This morning, the bathroom mirror informed me that I had a moustache.
‘Yeah, you’ve got a moustache, man. You’ve had it for ages,’ it said. Eeeew.
I haven’t noticed people sneaking glances at my upper lip mid-chat. But there it was. They must’ve been wrestling their instincts to the ground:
‘Look at her moustache!’
‘I’m not looking, you mean bastard.’
‘You’re gonna look. You’re definitely gonna look.’
‘Ggggggh. You can’t make me….Oh bollocks.’
I’ve never mastered the polished look. Clean, neatly trimmed nails? Maybe two or three fingers’ worth. Hair in an actual style? Hardly ever on purpose.
I try. Sort of. But on the average day, my nails are flaky, my shoes are scuffed and there are stains on at least one garment. Frequently a white one.
Body hair is likewise not immune to my neglect. But my sloppy attitude to its removal works with me more often than not.
I don’t blow a fifth of my salary on waxing and other forms of torture. I never get on all fours to have a stranger weed my private garden. Trips to the swimming pool always call for last-minute adjustments but it’s a small price to pay for the precious time spent not getting sugared and tweezed.
I think my battle with hair growth crushed me at an early age. I only have it in the regular places but it scoffs at my attempts to tame it. Waxing never shifts enough of it. Shaving gives me a grudging 24 hours of stubble-free respite before it grows back with twice the resolve. It’s the Japanese Knotweed of bodily aggravations. My cosmetic nemesis.
At some point fairly near Day 1, I laid down my weapons and walked away. I was never gonna win this one and acceptance beat relentless and costly campaigns. I’d pluck a bit and shave a bit. But controlling it completely? That would be a nine-to-five undertaking. It might be stealing my dignity, but my body hair wasn’t gonna have my soul.
It’s not that I don’t like smoothness. It’s lovely and silky and ladylike (although with regard to special hair, I reckon we have it for a reason and nuking the lot leaves women looking freakishly pre-pubescent). But I guess I just realised I’m not organised enough to eat well, sleep well and keep my hirsuteness in check.
One of my old students came from Iran, where facial hair is very closely monitored by the women who own it. She ran a threading chair in Superdrug and she was always trying to get at my eyebrows.
She got so tired of inviting me to her makeshift salon that in the end she just turned up at college with her grooming kit and sent all her classmates home ten minutes early so she could ‘clean’ my face. She must’ve been plucking my eyebrows with her mind for weeks.
It was great. She did a fantastic job. But I didn’t sign up for more. The effects were too short-lived. I’d have had to get done twice-weekly if I’d started to view it as essential.
Everyone knows that parenthood means a vicelike squeeze on time. And with too few hours in the day, something’s got to give.
In truth, my hair management regime was already giving generously before Maya came on the scene. But now I am entirely reliant on James and the rear view mirror to tell me when the tweezers need to do what they do best.
Even in the car, optimal light conditions are required to alert me to an eyebrow emergency. Dreary days make for poor visibility. Too much sun and the glare whites out the evidence.
Basically, it’s James’s job to tell me when I’m getting hairy and he is not coming through with the goods. Even when I point right at it and shout at him, he’s still not convinced it’s there.
So I’ve plucked the worst of my facial hair away. Nothing to see here now. Give it a couple of weeks though and I’ll no doubt catch a glimpse of my reflection in the toilet mirror at work and spend five minutes tweezing urgently and praying no one comes in to bear witness.
What are your feelings on hair removal? Do you engage with it? Or do you embrace what your momma gave you and stay hairy?