She was twelve, and she was horrified to see this … this stuff growing on her:
And so one afternoon when my dad wasn’t home and my mother was on the phone downstairs, I sat in the bathtub, stole one of my mom’s razor blades and grazed it over my shins. I watched my tiny, blonde hairs fall into the tub and I washed them away. I did not cut myself once.
The following afternoon, my mother drove me to a piano lesson. I wore shorts and sat in the passenger seat. Nervous she would notice my legs, I slouched, pushing them towards the windshield.
What are the chances Mom will notice? If you were ever twelve, you know the answer is “One hundred percent”:
“Did you shave your legs?” she asked me, accusatory in tone.
“I don’t know,” I responded. Seriously, I said that. It is the worst possible answer to give when questioned about an action you have clearly, demonstratively taken.
“You shouldn’t have done that,” my mom said, glancing at the smooth legs I was so proud of. “It will just make the hair grow back faster. Now you have to do that for the rest of your life.”
Obviously I have no personal experience with this, but I’ve heard that “rest of your life” warning before, so I’m assuming that it’s a standard rite of passage for girls.
I remember one girl from high school who apparently had been forbidden to so much as look at a razor, and she wasn’t even slightly blonde. What’s more, she was growing the stuff even faster than I was, and the prescribed school uniforms insured that it was always on display. If it bothered her, though, she never said so, and I never considered it my place to ask.