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How often do you shave your legs? And how much do you hate it?

July 24, 2018

How often do you shave your legs? And how much do you hate it?

CLEVELAND, Ohio — I love summertime, but I hate shaving my legs.

I hate standing on one foot in the shower, bending my leg every which way, only to miss spots on my ankles. I hate when I forget to shave my armpits and I hate that I feel self-conscious about it. Why does society dictate that women look like hairless cats?

Why can men have hair everywhere, but women must adhere to same grooming standards as poodles: hair allowed, but only in the right places?

(OK, you might point out here that many men feel pressure to shave their faces. True. But beards are much more socially acceptable than women’s hairy legs or armpits.)

Blame the Egyptians, and the Romans. during both empires, wealthy women and men used flint, tweezers and more to remove hair all over their bodies, which is “why many famous statues and paintings of Grecian women are depicted hairless,” according to Elle. Queen Elizabeth I of England continued the trend during the Middle Ages. And Gillette marketed the first razor for women in 1915.

So the grooming practice has staying power. But I have yet to meet a woman who actually likes it, even though most of us do it.

How often? That depends -- on the season, our outfit, our hair type, our relationship status.

The first time I shaved my legs, I was 11, about to enter sixth grade. I stole my mother’s razor while on vacation at the beach, dragged the blade up my leg, and felt so grown up.

I cut myself a minute later — a five-inch gash just below my knee, which healed into a scar I still have. I spent the rest of the week wishing I could trade my bandaged hairy legs for my older cousins’ smooth ones. 

A couple weeks later, when I tried again, I loved how soft my just-shaven legs felt. 

I lived most of my life in the South, where shaving your legs is a year-round activity. Like the heat, you just lived with it.

But then I moved up north, and assessed my wardrobe of leggings, pants and marshmallow-y down coats. I realized that for half the year, shaving was optional. Laziness and procrastination led to months between shaving. I reveled in my hairiness.

Men, let me tell you a little secret, it’s not just me. I have many times compared hairy legs over wintertime cocktails with my girlfriends.

My shaving schedule now is still unpredictable. Some days I love having smooth legs. Other days I just don’t really care about the prickly feeling.

What about you? Do you rail against the razor in the shower?

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