Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Body hair

The time to have another body shave is approaching. I do it in two halves: hands and arms in one half; legs in the other. Both every three weeks or so. In between I'll routinely clear sections of my upper pubic hair to provide space for the hormone patches, and I'll shave under my arms as often as every other day, depending on what tops or dresses I'm going to wear.

There's still a couple of hairs on my chest that have the temerity to sprout, even though most of their brethren have long given up trying; I check them every day, and if they're peeping out, they get the shaver. Ker-pow!

So far as I can tell, there's now no visible hair anywhere else on my body. I never was especially hirsute, and the hormones have completely subdued hair growth on my back and other places.

I use an ordinary men's wet shaver by Gillette, with Mach 3 blades, and gel by the same manufacturer. Just as I did pre-transition. I expect to keep on shaving my face for a while yet, although the end of daily shaving is now in sight, and I may be able to stop shaving my face and neck entirely sometime in 2013. Next year I may have to upgrade to Gillette's latest wet shaver, but what I use just now is more than adequate.

I don't use any fancy shavers intended for ladies. What's the point? The men's version is heavy-duty, designed to clear all types of hair - including tough bristly facial hair - as efficiently as possible, and yet still leave the skin smooth and undamaged. That's what I want. I have no hang-ups about needing to use only girly stuff. I don't have qualms about what people might think if I buy men's razor refills or gel. I could be buying it for my husband or live-in boyfriend. The two women I lived with in my life both used cheap throw-away wet razors, bought in packets, for their under-arms and legs. One packet lasted a very long time. I never noticed them hestating to buy whatever they needed. It's a fact of life with most women: they need to shave bits of their body now and then. So there's no need for any trans woman to feel the slightest embarrassment about getting rid of her own body hair. 

I have to admit that the body shaving is rather a mission. A big task that will take over an hour if I do both halves and do it meticulously. But I love the result. Feeling smooth is wonderful. I still get a kick out of it. When I started in December 2008 I had to do it every week. The time between shaves has gradually lengthened, and presently stands (as mentioned above) at a much more reasonable three weeks. And even at three weeks, there is little to see, as my body hair is very light-coloured and has acquired a fine texture. It's there if you look for it, but really it hardly shows, and nowadays I could let it go for a month and still not seem under-groomed. But I wouldn't do that, because it means a lot to me to keep my body hair under control.

I'm sure every one of us felt horrified when, in puberty, hair began to pour relentlessly from follicles. I certainly felt deadful. I absolutely loathed the 'young man' look. It was no feather in my cap to be showing these signs of manhood. It was just as upsetting to see it in other teenagers. And although I hated school, and longed to get out into the real world, I really didn't want to do it with a craggy face and a blue chin. Ugh. And once launched into a career, I took every opportunity to find ways of keeping masculinity within manageable bounds. My younger brother felt different. He grew a moustache, and took to smoking a pipe - a deliberately old-fashioned affectation even then, in the mid 1970s - and generally adopted all kinds of very male mannerisms. I did not. And I continued to fret over many aspects of my appearance, body hair chief among them.

And I never stopped fretting in the following thirty years. A succession of girlfriends, my wife W---, and my later partner M--- must all have noticed it. It was perhaps the only consistent sign that I was not happy with my body. If it was put to me that I'd look really good in a beard, just like a viking, or (later on) that I'd look great with sexy 'designer stubble', or if it was suggested that should let my chest hair grow (I started shaving it off early on), they all got a panicky vehement NO!! from me that must have seemed very odd. In fact I do wonder why my apparent fetish with shaving, giving it unusual priority even in circumstances when I could be excused the chore, didn't trigger searching questions and an early discovery that I had a gender problem. That and my occasional experiments with girly glasses, unisex clothes and ambiguous hairstyles - whatever I might get away with. But then I didn't 'get it' myself. I simply thought I was different.

I've got an electrolysis session today, my 49th. Next time I'll present Roz with a bottle of wine to mark the 50th occasion. Yesterday, although I hadn't shaved for about 30 hours, you couldn't see any of the stubble in that 'Mexican moustache' area of my face that we've been working on. It's almost defeated. But I could feel it. So I still feel a bit wobbly about public appearances in the run-up to an electrolysis session. But one day soon there'll just be fine hair, and no stubble, and when we get to that it'll be champagne!

