Why must I wax?

why wax

“Show me your arms,” Kanta my waxing lady commands. I show them to her.

This is always followed by a click of disapproval. An “uff, ai hai, jungle bana kay rakha hai!”

I’m not all that hairy. Some Yetis would agree. Kanta the waxer’s opinion on this matter differs.

“This would look a lot of better waxed. So much hair is not natural for a woman,” she says.

Except I am a woman, and my hair grew naturally — effortlessly even— on my body.

hairy legs winter leggings

Kahan likha hai, bhai, that I must always have pristinely plucked limbs?” I asked.

Kanta isn’t stumped. “Likha toh kahin nahin hai, par humne sadiyon pehlain waxing and hair removing invent kari. Kuch reason kay liye kari, na? Tch tch tch,” she counters.

Aap ko sachi mein lagta hai ki koi woman ne socha: ‘oh aaj main apni body ke upar garma garam wax pour karoongi aur phir apne saare baal roots se pull karongi, khushi khushi. PMS khaafi nahin hai…yay… aur dard!’?” (“Do you really think that one fine day, a woman suddenly thought: ‘oh, today I’m going to pour boiling hot wax on my body and then happily use it to pull out all the hair from their roots. PMS wasn’t enough…yay…more pain!’?”)

Kanta’s face reveals that she is finally stumped, but her hands don’t stop pulling at my winter socks for even a second.

She isn’t entirely sure this idea to pour a sizzling substance on our bodies and use it to yank off from the roots whatever unlucky hairs got trapped by it like helpless houseflies was, in fact, a woman’s. The truth is, I don’t know that it isn’t. But, it wouldn’t be my go-to, except for —

— Cut to last summer, I found a pair of All-Saints denim culottes so old they had frayed at the edges. A trend fairy-godmother-find, right?

“With those hairy legs?” my mom asked in a tone that said: “Not with those hairy legs.”

If ‘silky smooth legs’ are the beauty norm — and they must be, because some women have been known to spend 1,728 hours of their lives on hair removal —my two stumps are usually not beautiful.

The hair on them usually hasn’t been shaved, waxed, epilated, creamed to death for weeks — months during winter — at a time. Why? No BIG reasons, no groundbreaking stuff. I’m not out saving the world or even a cute desi puppy. The truth is I’m just lazy. I’m such a sloth that this piece of writing was meant to be a blog post for No-shave November.

And, also, I’m busy. It’s not life-saving, but my job is hectic. I don’t have office hours that would allow for weekly upper lip/ brow cleaning or bi-weekly Brazilian. Again, it’s not on my list of top priorities to make myself hairless. I’m already a bit overwhelmed by the deadly daily business of adulting.

Do I need to get my brows done?

A lot of women I know are even busier. They’re juggling multiple time-intensive life goals. Some are simultaneously working and are wives, mothers, and caregivers. They have, maybe, one waking hour a day to themselves. Some of them manage to maintain their beauty standard up high and hairless. And, some do not. I do not. In my spare time, I’d rather not be plucked, poked, or pulled. I’d rather chill, watch bad television, read good books. Mostly — and especially during winter months — I’d rather just be sleeping like the bhaaloo my mom says that I am.

Yes: I’d rather be relaxed and hairy than smooth-skinned and sleep deprived. It’s a priority thing.

“But it’s unclean,” my mom once said to me. “You should want to be groomed for your sake,” she added.

I disagree with her first conclusion. Being hairy is not unclean. Don’t believe me. Take science’s word for it.

Dr. Mona Gohara is an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University. She told Good Housekeeping: “There’s this false association that hairlessness equals cleanliness, but that’s not actually true as long as you’re clean.” (I’ve been known to bathe.)

Now, if you want to be hairless, go for gold. (Seriously, try the gold wax — it makes you feel statuesque.)

But, more often than not, the story goes more like this one that a friend of mine told me about “this one time” she was hanging with a mutual friend discussing how she’d quit her job and what her next step in life would be.

“So, I was sitting there in a tank top… it’s like 50 degrees here… and I notice that he’s like, staring at my arms. I could literally see the horror in his eyes. And I know why too… because I’ve not been bothered with my arm hair for a while now… I mean, who cares right now? Do I take off this hair that is going to grow anyway, or do I figure out my life?”

There are times I feel the urge to go hairless. I wouldn’t dream of ever going to a formal occasion having not shaved/ waxed and primped myself up. But, I do wonder: would I even notice my body hair if someone wasn’t pointing it out?

But, you know what, that is also okay. I’m not going to hate on my mom because she freaked out over three inches of legs covered by four inches of hair. I might, some day, point out that she doesn’t bat an eyelid when my baby brother parades around our house in Bermuda shorts at the end of which we can all see his skinny pins covered in thick man fur. He has nicer legs than I do; it’s logical for her to want to see them “more clearly.”

 

Half and half might be a way to go as well. Hmm...

Half and half might be a way to go as well. Hmm…

 

Avantika Mehta
Written by

Editor, Pyjama People

Avantika Mehta used to be a lawyer, resident Blue Frog party freak and proud wearer of harem pants curated from Kasol. Then she became a writer and it all went downhill. Famous Scottish journalists have been known to call her ‘a volatile woman.’

Twitter @bitingfriends / Instagram: @bitingfriends

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