Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why I Stopped Shaving

Call me a hippie.  Call me gross.  I am a mammal.  And mammals are supposed to have hair.  So, I guess the question is: Why did I ever START shaving in the first place?

I stopped shaving more than a decade ago, and have saved thousands of dollars in the process.  When you consider the cost of water, shaving gels, razors, razor burn creams, and the like, hair removal is clearly an extremely costly practice with few benefits.

When I was a young teenager, I could hardly wait to start shaving my legs.  Not necessarily because I wanted smoother, prettier legs, but more because it was something that grown up ladies did.  At first, I did not mind shaving, and I certainly enjoyed the benefits.  One of my favorite things about shaving was the way it felt when I got into bed.  My legs felt so smooth and silky against the soft linens.

It wasn't long before I realized that these so-called benefits of shaving were extremely short lived.  As soon as I got cold and got goosebumps on my legs, there would be stubble.  All of the careful work of shaving my very long legs was made pointless in mere seconds if the bathroom was too chilly when I got out of the shower.  And even without any external environmental stimuli, my legs didn't stay smooth for very long before the hair grew out enough to make stubble.

And then there was the issue of ingrown hairs.  As a person with naturally curly hair, I am constantly dealing with ingrown hairs.  Shaving only makes it worse. 

It was sometime toward the end of high school when I cut my shaving down to once a week, usually a day when my legs would be seen by the general public.  I was a cheerleader and played varsity softball, so I had to wear a short skirt or short shorts at least once a week for most of the school year.  But when I went to college, shaving became an even rarer occurrence.  This can be directly attributed to two things.  First, I was suddenly financially responsible for myself and everything I needed, including razors.  Second, my wardrobe changed drastically when I went to college; I stopped wearing short skirts and shorts, except on rare occasions.

I suppose there was a certain amount of laziness involved when making the decision not to shave.  I am almost 5'11"  That's 71 inches.  My legs are 35 inches long.  They are like tree trunks and it takes at least 40 minutes to shave them completely (and carefully).  A simple cost/benefit analysis easily concluded that shaving was not a necessity in my life.

My husband has never had a problem with my hairiness.  And I trust him, because he is always very honest about things he doesn't like.  Unfortunately, he is a minority in this respect.  Most men would be shocked and disgusted if their partners did not engage in regular hair removal.  Though, if body hair on a woman had been a sexual deal-breaker for men throughout history, we wouldn't exist as a species.

I hate to say it, but men expecting women to shave is completely sexist!  UNLESS, the man is willing to shave the same things he expects a woman to shave.  I understand that a shaved leg or armpit looks better and feels better, but the same would be true of a smooth man, right?!? 

Regarding the removal of body hair around your pubic area, I refer you back to my opening statement.  We are mammals.  We are supposed to have hair.  The hair down there is part of a beautifully designed self-cleaning system.  Please read the monologue Hair from Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. 

I will admit that shaving one's pits does help control odor, but if that was reason enough to shave, why don't men do it?  I will tell you why!  I have often wondered when and why women began shaving their legs and pits.  Recently, I did some research and found a few answers.  The jazz age ushered in new fashions that included sleeveless dresses.  In 1915 an ad in Harper's Bazaar featured a woman with her arms over her head revealing shaved armpits.  The ad claimed that new fashions combined with modern dancing made it necessary to remove underarm hair.  Later, as skirts got shorter, women were told by fashion magazines that they now needed to remove their leg hair as well.

Don't get me wrong, I shave on occasion.  My legs get shaved 4-6 times a year and my pits get shaved 1-4 times a month depending on how hot it is.  Every time I shave my legs, I put my best sheet set on my bed and enjoy that fabulous feeling of freshly shaved legs against 800 count Egyptian Cotton.  I'm not advocating for everyone to stop all hair removal.  But for those of you ladies out their who think they HAVE to shave, maybe this will make you think again.

I want to hear from you!  Are there other non-shavers out there?  Are you completely disgusted at the idea of NOT shaving?  Feel free to comment anonymously!  I want to know what you think!


  1. I love the way you think! I don't shave so much in the winter but...I have man hair on my legs! I have thought about it many times though, I'm tall and I get that goose bump thing too. Drives me crazy!

  2. That read like my shaving bio, almost exactly only I have sensitive skin not curly hair. My hubby doesn't mind and neither do I. I'm very glad to not waste the time, money, effort.

  3. I cannot stand to have under arm hair or not be smooth in my pubic area. To me, I feel unclean. My legs, I couldn't care less and neither could my husband. I don't think I have shaved above the knee since my wedding day five years ago and rarely shave belie the knee.

  4. First of all, being a mere 60" tall I cannot imagine shaving your 35" worth of leg... that's A LOT of leg, woman!!

    As for me personally, I shave. I am naturally a very, very hairy kinda gal. My hair is black and very thick and I too deal with in-growns. I shave my legs (1-2/mo), my arms (3-4/mo), my pits (4-6/mo) and my {ahem} upper lip (4/mo). For me, the in grown ordeal is far less annoying when I keep up with my shaving routine. And the upper lip thing - I'm just one of those lucky ladies who has darker defined hairs there. I refuse to bleach so the razor it is. I am REALLY thankful that after having babies my hair hasn't grown back as dark or thick. 5 years ago I would NOT have been able to shave so infrequently.

  5. I haven't shaved my legs in almost a year. It started because I was pregnant and uncomfortable in any position required TO shave. So I quit. Now that I've had him, it first was about not having the TIME to shave my legs. Now, I just don't want to bother. I've shaved my pits once in that same amount of time, and that's just because it's Summer and I wear lots of sleeveless clothing during Summer and I'm just more comfortable with hairless underarms in sleeveless clothing. And it's not like I have light, soft hair. Oh no. I have dark, thick, coarse hair. It's noticeable. Very noticeable. But my legs? No one seems to notice anyway.

  6. I think I shave my legs about once a week, and only if I feel like it. Like you, I'm tall and while I love the same feeling against the sheets, I just hate wasting the time and money. My arm pits... they go every 2-5 days depending on the season, outfit and if I have time. I hate shaving my bikini line, but hubby likes it when I do and encourages it. Not bare though. I refuse. That hair is necessary to me. I'm proud of it, its a different color than most, and only my hubby gets to see it. :)