing for other people alone rarely works. Also, try and be with someone who loves how you look even (and especially) if your appearance is as ever-changing as a kaleidoscope.
So when it comes to your pubes - grow them, wax them, trim them, oil them, colour them blue and christen them cookie; the choice should be yours.