Back in the summertime I agreed to help out a budding photographer by sitting for a few portraits. She decided that she wanted it to be a bridal photo-shoot, and her friends who were hair stylists and make-up artists looking to build their own portfolios were going to come and doll me up. I’m sure most of you can imagine my trepidation about having people working so close to my skin. It’s the same reason I don’t do facials, make-overs, or even get advice from the young women who work at the beauty counters in drug stores. You get to close to my face, you see the effects of hirsutism.
I had already decided I would not shave for one or two days prior to the shoot to help my chin skin to be in fine form for the day. But even so, I know my skin, and I know what shaving will do to it. Aside from the accidental nicks if you’re not careful, you’ve got the tiny little bumps like chicken skin, the dry flakes, the ingrown hairs, and in my case also a couple of deep cystic acne nodules that decided to develop at the beginning of the week. I knew there would be a lot to battle, but I’m used to disguising them. Over the years I’ve developed a few tactics. A burgeoning make-up artist? I imagine it might be the first time they'd have come across something like that. I was not looking forward to her sponging foundation over my jaw and getting baffled and frustrated by its misbehavior.
Then, a surprising relief: the make-up artist cancelled. And then, another relief: the hair stylist cancelled. Although I had to go through the morning with only a bit of concealer on my chin and no other make-up, that afternoon I got to do my own make-up, the way I’m used to, and my skin stood up pretty well. It ended up being just me, the photographer, and a family member getting me ready for the shoot, so it was more comfortable than I could have imagined when I first agreed to do it.
I knew it would be fun no matter what, but without the stress of other people trying to work with my skin, it was even better. I always loved to play dress-up as a kid, but now I was finally old enough to actually fit a wedding dress and wear red lipstick without looking like I’d raided my mother’s stash. It was awkward in front of the camera at first, but I soon relaxed and the pretty little princess within came out. It was a great day.
Of course, not knowing what style the wedding dress was, I had shaved... everything. After I started following “****-shaving” on tumblr (NSFW), I challenged myself to growing out my armpit hair just to see how far I could go and how comfortable I could get with it. It turned out to be extremely comfortable, and I was awfully bummed to get rid of it, as well as other hairs elsewhere. Now I have to suffer through the uncomfortable regrowth, and the older I get, the more that outweighs the momentary pleasure of seeing myself hairless in a mirror. ;P