Remember back in high school when everyone’s bodies were a whirlpool of change, and every week brought something new to feel insecure about? I’d always been a heavier guy, so that didn’t bother me as much; and fortunately I’d — for the most part — dodged the acne and bad skin bullet. No, the thing that worried me the most during those anxious years starts with ‘body’ and ends with ‘hair.’
Hair. What was developed as an evolutionary trait to protect/warm certain parts of our body became a burden to me. People in my grade were busy expecting theirs to shoot up and I was busy trying to hide any trace that it already existed on me.
I changed in washroom stalls during gym class, wore a shirt while at the beach, and always wore a crew neck undershirt even under regular shirts to hide any trace of the Sasquatch bod I was boasting. I even slept in shirts, summer months included, afraid roommates over the years would spot my body in an unkempt state.
If it sounds ridiculous or like I’m being overdramatic, it’s because it was and I was. Recalling the absurd lengths I went to hide something as normal as body hair is painful, not because of some repressed memories but from how badly I facepalm myself thinking about it.
Just as there was no single moment that constructed my shame over body hair, I can’t pinpoint a single moment where I began to be comfortable with it. When it came to changing rooms, I started changing out in the open. Somehow V-necks made their way into my wardrobe, and the world continued to turn for hairy and non-hairy guys alike.
I hate to use other people’s opinions as a reason for my acceptance, but unfortunately this was a huge part of it. Once I figured out that no one cared that my back and shoulders looked like a bathmat, I realized I didn’t have to care, either.
A big moment came when I realized that members of the opposite sex weren’t immediately disgusted by my densely-follicled body. In fact, the opposite was true in most cases. While I know some girls who dig the skeletal prepubescent look, where a guy has more hair on his head than the rest of his body combined, others want a guy that doesn’t remind them of a hairless cat. I won’t get into some bullshit about hyper-masculinity, but I’ve had girls tell me they like being reminded of when guys were less concerned with manscaping and had traditionally hairy bodies.
I’m trying to find a moral to pass onto you readers; something that goes beyond the cliched, ‘just be comfortable in your own skin.’ Only hair isn’t part of your skin, and cliches about accepting your body have become next-level cliches.
Your body is yours, so rock it. There’s nothing wrong with the occasional grooming session to keep things in check, but don’t let feelings about body hair impede your daily activities and even your life. My body hair is mine; it’s a built-in sweater that itches in the summer and shields me in the winter, and I couldn’t be happier.