User Post: Hairy

I was at a wedding shower luncheon recently and as usual when a bunch of women are gathered, the talk turned to underarm hair. How to get rid of it, how much we hate it, who invented it - like clockwork, right after salad and right before the main course we discussed these pressing issues. Then, one of the women commented that she had once seen a picture of Julia Roberts with a bushy armpit and remarked that, "It kind of made me gag." She said this with such drama, pausing and then closing her eyes and appearing to concentrate, like people do when they're either praying or passing gas.

A few of us came to Julia's defense, using the usual "It's European" argument or "Maybe her assistant forgot to shave her" theory. (Although, I noticed that everyone was careful not to raise their arms too high from that point on.) I though this was funny, mainly because this woman had such an intense reaction to Julia's hirsute pit, like the actress had gone out of her way to cause great agony and discomfort in her viewing audience. I imagined Julia waking up the morning that the photo was taken and saying to herself, 'Let me just put this right out there so that some poor soccer mom can choke on her caramel latte."

I sympathize with Julia - keeping hair under control is a b---- , and who can blame her if she didn't feel like getting out the razor that morning? I started thinking about how, with two teenage daughters, so much of our expense and energy is being poured into the styling, bleaching, removing, waxing and plucking of hair. A trip to the drug store usually results in a basket filled with no fewer than four kinds of shampoos and conditioner, an unreasonably large assortment of pins, ponytail holders and headbands and at least three different types of hair removal creams and/or devices. Just a tip: the one that resembles a lathe that you fill with napalm? Definitely not worth your $9.95, even with the added Bonus Ginsu Razor.

Absolutely true story: Recently my husband and I went to an event, and were eagerly anticipating our night ahead of child-free revelry. Just as we were getting ready to take our first sips of our ginseng martinis his phone buzzed (mine was turned off) and it was a text from our 14-year-old daughter that started with 'URGENT.' We were alarmed of course, until we saw the rest of it:

"PLEASE stop at Rite Aid on your way home and get CONDITIONER!!!! Pantene Pro-V Fine Hair Solutions Dry to Moisturized 12.8 oz. THANK YOU!!!!!!"

Can I just say there's no greater buzzkill than a text from your teenager with an unnecessarily detailed hair product order.

I recently took a hairy matter into my own hands and decided to pluck my 12-year-old daughter's eyebrows myself. I thought I did a pretty good job, although with all the screaming you would have thought I was shaping them with a blowtorch. So what if they didn't totally match and one of them gave her a permanent, slightly inquisitive look - that was twenty bucks saved that could be spent on an eyelash curler. I couldn't help wanting to show off my handiwork to my friends one day at a party, although perhaps dragging her over and announcing, "I plucked these suckers myself!" may have not been the most sensitive thing I've ever done in my life, a fact that she let me know by giving me one of the fiercest glares I've ever seen (from under a perfectly shaped arch, I might add.)

Getting back to the woman at the party, I did jokingly ask her if she had ever been caught with her hair down, so to speak, and she said it was the reason she had taken to wearing long sleeves lately. As she said this she laughed and threw her head back, and I caught a glimpse of a nose hair protruding from her nostril. It kind of made me gag.


Marsha Takeda-Morrison is the author of the blog Sweatpantsmom, which is where you'll find her when she isn't shaving or buying conditioner.

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