An innocent enough word, but it immediately quickens my heartbeat.
The pulse increase is mainly due to traumas gathered in my teen and young adult years, in connection with my ‘hair suit’, as a dear friend once referred to her own hirsuteness. Inspired by Tabs’ wikipedia post, I looked hirsutism up on Wikipedia and found out about the Ferriman Gallwey score. I score 15 out of a possible 36 on that. So, we’re hardly talking a career in a circus sideshow, but a score of eight or more is considered hirsute.
Sites of hair-related trauma include beauty salons (I have cried about three times in these situations. Fuck, women can be bitches to other women), and school buses (nicknamed Magilla Gorilla by an older student). I remember eating lunch at Pizza Hut with my friend and her little brother (we must have been in year 10 and he was about 6 years old) and him asking innocently why I had a moustache. It was that same friend’s mother who did me the greatest service in the world, by waxing my mo for the first time when I was about 18 – just starting uni. She lovingly told me to meet her in the bathroom and she just went for it. A total act of love and womanly camaraderie – she told me it was nothing to be ashamed of.
Until the mo was gone momentarily I never realised how much it had affected my behaviour (I now held eye contact with people more, for example) and my self esteem. Where other girls were battling with their small boob or fat demons (I was also fat and small boobed), I found the facial hairiness the hardest. It marks you out as unfeminine, and that was not something I wanted to be. Yet another reason why growing up around the northern beaches ideal of womanliness: olive skinned (but caucasian!), blonde haired, blue eyed and skinny was not fun. I did have a lot of friends, and I was school captain for heaven’s sake, but I was always aware that I was a sitting duck for teasing.
For years I thought I may have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or have trouble conceiving, but I haven’t had either. I actually think that my ambivalence towards having kids was partly due to this issue – I thought I shouldn’t set myself up for a big disappointment. I also hated the idea of having a girl and her growing up with the same issue.
A kindly doctor once told me that I had more testosterone than average and that makes me really passionate. I have always kept those words in my heart. She was the same doctor who said a Buddhist prayer before killing a tic lodged in my shoulder. A totally lovely and compassionate woman.
Right now I am the most comfortable I’ve ever been in my own skin. Accepting of who and what I am (mostly!). I can look back on those teenaged years and go: “shit, that was hard”, but also be thankful for what it taught me about compassion, difference and survival.
There you go, my friends. My thoughts on hair.