When God was distributing hair back then, I must have shouted “Here!” Rather loudly. Unfortunately, I don't mean full, luscious, shiny hair on my head by that. It would be nice, but unfortunately not given to me. But I have hair everywhere else: on the sideburns, under the navel, above the upper lip, on the chin, all over my arms, my back and also on the neck. Thank you very much.
I grew up in a widely ramified Greek Cypriot family and have always blamed my hairiness on my roots. We all looked the same and I was a little proud of that. But as soon as I started elementary school, I realized that my body hair was apparently a problem.
“We don't want you in our group. You have a beard. Girls have no beards. ”When I told my mother about this experience with my classmates at the age of eight, she nodded understandingly and sent me into the bathroom with a tube of bleaching cream. Within five minutes, the black hair above my upper lip had been turned into a light, delicate fluff that every other eight-year-old girl in my small town had. I've been applying bleaching cream every two weeks since that day and that will likely stay with me until the end of my days.
I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) a week before I started college. This is a surprisingly widespread hormonal disorder that affects eight to 20 percent of women of childbearing age worldwide. Symptoms include weight gain, acne, irregular periods, and hirsutism, also known as excessive hair growth. My hair got thicker and darker and began to sprout in places I had never had hair before, such as my cheeks and forehead.
With the POS diagnosis, I began to understand my body a little better. But that didn't mean it got easier for me to handle my hair.
With that diagnosis in hand, I began to understand my body a little better. But that didn't mean it got easier for me to deal with the hair. I imagined how soon I would be expected to show up at parties with a breath of nothing, or how I would have to share a tiny bathroom with seven other people so that I wouldn't have time to spend hours removing my body hair. But what scared me by far the most was dating men.
When I lived with my parents at home, I was always worried about what dating would entail, aside from my parents' endless cross-examination. I should never have brought a friend home with me, so this new phase of life at university also meant a new freedom for me. Unfortunately, I lacked self-confidence. Why would any man want to date a woman who had more hair than himself?
Instead of buying shots at the bar, most of my student loan went to hair removal cream, razors and waxing studios. When I finally met someone at the end of my fourth semester, I realized that hiding my excess body hair from them would not be an easy endeavor. Whenever we met spontaneously, I would shave quickly, resulting in sore rashes, ingrown hairs, and boils. I mixed my body lotion with high coverage concealer and foundation to cover up the redness and only dared sleep with it when the lights were off.
Sometimes he would show up at my place unannounced, with flowers, a DVD and pizza. What would have been a dream for others left me partially in a state of shock. If I had been waxing before and my skin was still red and sore, I would leave it standing in front of the door and pretend I wasn't home. Today I am sure that my absolute hatred of showing my naked body ultimately contributed a large part to the breakdown of our relationship. He didn't understand, but I was constantly ashamed. Then when it was over, I did what every other young woman who wants to distract herself from a failed relationship does: go to every party I was invited to and download every dating app there was. This time I really wanted everything to be different. But my hair, especially the one on my face, was all I could think of, and so I couldn't just let myself go like my other single friends.
And again I sabotaged myself by refusing dates and even sex when I actually wanted to. I was so ashamed of having to show men my body hair. Once, before I wanted to sleep with a new man for the first time, I would sneak into his bathroom one evening to shave my face so I wouldn't look suspiciously hairy the next morning. That's how fast my hair grows thanks to PCOS. Unfortunately, I cut myself in the process, so I covered the small wound as best I could and then ran out of the apartment before he could see what was going on. I never heard from him again.
To cover the slight shadow of my beard on my upper lip and chin, I applied four layers of foundation, only to smear it all over my date's crisp white shirt a few hours later. Additionally, after another date, I threw away every ripped jeans I owned at the time because the guy had made a comment about my stubbly knees. I couldn't believe I'd forgotten about my knees.
What if I forgot a hair that pokes him when we kiss? Did i shave my fingers? He could take my hand ...
When I think about it, I can't remember ever going on a daytime date. My worst nightmare is catching a guy analyzing my face in the cold, relentless daylight. The ups and downs of this nightmare is that after he finishes his analysis, he makes a comment about the three hairs on my chin that I accidentally didn't shave. That's why I feel most comfortable on dates in dim basement bars. But even here I wear my long hair down to feel a little protected.
