Tuesday, 12 April 2016


In her post last Friday, ‘The right to bare arms’ (a nice title, reminiscent of Sex and the City's ‘A Woman's Right to Shoes’), Lynn Jones writes about her decision to stop shaving her arms, in case her son, “Wee Man”, should perhaps notice and ask why. On such small concessions and compromises are our lives built. Fortunately, this is not one I have to make myself. My arms are generally hair-free, along with (most of) the rest of me.

I've mentioned before that “my body issues are relatively minor” – and so they are; but body hair accounts for most of them. Body hair depresses me, yet removing it is tedious and time-consuming (on average 20 minutes a day) and requires at least a modicum of energy. Inevitably, when I'm in the dumps, I don't much feel like bothering, but then the unrestrained growth adds to my malaise and perpetuates it. If you see me with obvious body hair, chances are I'm in a slump.

Shaving with an electric razor with maximum ease, I've found, requires it to be done every two days. After three or four days the foil struggles to pick up the ends, making the whole thing more of an ordeal. And if it's got that far, my supply of spoons will probably be at a low ebb too. It's always better if I can keep on top of it.

At the moment I'm clean shaven (apart from my back, which I can't reach – but I can't see it either, so it doesn't matter so much). Being clean shaven both looks better (in my opinion) and feels better. Legs feel nicer. Torso too, especially under silk. Arms can sometimes itch with the wrong clothes, but I prefer how they look hairless – and my hands. (I like my hands anyway.) As for pit hair... in the words of MSgt. Ernest G. Bilko: “Ugh! Yechh! Ugh! Did you ever see anything so unsanitary?”

I hesitate to call this distaste for hair “gender dysphoria”, since it's hardly anything when compared with other trans people's dysphoria. All the same, when I see my body with hair, it just seems wrong. That hair shouldn't be there. It needs to be gone.

Going back to Lynn's post again... No, no one has ever said anything about my shaven arms, either. Do they not notice? Are people too polite to comment on personal grooming? I guess the only way I'd discover the answer to those questions is by asking them, but I probably won't do that. Instead, I'll continue to fight the (futile) fight against body hair by stealth, quietly keeping my own kind of dysphoria – dysphairia – at bay.