Todor stared at me in that way that you’d stare at someone if they started growing extra ears mid sentence.
“Kirra, they’re your pubes. Do what you want with them!”
“No! I mean, I want you to…”
I wanted him to what? Tell me what to do? Promise that he’d still find me attractive if I grew a bush? Change the subject and buy me a gift card for Brazillian Butterfly in Carlton?
The answer was D, all of the above.
Holy shit, O’Malley. What the fuck are you doing?
I’ve never had pubic hair. I mean, it grows. It exists on a follicular level. But since I was eleven, I have systematically removed any and all traces of pubic hair from my body, ashamed and already slightly worried that there was too much down there! I have spent my whole life afraid of being seen as toomuch - too much height, too much weight, too much pain, too much work, too much pubic hair.My best friend was tiny and blonde and had just a light dusting of almost invisible hair, while I sat awkwardly in chairs because I was taller than everyone else, my regular hair was bushy and mousey-brown (the first Harry Potter film wouldn’t even be released for another six months. There was no hair role model for girls like me before Hermione Granger) and this new, unwelcome hair was even coarser, almost black. It had to go. Ten years later, my boyfriend will try to touch me and I will pull away saying “don’t! I’m all hairy!” and we’ll both realise that this is an Actual Problem for me.
Pubic hair. Pubes. Bush. I only have three names for the stuff, which is at least seven names less than I have for my cat. Puuuuuuuubes. I want to whisper it. Behind my hand. While hiding under a rock. I pride myself on my complete lack of shame and I’m genuinely afraid of saying pubic hair out loud. I’m getting out of bed half an hour early just to shave my bits incase my boyfriend wants to get up on this. I’m refusing to let him look at me, let alone touch me, if I’m a bit spiky. Well, I say I am, but I really mean “used to”, because I stopped shaving, plucking and waxing about three weeks ago. And I am freaking the fuck out.
So how the fuck did I get from “don’t touch me, I’m all hairy!” to “Touch it, Todor! It’s soft!”? I realised that I wasn’t letting my boyfriend touch me because of it. I would turn down sex over it. The shame I felt was genuinely becoming a barrier between us and was inhibiting our sex life and it sounds so dumb when I write it down, goddamn it. But he is the dude who held my hair back while I threw up all over Fitzroy on a Saturday afternoon. He’s the one who decided to like Vegemite and peanut butter sandwiches for me. We’d been officially together for six weeks before he was pushing me through A&E in a wheelchair while my mother followed behind with my IV and then visiting me in the Maternity ward every day because there were no beds anywhere else. He knows that sometimes, I’m really gross. He’s really gross too (and really hairy!). Our entire relationship is based on openness and trust and communication and I’m not letting him near me because my vagina doesn’t look prepubescent?!
The issue isn’t the hair. It might have been once upon a time in 2002, but now it’s a whole other beast, all entangled with my feelings about myself and my inability to trust someone to love me and the deep insecurities of the little girl who doesn’t want to be too much effort. It’s about the fact that porn started streaming for free just as we discovered sex, so instead of trying to find a leftover Playboy we were able to google things like “fuck” and “tits” and all of a sudden there were videos of people fucking massive pairs of tits. We didn’t even know that was a thing people did a minute ago and now we were watching it happen. Sex became immediately attainable, if not on a physical level then at least a visual one and of course no one in any of the sex I was seeing had any hair on their genitals. Pubic hair became weird around about the time that I was discovering what it felt like to be considered weird. Poor pubic hair, that feeling sucks when you’re eleven. It’s about Cosmopolitan telling me about Brazillian waxes when I was twelve and Grazia assuming that I had one at seventeen. It’s about growing up watching women in music videos dance in belt-like skirts and realising that they’re the proud owners of baby-smooth vulvas.
It’s also about getting really fucking angry that you could feel this way about your own body, it’s about being ashamed of something that every damn person grows at some point. It’s about people like Amanda Fucking Palmer retweeting every photo someone sends her of their pit hair. It’s about realising that I can actively reject the bullshit and re-learn things I thought I knew about my body and my sexuality. It’s also about realising that you are crying hysterically and asking your boyfriend’spermission to grow it out (and your boyfriend being lovely enough to refuse to answer you because its “a ridiculous fucking thing to ask someone”). That’s fucked. Like, that is genuinely fucked up. So here I am, with three weeks of solid growth behind (in front of?) me. I like it. Like I said, it’s soft. It’s not as dark as I remembered it to be, which was a relief. Nothing going on down their could be described as “bushy” yet though, so it’ll be interesting to see how I deal with it on a substantial scale.
But here’s a short list of Things I Have Learnt Since I Started Growing Out My Pubes.
- That mesh-type underwear? Ridiculously uncomfortable. Buy cotton, stop acting like an idiot. Your hairs and your internal flora will thank you.
- Sex is so much better without the risk of stubble-rash, which is essentially vaginal pash-rash.
- Shower time is at least three times more fun when you can pretend that your vulva is Sid Vicious and give it a tiny mohawk.
- Pubes are sexy.
This post is dedicated to Madison, Holly, Katie and Laura, for being the sort of friends who say “go blog about your pubes” at ten on a Saturday morning.
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- linguistic-dexterity said: Kirra, you are fantastic!