"No-Shave November? We Wear Body Hair All Year Long!"

Two women come clean about what's it's like to date and be intimate when you're au naturale.

no shave november

Patricia, 31, a doula who lives in Carterville, IL:

"When I was dating I used to refer to my armpit hair as my 'superficiality filter.' I think it worked pretty well, though I also think I met guys who had 'hairy girl' on their must-bone bucket lists. I’m married now, but back in my single days I was brazen about my hairy legs. Men simply didn’t approach me if they weren’t into it. I had one boyfriend, though, who wouldn't introduce me to his grandmother because of my hairy legs. That bummed me out, but didn’t deter me. 


I was 18 when I quit shaving; it was just after high school graduation. I had known other women who didn't shave, and I began to identify with them. I had started to realize that the ritual of women removing all their body hair is dictated by consumerism and fear-based marketing. In short, it’s about buying products. I thought, I shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money to remove something that’s a part of me; it made me feel preyed upon. I don’t want to lower myself an inch so that someone else can make a dollar.

Probably the only rude comment I’ve ever gotten was when I was 21. I worked as a restaurant server and I wore a tank top to wait tables, so my armpits were pretty visible. A customer made a ‘Go shave your pits!’ comment that was kind of upsetting. Surprisingly, four or five women jumped to my defense immediately. These were all women who didn’t have a hair on their bodies, but they defended me.


Ironically, I do get my eyebrows waxed every now and then. I do it for me, though; I don’t like having a unibrow. And I will shave my legs now and then; I even did it for my wedding. I do get the appeal of shaving. It feels nice to have smooth legs against clean sheets.

Nowadays, I continue to go au naturale simply out of convenience. I don't know if I could keep up with shaving every few days. Plus, my husband doesn’t care about my hair — in fact, that’s part of what attracted him to me in the first place. It shows I have conviction, he says. That I have an opinion and I’m putting myself out there. He admires that about me.

My career has given me even more insight into the perception of women and body hair, and what a personal thing it is. I work as a doula — assisting women before, during and after childbirth — and when I meet with a new client, the conversation about hair always seems to happen. Most women feel the need to preface or comment on their 'situation' down there. Whether they have pubic hair or not, they'll say, "Oh there’s nothing down there" or "there’s gonna be hair there, and I want you to know." It’s natural for women to feel vulnerable in this situation. When it comes to their grooming habits, I think they should just do whatever makes them feel empowered."

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Lauren, 30, a sustainable designer who lives in Austin, TX

"I grew up studying ballet. In high school, I distinctly remember seeing another dancer with hairy armpits. I’d been shaving since junior high, so at first I was freaked out. I made the assumption that she smelled and didn’t use deodorant. The image stuck with me.

When I got to college, I become more self-aware. I started to learn about feminism, and it resonated with me. I eventually decided to stop shaving my legs and underarms too. I didn’t stop plucking my eyebrows and grooming my bikini area until just last year ago, though. I think I was holding onto those two because, for some reason, the hair there seems more embarrassing.

When I went on dates, I never drew attention to the fact that I don’t shave my legs. I didn’t feel I had to give guys a heads up; they’d just noticed on their own, I figured. Some guys were still interested after the discovery; others would notice the hair and stop calling me. My current boyfriend loves natural women – and the smell of a natural body. Ultimately, my hair helped me attract a guy with the same values as me.


Just the other day, my boyfriend and I were talking about this idea that women feel they need to be hairless. We argue that it stems from a desire to look prepubescent – and that men are attracted to a look that makes them feel superior. On the other hand, I’ve heard that women are sometimes more attracted to hairy guys during certain stages of our menstrual cycles. We see hair as more masculine. The evolutionary aspects of attraction are intriguing. It’s all very mammalian!

On a more political note, refraining from shaving means I get to wear my values on my sleeve. Like having dreadlocks or wearing conservative clothing, my stance on body hair sends a message about the person I am and, in the process, empowers me. Society dictates what’s accepted and what’s frowned upon when it comes to female body image. It’s hard to understand what could be wrong with something as natural as hair. The fact that we’re even talking about it is kind of funny."

What's your stance on female grooming?