February 12, 2009

Hairless Holidays and Hotel Bathrooms

Hello all, I'm back from the States and the Bahamas, where the water was so chilly that worrying about being bikini worthy was a moot point. High winds rendered all our planned water sports too dangerous. The only time I entered the water was when I had to get into a dolphin tank, and I kept as many clothes on as I could.

The thing is, when you're a hirsute gal, you have more to worry about than the rash-inducing force it takes to deforest the bikini line. Even if the swimsuit is not part of your planned wardrobe, there are other kinds of clothing that create an extra challenge. What if, in your excitement, you threw your hands up in the air, pulling up your shirt and exposing a treasure trail the envy of many an adolescent boy? Or what if it's a dress up night and your fantastic little black dress has a plunging neckline, but your cleavage has seen so much of the razor that most of the hair hasn't yet broken the skin?

And then there's the facial hair, my most constant worry. Our first hotel room was set up in my least favorite way: with the sink and mirror outside the bathroom door. My roommate was an early riser, and it was important to her to get up before I did because she knows how long I take in the bathroom at home. That first morning I woke up wondering how I would be able to swing this one. Maybe she would get in the shower and I would have time to quickly shave before she came back out. But with the humidity, she didn't want to get her hair wet in the morning. I slowly got ready for a shower myself, continuing to puzzle it over in my mind. What if I just started shaving, out in the open, with her right there? She probably wouldn't say or do anything. The puzzle might fall into place in her head, but sensing the sensitivity of the situation, she might never bring it up in conversation. But what if she brought it up in conversation with others? That's the sad thing about getting step-siblings after high school. You'll never know them well enough to trust them with some things. Or maybe that's just me.

When I had gone camping one year with a big group of family and friends--the year after I used to sit in the jeep and tweeze in the mirror--I had actually taken the mirror into the campground shower with me and shaved in the giant, spider infested stall. That memory always brings to mind some woman's tart voice as she lined up outside the stall yelling, "Are you going to be much longer?" That voice still haunts me. But regardless, I contemplated the act of shaving in the shower, this time sans reflective object. I've been shaving for years, I know how my face is shaped, the distribution of stubble and how each stroke feels. Did I really need the mirror? It is always such a pain to have to hunch over a sink and mirror only to get into the shower again to quickly do everything else, or vice versa.

I kept doing it because it was the easiest solution, but man, what a miserable time for my face. My judgment for how much pressure to use was all off. It took me nearly twice as long shaving by feel, and I was always nicking my chin. And of course, the more battered and uneven the skin, the more difficult it is to cover it up with make up. Dabbing on some concealer, wiping it off, making it bleed again, waiting for it to stop, patting some powder on first, wiping it off... I hated the mornings. I hated the feeling that everyone was always waiting for me. That's one of the worst things about vacations. But it wears off--eventually you leave your morning rituals behind you and become simply... you. And I had a marvellous time every day, even after I caught a cold and mother nature brought her monthly gift. Always on vacation. It never fails.

I've already settled back into work and am slowly picking up all the pieces I couldn't madly get done at the last minute. But the infinitely good thing about returning home from holidays, for a befurred lady like myself, is being able to get back to her own sink and mirror, with lighting and climate and timing she's learned to work with.

Also, I have some hopeful news. I'm meeting with a new GP today; a woman for a change. This is just an initial interview so they don't usually investigate your body at this point, but if we like her, she'll be our new family doctor. And then I'm going to try to put into motion some tests to find out why I have all the hair I do, and from there, what can be done about it.

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