Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Learning to Shave and the Aqua Velva Woman

I should probably tan, but I never go outside.  I'm not allergic to the sun or anything.  ...Well, I'm super allergic to grass... but not the sun.  In fact, while my sister and father burn very quickly, my mother and I tan exquisitely.  ...I'm just a creepy goth kid who would rather sit by the warm glow of the computer screen.
This actually has caused an interesting idea of race, now that I've moved.  Where I used to live, I was just a standard Jew.  I wasn't white enough to be a white person, and I wasn't dark enough to be anything else.
Here, on the other side of the country, I am considered white.  (Where was all that privilege as a kid?  Now I can't even enjoy it without feeling bitter.)  The problem I have with that is a simple one.  Being Jewish means that I look very ethnic.  This means that my nose is rather large and my face is rather long and so on.  If I'm considered "ethnic", I'm not a bad looking woman.  If I'm "white", then I'm really just a white chick with a big nose.  That's... not okay. 
Either way, as a result, I'm pretty pale, but I still have the dark, coarse hair of someone who would be of a darker complexion. 

I wasn't always pale, but the hair?  This has always been a problem, and so my battle with body and facial hair has been an interesting one.
As a kid, I hit puberty pretty early on.  I was the kid wearing tens of thousands of sports bras in an attempt to hide everything I was becoming.  It was like a little kid version of desperately trying to hold on to one's youth.
I could no longer rough house, because if someone accidentally touched me, even with my ridiculous, wall-like bras, I'd get "EW!!!  TAPE THOSE DOWN!!"  Kids around me acted like I should just take them off and put them in a box.  How DARE I become a nicely shaped woman!

I still have back problems to this day because of how my self esteem was affected.
In any case, what got me on another level was the fur.
Due to my own shaky mental health (panic of all kinds), and my sister being... my sister...  The idea of holding an actual straight razor to any part of my body did not seem like a great idea.  My parents were on my side with this one. 
So, instead, my mother bought me this little pink girly electric razor. 
It did nothing.
I did everything right, and still, it did nothing.
I wound up with some interesting patterns of razor burn all over my body from desperately trying to remove the hair...
and yet, the hair remained.
Finally, my dad bought me the electric razor he had.  A giant man-razor for my ridiculous man-hair.
It worked and I was very pleased.  Of course, this ended with my father very awkwardly trying to teach me to shave. 
The idea was that I was also using it on my face, rather than just my legs or armpits, and I was using a man-razor...
So my father was elected to teach me.

This was great!  The proper way to learn to use a man-razor was learned!  There was just one issue.
My father only knew to teach what he did.  He knew that razor burn and general upkeep was helped with a splash of after shave. 
Can you guess where this is going?

So, I was a hunched over, giant boobs having, significantly less hairy little girl... who smelled of Aqua Velva. 
I... can not explain how odd that must have been for everyone around me.
These days, I mostly just pay someone to rip all the hair from my body with wax.  My skin doesn't react much to it (probably from all the awful hair-removal things I've done to myself over the years) and so it's rather nice.  I then don't have to deal with any of it for a few weeks. 
However, I still occasionally shave things and/or use Veet and/or pluck everything off of myself. 
That leads me to another story:
Back in the day, I had ridiculous eyebrows.  If anything, they were nice for distracting from any other facial hair I may have had.  Looking at old pictures now, I realize that a lot of it was only noticed by me.  I didn't have a boyfriend til I was fifteen or so, so it's not like anyone else was getting that close to my face as a little kid. 
Still, the eyebrows were noticeable.
I did not have a unibrow or anything.  They were just really thick and wide. 

Over the years, thankfully, they have thinned out.  I only pluck a few hairs every so often these days... But at the time...
Monkey eyebrows.
So, now having an electric razor that had a little clippy part, I decided to try to fix that too.
I never said I was a smart little kid. 
I wound up shaving off a small, but still very viewable slice of my right eyebrow, right in the middle of it.  ...I don't know how. 
Naturally, I did the mature thing,
and I cried hysterically to my mother of how I had just mutilated myself. 
She then, as calmly as a saint, showed me how to pluck my eyebrows.  We did so a little bit. 
Then, she took an eye liner and simply filled in the spot where I had shaved it off.  I did this every day until it grew back.
No one noticed anything!  It was like magic! 
It's funny, my mother doesn't really use much make up.  She typically uses a little lipstick and maybe some mascara sometimes.  She rarely uses much else, because she's pretty and probably confident enough that she doesn't need to.
I, however, grew up with horrendously bad self esteem. 
This was mostly for no reason.  My deformities and such were not really things people could see.  It was all bone stuff. 
Still, between odd teeth, body hair, my body changing before everyone else's, and knowing that I had things wrong with me (even if I had no idea what that meant), I had really shitty self esteem.
As an adult, I still have days of feeling very ugly.  I'll admit that.  I think most women have those from time to time.
They happen less now though, since all the surgery to my general face region is done.  It's not stuff anyone else really notices, but I know.  That's what makes the difference.  I know that I can breathe now, and that my nose is straighter.  I know that I can bite into things because my teeth are fixed, and so on.
Since rapid hormone changes happened recently due to a change in birth control, the body hair thing is back...  Like I said, I wax it off for the most part.  I have zits for the first time ever in my life, but I take care of those too.  Hell, the moment I had a big zit, my parents zoomed me right off to a friend of the family dermatologist as Ass O'Clock in the morning. 

And if I'm feeling ugly, I remember the eyebrow penciling.  I just put on some eye liner and call it a day.

...There was also the chemical hair removal incident a while back...  

We don't talk about that one much.

EDIT: My mother tried to comment on this post, but couldn't figure out how...  Here's what she said, "I love reading your wonderful stuff! And I especially love the illustrations!  I think you are GREAT!!  And it's not just because I'm your mother."  <3 you, Mom.

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