It was almost 50 degrees here in Boston this past weekend and I swear, it felt like spring. I walked Cleo and we hiked happily and buoyantly through the mud and sludge left behind by the melting snow. I breathed in that nearly intoxicating, nearly spring air and my thoughts turned toward even warmer weather and summer. In general, I like summer. The warmth and the sun, the smells, sounds and everything in bloom and the light of the longer summer days is magnificent. Of course I hate (read that: LOATHE) the clothing dilemma summer heralds for me, the fact that more of my body is on display, that there is no bathing suit for me. Sigh. So much for the magnificence of summer. The thing in particular that caught my thoughts this time though, was the topic of hair.
In general, I’m not what one would call a particularly hairy fellow. I have little enough hair on my head (my hair being thin, fine and wispy) and, even though I haven’t shaved my legs in several months, I have a barely perceptible, scant, sparse smattering of the same kind of peach-fuzz on my legs. Pretty much, I’ve always shaved my legs since my mother told me I had to. When I was about 12. And if one had any sense, one did not question mother. So I didn’t. Because of the brain-washing of both mother and society, I long regarded hairy legs as gross, ugly, disdainful. At least for women. Over the last few years I have gone without shaving off and on, usually during the winter months when no one really sees my legs and with my own permissive nod to breaking the rule, saying, and I’m embarrassed to admit this, that the hair would keep me warmer (more of an excuse to my mother than any actuality). Well, whatever. The other thing I’ve told myself is that my leg-hair-growth is such a pitiful show of accumulated augmentation, that it is more pathetic to leave it than to shave it. Which leads to my dilemma, what am I going to do this year with my leg hair come the warm weather when shorts are inevitable?
The question really is, is my leg-hair about my gender? I think, truthfully, none of my hair is or has been about my gender. Until now. My hair has been mostly about convenience and also about my coming to terms with what I’ve got rather than what I’d like. Truth be told, I’ve often said that in my next life, I would like to have fabulous hair. Another truth is that if I’d been born a boy, as I have often imagined myself, I have envisioned myself as a guy with a pony-tail. And beard. The reality of my situation, having nothing to do with gender, is that I couldn’t grow a decent pony-tail if my life depended on it. And thankfully, it does not. Again, not to put too fine a point on it, I have baby fine, super thin, very straight fly-away hair. It doesn’t really matter what style I’d prefer, what style I want, what style I’d like, or even what style is in style. This type of hair doesn’t proffer very many options. After my foray into the fine art of permanent waves in the 80s, I have come to accept the fact that my hair is at its best at 1/2 inch long.
But once again, I digress. I’ve never thought of the hair on my legs as about gender. Again, until now. While it is admittedly a sad showing of masculinity (not unlike the rest of my body), my understanding and acceptance of myself as transgender says, “fuck it man! you’re not shaving those legs!” At this point, Emily is reading this saying, “Oh dammit! I like your smooth legs!” Fear not dear one, there are several smooth spots (bald) on my legs that refuse to grow hair anyway. And by the way, in case you were wondering, armpit hair is non-negotiable to me. I don’t like it on men. I don’t like it on women. I don’t like it on me. To be continued…