I started shaving when I was 12. The girls on my 6th grade basketball team, Desiree and Rosie, informed me that it was time for me to get rid of that leg and underarm hair.
I remember the night vividly. I called my mom into the bathroom AFTER I had done the deed and asked, “Did I do this right?” Better to ask forgiveness than permission, you know? Mom graciously explained that she wished I had waited and kindly laid out the scenario that I would henceforth be shaving for the rest of my life.
Although I have always been a little bit crunchy, the practice of pit-shaving has been part of my world for 3 decades.
In November, my daughter turned 11. Over Christmas, she revealed to me her underarm hair and inquired, “Mom, at what age do girls start shaving?”
“It varies for everyone.” I reply.
“When did you start shaving?” She pushes.
“I started when I was 12, but only because of peer pressure. In fact, I wish I had waited.”
She adds, “Aunt Tawnya doesn’t shave. And she is an adult. Do girls HAVE to shave?”
We discussed the topic at length – issues of gender, issues of culture and era. We discussed all the hair removal options available to women, as well as all the areas on the body where one might have the desire to remove the aforementioned, unwanted hair.
My girl is 12 now, and both of us are still sporting our pit-hair.
I share my story with you for this reason:
I had two choices in my response to my daughter. 1) I could tell her that yes, now is about the time that girls start shaving their armpits and their legs. I could have taken her into the bathroom and demonstrated how to use the razor. We could have shared a mom/daughter moment, not to mention that selfishly, I could redeem the experience I chose to cut my own mom out of.
2) OR, I could communicate the message that regardless of social pressures, her choice to shave or not shave is just that – – a choice; her choice. And I could seize a life-lesson moment, downloading her with the necessary education and tools to make an informed decision.
Will there come a day when she decides to go ahead and shave? Perhaps. But when that day comes, she will know that her choice arose from a place of understanding and full knowledge, as opposed to a fleeting wave of insecurity brought on by outside forces.
But as for me and my pits, we have decided to remain au natural. 😉