July 28, 2010

Hiding with Hair and the Sucky Social Subtext

Just for this last little while, I've had so many days of work in a row that my chin is crying out for a break. Today is my only chance. I was so looking forward to it, and I made sure no one had plans that would oblige me to leave the house, and warned my mother that I would not be shaving so she would dissuade any last minute plans to go out as a family coming from other members of the house. We're actually not really big on going out to do things as a family, but it always seems to be my luck that when the urge strikes, I'm trying to give my skin a holiday from the razor.

My mother can be a really great advocate sometimes. And other times... well, not so much.

I remember once, she went out to visit my aunt for the morning, and things snowballed into an invite to have everybody over for dinner that night. Well, I hadn't shaved that day, and if I shaved that evening I would not have a very successful shave in the morning for work when I really needed it. I told my mother to pass on my regrets, but anyone who knows my aunt would know this would not be the end of it. Apparently the excuse given was, "She needs some time to herself." My mother didn't bother to defend me while my aunt later accused me (in a joking way that meant she was offering serious criticism) of being antisocial. I was a shy child, and as an adult I've been trying to reverse this impression she seems to have that I didn't like her when I was young. That attempt took a backward step that day.

But back to yesterday morning, I declared my intent to stay home and be beardy. My mother had been considering taking the long drive out to visit her dad, and everybody always goes together as this is a rare treat--but she agreed this wasn't the best time to do it. However that evening, she said she had changed her mind and everybody was going to go down the next day. I urgently tried to remind her that I had not planned on going, and she replied with a mother's classic: "You don't have to come," which translates into plain English as: "If you don't come you will be exposed to ridicule." I pretended not to see the subtext and will take what comes.

I admit a lot of my frustration tends to come from knowing I'm letting my hirsutism cut me off from my family. But at the same time, we have so much opportunity to do things as a family; why does it have to be this particular day, when it's already established that I won't want to go? It makes me feel antisocial, like I'm a bad granddaughter for choosing to be hairy and cloister myself.

That's one thing I don't like about summer. I am getting better at handling the smaller clothes that come with the warm weather, but the family also gears up to spend more time together, and the merits of planning ahead seem to melt away with the snow. Not too long ago it was put before me to go camping in conjunction with our bigger vacation--but the question came from my mother. In front of everybody. There was the obvious impediment that I wouldn't be able to get the extra time off work, but my mind flew to what I felt should have been obvious to her: that camping is uncomfortable for me, as hair removal is a lot less convenient, and it saps the joy out of the experience. I think I cranked out a flabbergasted "No...?" after which she openly disparaged me while the rest of the family listened.

Yes... Yes I know it is my choice to let hirsutism rule certain parts of my life, even after a decade. I know that I put the way I look on a higher priority than it should be. But I also know I'm not alone in this. Even people without such obvious limitations won't go out without make-up or if they don't have clothes they feel they look good in. And I also know a family should be able to accept someone's limitations, even self-imposed ones. This is why it's so hard to trust them with the truth. My own mother can't seem to remember them.

I mean, if you're cooking a meal for your family, you remember the kinds of foods they don't like or are allergic to. Is the beard on my face more subterranean than that?

That should be a good thing, right?

Right, rant done, I feel better. Today is another beautiful day. Man is my chin itchy...

July 21, 2010

Product: KoS Woman Smooth and Sensitive Shave Gel

At the same time as I bought some of the King of Shave's oil, I also thought I would try their gel for women. I used to think a "gel" was the type of shaving medium you got in a can that came out like a gel but lathered into a foam. But after trying this non-foaming stuff, it's changed my perception of the average shaving mediums you find on the shelf for women.

King of Shaves Woman - Smooth and Sensitive Shave Gel - 175 mL

  • Rosa Damascena flower water, aqua, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, glycerin, cocamidopropyl betaine, coco-glucoside, glycereth-26, PTFE, anthemis nobilis (chamomile) flower oil, vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) extract, lilium candidum (white lily) flower extract, tocopheryl acetate, silk amino acids, castoryl maleate, ethylhexylglycerin, lecithin, polyacrylamide, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, styrene acrylates copolymer, linalool, sodium chloride, citric acid, triethanolamine, polyaminopropyl biguanide, phenoxyethanol, imidazolidinyl urea, dehydroacetic acid, benzoic acid, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate.

Things I liked:
  • Like the oil, I thought the price was great - and now it's on sale so that's even better
  • Also like the oil, it protects without drying and allows you to see where you're shaving
  • You don't need much for each shave - it lasts as long as the oil, and I even used it on other body parts too. ;)

Things I didn't like:
  • You know that sweet, enzymatic smell you get from using chemical depilatory creams? It smells just like that to me. But you do get used to it after a while.
  • I think they're phasing it out!

Did it do what it promised?

Leaves "delicate skin silky smooth and gently moisturized." It really does. I used this one on more places than my face and it works with minimal irritation everywhere (the irritation is likely my fault, I shave against the hair growth, not with). It doesn't have the drying properties of foams, and though I thought I would really miss the more obvious moisture in the oil, this really is a nice product if oil is not what you prefer. If you've ever tried shaving with some of your leftover conditioner, this feels similar, but less likelihood of breakouts. And it's not prone to clog a razor, either.

I think they may be discontinuing this one, too, to make way for their new line of women's products. But the good news is, you can buy the Smooth and Sensitive and the Pamper and Moisturize Shave Gel half price on their website now! I might get both this time; I'm really sad my bottle's empty now.

See what other people thought of the KoS shaving gels for women:
Reviews on Drugstore.com

July 13, 2010

The New Love of My Life

Once again I miss a week. This is becoming a very bad habit, I apologize.

But I hope this photo explains it!

I've wanted a dog for as long as I can remember, but have never lived in a place that allowed pets. Above and beyond the fact that a new puppy needs to be supervised all the time, I am so in love with this little guy that I can hardly bear to be away from him. I haven't read or written much at all since we got him.

What's interesting is that in the past week or so since he joined the family, there have been a few instances where I have allowed people from outside my trust zone to come near me while I haven't shaved.

As some of you may already know, in the interest of having a better shave when I must go out, I often skip a day and go stubbly if I have nowhere to be. When I do, I tend to stay away from certain members of the family, and absolutely never answer the door to visitors. I've had family visit on errands and have greeted them and introduced them to the puppy. I've even let them hug me. And when a neighbor wanted to bring her children over to see the puppy, I sat in the backyard with them in direct sunlight to supervise. These are all things I have never done before. With my mind on the puppy, it hasn't bothered me as much. I've still felt self conscious, but just... haven't cared. Because I have a tiny, dependent life to love.

I knew pets were good for your well being, but I didn't expect it to mellow me out quite like that.