Although I've learned to manage my facial and body hair a little better over time, spontaneous dates are still unthinkable for me. It takes me at least 24 hours to properly remove every single hair. Incidentally, some of them grow back within 24 hours. When I go to waxing, it takes at least two days for the redness to go away. I don't even want to talk about the painful stubble and ingrown hairs that appear some time later.
When I'm on the date, I can't think of anything other than my hair, and the third glass of rosé won't help either. What if I forgot a hair that pokes him when we kiss? Did i shave my fingers? He could take my hand ... I know this all sounds absurd. But the idea of getting intimate with someone is so frightened for me that I subconsciously withdraw and now I'm pretty sure that many men must have thought in advance that I was not interested in them. Instead of going back to the classic "It's not up to you, it's up to me", it's a lot easier to just disappear from the radar without explanation. When I think my hair is turning off, I don't even want to imagine how men might find it.
On my sixth date with a policeman I found out that honesty doesn't always last the longest. When he asked me why my arms were so red and blotchy, I explained that I had epilated them that morning. He shrank back and replied, “You have so much hair on your arms? That's pretty disgusting. "
I know I am completely obsessed with my hair, but in my hatred and desire to remove every single hair on my body, I am not alone. No matter how often we talk about the fact that body hair is absolutely natural in women, for many it is still something undesirable and even a taboo. By now we all know the stars and models who appear in campaigns with fluff under their armpits or leg hair and want to make a statement. But a normal woman who proudly shows off her belly hair or ingrown stubble in the bikini line is still next to nonexistent.
No matter how often we talk about the fact that body hair is absolutely natural in women, for many it is still something undesirable.
When my grandmother was over 80, she still had magnifying mirrors everywhere to remove facial hair as soon as it appeared anywhere. A friend recently told me that before important meetings with male bosses, she went to the office toilet to pluck the hair on her chin with tweezers. Another friend of mine is a beautician and has recently reported customers who apologize for their hair before waxing. If you apologize to a stranger whose job it is to see all kinds of hair every day, how do you have to feel in front of your partner?
There is a huge surge in demand for permanent laser or IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) hair removal. It seems like more and more people want to be hairless from head to toe. And I am one of them. Instead of spending my money on vacation, clothes or great nights with friends, I have been saving for years in order to permanently rid body region of body region of hair.
After a number of laser treatments didn't go well, I booked an IPL. The difference is that laser uses a very targeted wavelength, while IPL covers a wider spectrum and uses a very bright light that reacts with the melanin in the hair root and is intended to destroy it.
After twelve sessions, I still have to grapple with a fuzz over my upper lip, chin and cheeks. The hair is much finer and lighter than before, but it's still there and I'm still aware of it. Especially when I'm not wearing makeup. But by shaving them dry, I can now go on a date without having to cancel out of panic or sneaking to the toilet in between to touch up my foundation. It is a fairy tale, by the way, that hair grows back stronger after a dry shave.
I have no problem with having a beautician do the IPL treatment on my face, but letting someone go on my private parts is something different. That's why I got an IPL hair removal device to use at home. It was quite an expensive purchase, but after a month I noticed how the thick, dark hair on my stomach and in the bikini line was getting less. I still have to shave, but not every day. The investment has paid off for that alone.
It should be kept in mind that most people perceive our appearance very differently than we do ourselves.
With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, it can feel like you're in an eternal battle with incessantly growing hair. So that you don't have to do it alone, it is worth making an appointment with your family doctor. He or she may prescribe pills that block the male hormones responsible for excessive hair growth. But I would also advise you to see a dermatologist.
I've really tried not to put as much emphasis on my body hair, but like so much, that's easier said than done. But over time I realized that I am more than just my hair. It would be nonsense to let them keep me from doing anything. Not just about dates, but also about jobs, vacations, parties and life itself.
Most of the time, nobody is close enough to see my stubble anyway. Apart from that, you should keep reminding yourself that most people perceive our appearance very differently than we do. And what if a stupid comment is made? Even if it still hurts for a moment, I now know that people who think they have to say things like that are just not worth it.