princesse_incongrue: Mrs Banks from Mary Poppins proudly displaying her "VOTES FOR WOMEN" sash (sister suffragette)
A couple months ago I stopped shaving my legs. I hate it and have always hated it, and no amount of stinky Nair, painful epilators, or sticky wax strips made it any better. Worse, whenever I was done shaving, my legs were revealed to be white as a skull and covered in tiny pink spots. My hair grows really fast, so the smoothness couldn't even last a full day. As soon as black-as-night hair started growing back, it was crazy visible against the aforementioned alabaster skin. So, to sum up, to have "ideal" smooth legs, I would have to shave them at least once a day, and the amount of time and water that would waste, not to mention money to replace razorblades and stuff, is more obnoxious than anything else. Also, I have reached a point in my life where I'm the one who cleans out the shower drain, if you see what I'm saying. Nuh-uh.

So yeah, the hair is pretty sparse, but it's noticable since it's so dark. I've gotten used to it, but as someone who always wears tights to avoid thigh chafing, I'm also the only person who ever sees it.

But yesterday it was too hot to think about tights, so I headed out to franprix in my sundress and hairy legs. I thought I would be nervous about it, but it turned out I didn't give a shit what people thought. It's my body, and if I hate shaving, why should I do it? Who am I trying to impress, and why do I want to impress someone who would require I do something I'm not interested in doing? I don't need to please strangers in the street. I don't need to please strangers in the street.

I didn't notice any looks at first, but as I was returning an older guy with a handlebar mustache was sitting outside a café. He looked me up and down the way men think they have the right to do in a world where women are just parading around trying to impress them, and when he saw my legs, his nonchalant expression turned into what can only be described as a glare. He sat there GLOWERING at my hairy legs.

So many things went through my mind as I walked by him with my head held high. Honestly, how can a man unironically say that hairy legs disgust him? Does he actually shave his own legs, or does he just hide them from his own sight to avoid offending himself? Even if he was a man who regularly shaved his own legs to avoid offending himself, why would he expect every other being on the planet to adhere to *his* beauty standard?

Secondly, and more amusingly: a man with a handlebar mustache was judging my body hair. Really? At least I don't have to buy a new tin of mustache wax every week. At least mine isn't plastered across my upper lip.

I wasn't embarrassed at all.
princesse_incongrue: Mrs Banks from Mary Poppins proudly displaying her "VOTES FOR WOMEN" sash (sister suffragette)
(strong language ahead)

You know what? I've had enough of people judging me and taking me for granted.

Yesterday my host mom tried to guilt me into staying two extra weeks! I accidentally agreed to one before I realized what was happening. So far we'd only agreed I'd spend two weeks with the little one--the schedule of this time she made for us was only for two weeks--but she caught me off guard with a text Sunday:

"Hello. I need you to confirm that you're going to stay with [the kid] until Friday, August 3rd. Thank you."

Without paying much attention, I answered "Ok." and, thinking that wasn't enough for a text, added, "And afterward you go on vacation?"

"No we leave August 9th. If you can keep him until then that would be better."

Suddenly I felt so obligated to agree to another week. I looked at a calendar and when I realized that my last day was SUPPOSED to be July 28th and she had already snuck another week in there, and that made something change in me. I made up a story about promising to house-sit in August, to which she petulantly answered something about how she would have to figure out a way to deal with that extra week herself. The worst part? That made me feel guilty. I had to keep telling myself that she doesn't have the RIGHT to MAKE me stay these extra weeks. She is fully capable of caring for ONE of her three children and cooking her own meals and ironing her own clothes for ONE WEEK. This is my time, my life, and she's damn lucky I didn't already leave when all the other au pair girls got to go home (Friday).

That was the beginning; I felt so liberated for having gotten out of that extra week (ignoring the one that got added in the process) that I started getting a grip on myself.


That evening as I was walk-of-shame-ing home from my boyfriend's apartment I didn't feel like putting on my tights again, so I didn't. I haven't shaved my legs in a while, but I went out anyway in my dress that hits me just above the knees. I spent the whole métro ride stressing that someone would see my legs and be grossed out by the hair when suddenly it hit me: who cares?!? I don't OWE random strangers anything! My body is the only thing that was given to me at birth and no one has the right to take it away from me. If someone looks at my legs and thinks it's gross that they're hairy, then FUCK them! They can look away or they can get over it. I've only got one life and maybe it's not a big priority for me to constantly be pulling hair out of my skin to appeal to a strangers' idea of beauty for a few minutes at midnight in a métro. It's especially disgusting that a man would have a problem with my legs when he himself never has to do shit about his, but he might expect a woman to spend ages with razors and lotions and whatever trying to make their own skin all hairless and unthreatening. Bullshit! If you don't like it, turn your damn head.


And then I noticed a group of assholes. I immediately decided that they were assholes because they were all putting their feet up in other seats, taking up twice as much space as necessary despite the crowded métro. They noticed me too: I was sitting across from them with my knees a little apart to support my bags on my lap (with my chunky thighs I knew no one was gonna see my underwear) and suddenly I become aware of three pairs of eyes on me, and worse--ALL OF THEM WERE TRYING TO SEE UP MY DRESS. They were STARING at my skirt, then would turn and mumble something and all three would burst into laughter and go back to staring.

Up till now my brain would have said "well, at least they're still attracted to you despite your greasy hair, flabby thighs, and hairy legs" but that bullshit thinking is finally leaving me. Who are these assholes to think they can violate my privacy like this? Just because I have a vagina that they can't see doesn't mean they should so blatantly TRY! It was insulting, it was robbing me of my humanity and my right to wear whatever I goddamn well want to. The longer they stared the more furious I became.

We all arrived at the final stop and when I stood, I moved back so that they would leave the train first. Obviously don't want people like that where I can't see them. Then, one of them actually APPROACHED me. As if he could behave like a fucking sex offender the whole train ride and then maybe suddenly I would want to SPEAK TO HIM? My headphones were in (loud) and I have no idea what he said (probably "ça va") but, fuming, I held my middle finger up about an inch away from his nose and stomped off the train.

It was an amazing feeling (I've never flipped anyone off in my life), though I was afraid afterwards (since it was almost 1am) and I admit I wished I had something I could use to stab him in the throat if he decided to attack me.


The last part happened today when I was listening to music and cooking. A song from Mozart l'Opéra Rock came on and, embarrassed after my host family's teasing that I always listen to the same songs, I started to skip it. But then I realized--FUCK THEM. If I want to listen to one song over and over and over then I have the goddamn right! Who ever made the rule that everyone on the planet must listen to a wide array of many songs to be a well-rounded human being?


So there we go. I'm tired of apologizing for who am I, what I like, and what I look like. I'm tired of feeling guilty and ashamed over every choice I make. I *am* me, and I've been able to look after myself pretty damn well for the past 23 years, so who do these people think they are to criticize that? If I'm happy with my outfits, my choices, and what I spend my time doing, and none of those things are endangering anyone around me, then no one has any right to try to change it but ME.

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