February 21, 2012

Extra Thoughts on Romance

I’m finding this post doesn’t really have a strong point, but when I was editing the post from a couple of weeks ago, there were some comments and mental meanderings that didn’t fit.  So here goes.

I think that nurturing contentment with myself as a whole helps me when faced with a man I’ve found initially attractive.  You know, you meet someone and something about him piques your interest.  Maybe it’s the way he looks (come on, it happens), or his confident attitude.  Maybe he’s making the people around him crack up with laughter, or after talking briefly you find he’s well-traveled or as fascinating hobbies.  It could be something completely indefinable that draws you to him.  I don’t know about you girls but I have always found it hard to stand in front of somebody who stirs my biology when in the back of my mind, I’m conscious that I’m hirsute. 

Maybe I’m having a bad shave week and I’ve got lots of blemishes from ingrown hairs.  Perhaps I just couldn’t get my make-up to lay flat or something.  Maybe it’s none of those things, but you still imagine that it is.  And it could be that simply, deep down, there is still a lot of shame living there, and you think, What am I doing?  I have no right to lead this person on when I’m hiding something that will probably make him run away eventually.

Listen to that, though.  What do you mean you don’t have a right to something?  (I’m addressing myself, too, here.)  So we have a little physical quirk, so what?  We are beautiful, loving, caring, intelligent, interesting women.  Heck, aren’t we all the more interesting for being able to grow beards?  

My inner dialogue when trying to converse with someone I’m drawn to has gotten better with time.  And that’s thanks to what I was talking about in the post from the week before last. 

Is he staring at my chin?  Yeah, that’s right, buddy, have a good long look. And you never know, it can be good for a guy to know you’re not perfect.  Takes some of the pressure off him to be anything other than himself. 

Did he just make a catty comment about another woman’s appearance?  Is he really arguing that face shaving can be tiring, but women should never not shave their legs?  Ugh, why does he have a collection of pictures of swimsuit models on his Facebook?  Maybe he’s exhibiting a deal-breaker really early on, and that’s okay.  That’s for the best.  I’m saving him a potential brain hemorrhage when he finds out that women with beards are more than just some scary bedtime story.  Come to think, these kinds of things could be red flags for any woman.  (And if those things are just part of a front that doesn't really reflect the person inside, he may be an ideal man, but only after he grows up a bit.)

We are not worth any less for being women with beards.  We don’t have to settle for someone who won’t treat us the way we deserve.  We don't have to feel ashamed to stand in front of someone we're attracted to and flirt a little.  We don’t even have to be seeking, waiting for that prince to come.  The more we cultivate our own good qualities and talents, the happier we will be in ourselves, and the better we will be able to stand up to the intimidation of a potential romance in the future.

February 15, 2012

A Girl's Gotta Have Priorities

This past weekend I was enjoying a day off from shaving and was lounging around in my pajamas as I worked on one of my many projects.  I did have some things to get done and this day felt like the day to do them.  I had nowhere to be, no one to see.  However, in the afternoon I got a text from my cousin asking if I wanted to meet up in a couple of hours with a bunch of people and see Star Wars Episode I in 3-D.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I have a cut-off time fixed in my mind, and if I haven’t shaved by that time, I won’t shave at all.  This is because it messes with the success and comfort of the next morning’s shave.  The hair is too short, especially since the medication has slowed down the growth a bit, so I have to really stretch my skin out and press hard with the razor to get a close shave, which means more irritation and sometimes ingrown hairs.  Usually that time is 12:00--even 11:00 is pushing it.

Once, on a similar shaving-free-day, I got a call to go to the beach with a bunch of acquaintances (one of whom was a guy on whom I had a little-girl-type crush) at around the same time of day.  And I declined without hesitation.  That turned out to be a regrettable choice in my opinion, because it was an eventful day, and it led to other invitations for the people who were there... and also gave them the opportunity to talk about me as I found out later.  (Not about my hair, I feel I should add, but about other things.)  I’d been having a low self-esteem day that day, though, and could not have forced myself into a swimsuit to save my life, never mind wear it in front of a guy I liked.  And though I’m very much an original-series Star Wars girl (Han Shot First, and all that), I wanted to experience the whole thing in 3-D in theaters, just to say I did, and with people who felt the same way.  A couple hours is hardly enough time for me to shave, shower, pack on the make-up and get halfway across town in time for the show, but I agreed.  And so, despite having places to be the next day, I took the risk and shaved after 12:00.  For Star Wars.

