Monday, January 27, 2014

It's a Jungle Down There

I hate shaving my legs.  Every time I do it, I wind up with razor burn, and my legs look just as crummy smooth with irritated skin as they look with long, dark, wiry hair.  But I prefer smooth legs, so I cover up my rarely shaven legs, even though shorts would be more comfortable than jeans for about nine months out of the year in Austin.

Since I am not in the shaving habit, in addition to sweating a lot all summer, I've missed out on swimming with my kids now and again.  And the other night while in Pennsylvania visiting family, I was planning to sit on the deck when we all went to the hotel pool with my nieces, who live out East.  We only see them once a year, and when we do, the boys have such a blast with them!

As I sat at a table keeping an eye on the kids while they played with Adam, my 10-year-old niece asked me why I wasn't getting in.  I explained that I hadn't had time to shave.

She said I should get in anyways.

We chatted just a bit more as I realized that, in her youth, she was so much wiser
than me.

Heck yes, I should get in!

For one thing - we were the only people at the pool!  But even if there were others later - what was the big deal?!  I don't need to care if there's a societal expectation that I have hairless legs to swim.  I was letting an incredibly stupid "rule" get in the way of truly enjoying my family - and the hot tub!

But more than any of that, the reason I went up to our room and put on my bathing suit was that I so rarely influence my nieces, and I would be loathe to get it so very wrong with this one chance I had.  I didn't want to be an example of opting out of life because someone might think my legs weren't perfect, or because I might feel embarrassed by my lack of attention to maintaining my physical appearance.  I didn't want to be another example for her of prioritizing looks - little girls get enough of that crap.  I don't imagine donning my suit and climbing into the pool made a huge life-changing impression on her.  But at least I minimized the negative, if subtle, impression I'd have made if I'd spent the evening watching the fun in my jeans.

Days later - still hairy, still picking family fun over vanity.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I don't imagine myself in shorts with hairy legs anytime soon since I am partial to smooth, but I'm thankful to my niece for teaching me that day! :)