So apparently I’m a hippie now. I have a weird haircut, I wear random clothes, I travel for a lifestyle but most notably, I no longer tame my body hair. I didn’t used to look like this, I waxed my underarms, shaved my legs, and scheduled my monthly Brazilian appointments. I loathed the cost, effort and pain of hair removal, but I did it because ‘that’s what women do’ and… what man will want to eat out a hairy vagina?
This bohemien change occurred in the desert where I released my wild woman — in many ways. The most visible way being my body hair.
In the desert my waxed pits were the odd ones out; practically all the female volunteers were rocking their natural foliage. Never before had I wished for my pits to hurry up and grow back. Once they eventually filled out I felt a sense of pride raising my arms alongside my desert sisters.
When the desert time came to an end and we were heading to Namibia, I intended to remove the hair but Zimbabawia, Mumma Africa and Impy persuaded me not too.
‘It looks great! Al natural gal.’
And so I was convinced to keep my natural hairs even in the ‘real world’. I didn’t think much about it until my road trip with the Namibia boys. Being in their handsome presence I felt the blush of self-consciousness come over me. Still seeking further reassurance I decided to ask Lekker Boy and Mumma Lover what they thought of my pit-Afro.
‘It’s great! That’s your true self.’
‘You totally rock it!’
Although it pains me to say, the validation of two men over my three female friends made it so much easier to accept my hairy new look and believe others would accept it too.
What the fuck had society done to my brain?
So, I did it — I embraced my natural hairs. While we drove down the desert roads of Namibia I let my them flap gracefully in the wind. As I danced to Afrobeats in Rwanda I threw my arms in the air without hesitation. When I became intimate with Honey he lovingly stroked my hairy pits as though they were the most natural thing in the world — which they were.
Now, seven weeks later, I have become used to this new furry version of myself. I find myself tenderly fondling the thick, black bush of my pits and vag.
Reunited with Mumma Africa, our departure date creeps up on us and I feel that same insecurity resurface — I don’t know if I can face taking my natural hairs on a plane destined for Europe.
Why is Europe any different than Africa you ask?
Europe is where I’m meeting a bunch of non-hairy friends. Europe is where fashion becomes important again. Europe is where the German lives — and I know beyond a doubt that he won’t like my pitAfro.
Tormented by these social pressures I turn to Mumma Africa and Zimbabwia for help and we decide to do a little research…
We find out that in the 1920s there was as a dramatic change in women’s fashion. Dresses became shorter and tighter, sleeves were removed — the body was the new biggest statement. So with all these limbs on show some scheming advertisers from the men’s hair removal industry began to target women’s hair and their self-esteem
Advertisements featuring joyous women in slick summer dresses with hairless underarms began popping up in women’s magazines. These advertisements promoted hair removal products that dealt with ‘unclean’ hairs and promoted ‘female loveliness’.
Hold on a minute — unclean? Women were bombarded with a message that the natural hairs they’d always known were now suddenly unclean, unsightly and unfeminine.
So clearly I’d been unknowingly programed so to speak. But this discovery did prompt me to have the invaluable realisation — once upon a time, not so long ago, all women were hairy, and none of them knew and felt any damn different.
Keeping my natural hairs is not me making a grand hippy gesture — it’s me justbeingme.com just like my fellow al-natural sisters from the 1920s!
So no thank you Mr Gillette!
Empowered by a vision of hairy women of the past and the support of the women in my present, I throw my unused wax and razor away, then continue packing. Tomorrow we wave goodbye to Mumma Africa and Mount Kilimanjaro and board a flight to Portugal — my pitAfro can hardly wait to arrive.