I’m telling you this to give you a better idea of who I am, because talking all the time about hirsutism doesn’t really give you a good idea of me as a person, I think.  And  I also want to once again say that hirsutism should not hold us back from doing what we want to do.  I had a great time, met some new people, and reaffirmed nerdy bonds with some of my family.  And you know what?  Shaving the next day went fine.  Absolutely no regrets.  Just a good time had by all.

You know, with all those alien races, a lady with a beard could fit in quite comfortably, I bet.  Ooh, bearded lady jedi!  I should draw that, that'd be bitchin'...

February 10, 2012

Talk About Love

After the preliminary interview with Carly from the Pink Razor Project, my mind was abuzz with all sorts of fuzzy things.  She asked me some things I really had to think about--things which I am still thinking about.

I ended up not updating the blog last week because of a combination of stress and writer’s block.  Among the things I had to take care of was a last-minute appointment for an ultrasound in order to get some new snapshots of the cyst on my ovary for the OBGYN, which is coming up at the beginning of next month.  They asked me again if they could do the trans-vaginal ultrasound, and I again said I would be fine with it, but that I am under the impression they can’t perform one if I’ve never been sexually active.  I got a really nice, chatty technician this time (who let me empty my bladder a bit before the scan), so I finally managed to ask why that is, and she said that I wouldn’t be used to it so they don’t want to hurt me, and that in some cases women will refuse the procedure anyway.  Me, I’d actually like to see the back of my backyard.  But I guess it’s not to be.

Anyway, the point is, I’ve been thinking about relationships.  Talking to the ultrasound technician  about being a virgin, telling the endo that family planning is not even on the horizon, and then Carly’s questions about how being hirsute affects my dating life, it’s all reminding me that I’m 26 and haven’t been on an “official” out-to-dinner date for nine years.

I think a part of my own shock at that timeline is thanks to societal pressures to be married and start a family, same as they are to be a flawless hairless female.  But a part of it is also... I really thought I’d be married by now.  As a little girl I was always so in love with love.  Disney princess love.  Gone with the Wind love.  Sleepless in Seattle love.  I always imagine how, in just a little while longer, I’d be “old enough” to be swept off my feet.  But I got to high school, then college, then out into the working world, and very few people who I wanted to be in love with wanted to be in love with me.  And those that did, I was not interested in.  As time went by, I got more and more involved in my studies and my hobbies and I realized that it was not a matter of being “old enough.”  I had to be ready, in so many ways.  The things that I wanted in Prince Charming completely transformed between seventeen and twenty-one.  Life began to teach me what I valued in others (and not just as far as being able to see past visible flaws was concerned).  I had to have accomplished the things I wanted to accomplish on my own, like traveling and taking occupational risks and being creative.   I had to learn to love myself.

I think of the practicalities of a relationship, too, particularly an intimate one.  Prince Charming’d have to be okay with some chin stubble from time to time.  But more importantly, I’d have to be okay with it, too.  In order to be strong enough to let him see me, day after day, sudsing up my face and applying the razor, I’d have to become so used to it that it would be like brushing my teeth.

Taking that time has been very valuable to me.  I tried to get rid of the hair with laser hair removal partially out of a mistaken need to “prepare” myself for the grande passione that was surely on the horizon.  All I really needed to do was find out why the hair was there and how very small a part of my identity it was.  There are so many other things about me someone could love.  I’d rather Mr. Knight in Shining Armor didn’t love me because of the hair, or in spite of it.  I want it not to even register as a factor.

Above and beyond any perspective significant other’s acceptance of this strange aspect of me has to be my acceptance.  It will never be enough if I just find a man who doesn’t care about the hair.  I still have to learn to be content with myself and that’s a big work in progress.  To be “enough” without the man and with the hair.  More and more often, I feel like I am.  And that takes some of the pressure off.