Let’s be honest about pubic hair.
I first became confused about pubic hair when riding the bus and hearing some girls make fun of another girl for having “a bush”. (I’m not sure how they knew…) I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but I think I was between 14 and 15 years old. I am ashamed to admit that I laughed along. But inside, I was so confused. I had pubic hair too! The puberty video they showed us in 5th grade said we would grow hair “down there” and it was a normal part of growing up.
I learned that they shaved their pubic hair off. This terrified me – putting a razor that close to my vulva was the last thing I wanted to do! It was almost as scary as the idea of asking Edward Scissorhands to sculpt my pubic hair. I let my hair grow.
I remember another conversation with those same girls asking each other if they were “shaved or striped”. I didn’t know what striped meant (and to be honest, I’m not sure I know to this day… is it a landing strip? A striped pattern? Something else?) All of the other girls answered shaved so when they asked me I answered the same way. I didn’t want to be the nasty bush girl.
The same pattern repeated itself when we watched the Miracle of Life video in class – everyone seemed so disgusted that the woman giving birth had pubic hair. I went along with the rest of the crowd, but I remember thinking, “Why is it such a big deal? And what woman would want to shave when she was eight and a half months pregnant?!”
The next time I actively thought about pubic hair was in college when I saw a performance of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues for the first time. If you haven’t seen a production, there is one monologue about a woman who doesn’t want to shave her pubic hair but her husband really pushes the subject. The woman performing the monologue stated that pubic hair is “there for a reason”. In my head, I was screaming “PREACH!”
I’ve talked with several friends during and since college and I think we just don’t talk enough about pubic hair. So here I go!
I have tried several different styles ranging from full bush to fully shaved. I’ve never waxed because I’m terrified of the idea. Personally, I get a little itchy with a full bush. On the other hand, fully shaved makes me feel like a little girl and there is no itch worse that when it starts to grow back. And the worst thing that ever happened to me from fully shaving was an ingrown hair. OUCH!
What works for me is trimming the hair that grows on the mons and labia with scissors. In college, I used small blunt children’s craft scissors. I have tried multiple things, but I find that nail scissors work best for me because they are small and easier to control. If I’m going to wear a bathing suit, I usually shave my bikini line – just so I don’t have pubes poking out the sides. But only if I feel like it! And if I’m feeling really adventurous, I sometimes shave the labia (but seriously, this happens once a year at most). I’ve been sick for a few weeks, so I haven’t done any trimming and am rocking a full bush as I type this.
Here are some points I really want to make:
- There is nothing weird about having pubic hair. It grows there for a reason and if you choose not to remove it, you aren’t the only person in the world who lets it grow.
- There is nothing weird about removing your pubic hair. If it makes you feel more comfortable, then that’s your jam.
- Your body, your choice. Please don’t ever let someone talk or shame you into removing your body hair. I have an amazing boyfriend who reminds me of that when I feel the occasional pressure of social constructs telling me to shave.
- I still don’t know what “striped” means and I would love to know! If you have the answer, please comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll share your answer with this post, but you will remain completely anonymous.
That’s all for now. What are your pubic hair experiences? Were you ever confused about it? Have you waxed (what was it like)? How do you wear yours now? If you’re comfortable sharing, I’d love to hear from you!