On my last day at the pool, I strutted the perimeter, forcing myself to display my wild and weedy front lawn. It’s hard to confront your fears head-on because inevitably it means discovering things about yourself you’d rather not face. Would I notice a woman who hadn’t shaved her bikini line? Yes. Would seeing tufts of her pubic hair innocently curling beyond her swimsuit make me feel uncomfortable? Perhaps. Would I judge her? Not exactly, but I would assume a freeness in that person’s disposition that I apparently do not possess. And after five mentally exhausting days of battling my own buttoned-up demons, I was starting to envy any woman who felt that unfettered.
Back at home, I held off shaving immediately. I decided to challenge myself. How far can I push this?
Lounging in bed one Saturday morning, my husband propped up next to me, engrossed in the weekend newspaper, I crawled out from under the covers, clad in bra and underwear, to grab a section that was out of reach. It was now eight weeks past the onset of the experiment: I’d never neglected to trim my bikini line for so long. I was sitting cross-legged on top of the comforter, scanning the headlines, when I felt my husband’s eyes upon me: “Wow,” he said, “you need to shave!”
That morning, after de-tufting in the shower, I pulled on my panties and glanced with satisfaction at my gleaming upper thighs. I’m more at ease with my body this way, and that’s OK. I also feel charged by a new nugget of self-knowledge: that I hadn’t allowed concerns about what other people think (my husband excepted, naturally) to hold me back. Maybe it would be fun to let a bit of wilderness grow in other areas of my life.
Amy Zavatto, a food writer, is the author of Architecture of the Cocktail.
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