For two months now I've been growing out my underarm hair. It was something I did once before, in my early-mid 20s, when I was a young feminist finding my way in the world. Back then I felt sexy, even if one girlfriend did beg me to shave my pits before her wedding day. Hairy pits were sensual, they were liberating, and they allowed me to feel like I didn't conform to the standard of hairless beauty that many of my girlfriends did.
Still, I shaved for her wedding and then I decided to keep my pits clean for a while. I even tried laser but ouch.
So when I stopped shaving for eight days while at the Burning Man festival, it got me thinking about what it would be like to not shave now, over a decade after my last bout with hairy righteousness. Would men be more turned on, or turned off, by my hairy underarms?
Let's go back for a minute. Historically, The Great Underarm Campaign began to gain traction in 1915 when sleeveless dresses became all the rage. The first ad came about in May of that year in Harper's Bazaar and it read:
Summer Dress and Modern Dancing combine to make necessary the removal of objectionable hair.
Objectionable maybe, subjective for sure. For me, the reviews have been mixed. The general consensus is that if a guy finds me attractive, he will find me attractive with my armpit hair. One man asked to sniff them long and hard, and while that didn't gross me out, it did feel a little odd. But he may also find me attractive while hoping my armpit hair will go away. I had one guy friend go into a bout of continuous gagging at the thought of my unshaven pits. And then I realized, as long as there's hair under my arms, I'm bringing way more attention to my pits than I normally ever would.
Other than that, what surprises me most is that my own reactions have been mixed. There are days where I feel sexy and days when I don't want to stretch in gym class for fear of the reactions from the people of Los Angeles. I don't want them to think I'm some dirty hippie because I have armpit hair.
Whatever the buzz on the fuzz, and just like it's okay for women to love neanderthal men, it's once again personal preference. I haven't had any problems getting some with my hairy armpits. Nope. Not at all. In fact, my hairy underarms could be good luck. As for getting rid of them, to shave or not to shave is the question. Me? I'm just going to wait for my partner to shave them for me. Whenever that may be.
Do you find hairy armpits sexy?