That sums up how I feel going into this first column. “Utter dread” is another phrase I’ve been thinking about to describe the feeling. On Sunday, realizing I was contractually bound to writing something on a weekly basis, I went into full panic-mode. I thought about all of the Discrete Mathematics homework I still had to do, and then I thought about what people would think of me once they read my column. BARF.
I think about that a lot — what other people think about me. I know we’re not supposed to. That's a collective “we” in reference to “our” generation, which receives a bombardment of cliché advice via the interweb. Just think of all those pictures of sunsets with quotes like “Dance like no one is watching” splayed across in cursive letters.
I can see it now — it’s a tall, thin girl with no cares in the world. She’s prancing through a field of marigolds at the golden hour with “JUST BE YOURSELF” tastefully nestled under her cut-off jean shorts. The lighting is just right so her body is silhouetted against the sun, and she becomes kind of racially ambiguous (though still light-skinned, of course), like in an Herbal Essences commercial telling viewers, “Just be yourself.”
That quote is immeasurably unhelpful. It’s not telling you to be yourself. It’s saying “Be yourself if a, b and c.” So when I say that I spend a lot of time thinking about people’s opinions, it feels like a confession. Supposedly, we have all mastered the art of not caring, even though we obviously haven’t. (I bet you anything you’ve stalked yourself on Facebook more than you have stalked any other person this week.) My point is, this whole “writing a column” thing is challenging for me because of the whole "someone might read it" aspect (even though no one reads the Daily, right? Ha! RIGHT?!).
Perhaps there’s so much preface to this because what I’d like to talk about is tied up with the way people perceive me. I’d like to tell you some stories about being a hairy (sometimes insecure, but mostly appalled) woman, hoping that you find them relatable, or at least mildly entertaining.
I’ll probably tell you some stories about my host-mom in Argentina and her crazy diet and her theories on body hair. Maybe you’ll even get to read the story of when I waxed my legs under her advisement.
Body hair, it turns out, is a much more complex issue than just dead skin cells. Our society has created all sorts of rules about it, having to do with race, gender, class and countless other factors, along with the trend of the era. But because I’m me (a white, jewish, cis female), and in the present, I’ll mostly be talking about my own recent experience on the topic.
Disclaimer: when I get sick of talking about my body, or have run out of historical facts about the modern razor, I’ll probably talk about sex and other things I don’t understand (and perhaps descend into senior-year stress ranting).
Now, this is the obligatory part of the first column where I tell you this might get personal and ask you to be nice and remember I’m also a person with feelings, who’s currently typing this while she sits on the toilet. HAHA, you’re still reading! That was a treat for making it to the end.
Hairy Woman: JUST BE YOURSELF