9 comments:

  1. As time goes by Lucy the hormones will eradicate any masculine hair growth on your body. For the other persistent areas, face, arms and legs several methods can be used to deal with the problem. Facial hair you seem to have under control and having electrolysis deal with it is the best solution, albeit slow. You obviously know about laser and pulsed light systems that can be used too. Now then, for your arms and legs, might I suggest buying yourself an epilator (£40-£60) for the removal of hair? Since I started using my epilator on my legs in 2003 I have very little hair growth on them now. The hairs have given up growing due to the constant 'plucking' of the epilator. I still need to do around the knees every couple of weeks though. For some reason they persist there. I also use the epilator on my arms but the hairs there are taking much longer to get under control but I have found them becoming finer (maybe due to the hormones) and growing less vigorously. I have found that using a shaver doesn't weaken the hairs whereas using an epilator does and over a period of time costs less to deal with. I have to say though that sometimes using an epilator causes pimples to form where the hairs are plucked out but not everyone has this problem. Using a cooling medium immediately after epilating will help with this problem should it arise. I use very cold water and it works. For the face, I now neither have electrolysis nor do I shave but I pluck rogue hairs with tweezers using my (new) magnifying mirror. Most of the hairs on my face are very soft, like 'bumfluff' but some do need plucking. The problem again with shaving is that it needs to be done nearly every day and doesn't help with elimination. I do use a razor for under arms though as it is the best solution seeing as under-arm hair growth is usually slow in most people. I hope I've not bored you with all that information and pray it will be of help.
    Shirley Anne xxx

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  2. Thank you, Shirley Anne. So long as I need to shave my face, there is no extra cost involved with shaving elsewhere - except a bit more gel, I suppose. And with me, the arm and leg hairs do soften and seem to weaken.

    My neighbour has suggested trying a cream to dissolve body hair, and I'll look into that.

    Lucy

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  3. Hi again Lucy. The point I was trying to make regarding shaving wasn't so much the low cost but the fact that it doesn't help in trying to eliminate growth whereas an epilator will. Using cream will remove hair but at an expense and I wonder if it too helps with elimination in the long run. I am sure you would prefer eliminating the hair rather than having to shave all the time.

    Shirley Anne xxx

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  4. A friend of mine is a beauty therapist and hair removal expert, she explained the girl/boy shaver difference to me. Seems it's in the angle of the blades, and used with shaving oil the girl razor will give a closer shave on the face.

    As a user of both types I find the girl razors less prone to getting bunged up with hair, and using one on my face as she advised is more difficult than the boy razor but does give a better result for my purposes.

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  5. Well, shaving body hair is not only very low-cost, but it's painless. I don't fancy any method that involves plucking large areas - eyebrows are quite enough! In any case, and as we agree, the hormones gradually make shaving less frequent. Once every three weeks really isn't a big chore.

    The regrowth with creams is apparently softer (no sharply cut tips to the hairs), and for that reason worth a trial. But, as you say, it isn't a cheap method.

    Lucy

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  6. Quite a fascinating post is this Lucy. I notice you mentioned that you don't fancy having plucking large areas. I take it that you mean your face and not your legs and arms? I pluck my face hairs but they are really scarce and spread about. It would be a good idea if there were many hairs I admit. As for the legs and using an epilator, well the epilator is plucking a lot of hairs as you move it along and is painless unless the hairs are too long. Best to shave and then use the epilator the next time when the hairs are less than 6mm long. My ex. swore she wouldn't use an epilator until I offered to buy one for her and when I did she was so surprised how painless it was in use and she doesn't need to buy all that cream! It is similar to an electric shaver as far as pain goes and they are not at all painful are they?

    Shirley Anne xxx

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  7. Sorry that should have read 'would NOT be a good idea.....'

    Shirley Anne xxx

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  8. I meant that plucking small areas like eyebrows and ears is the only kind of plucking I've done, or would ever want to do. I'd look to other solutions for the rest of my body. For me shaving is a straightforward and painless solution that works fine wherever I use it, and it doesn't damage my skin.

    I would eventually consider laser for a permanent bikini line. The hairs are darker down there!

    Sorry, but I really don't feel inclined to spend money finding out whether an epilator would suit me. And there is nobody to buy presents like that for me!

    Lucy

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  9. Shaving is really the most affordable hair removal solution but I don't like it...maybe because I have to do it over and over again.
    I understand..it was necessary a few years ago when no better alternative was available....but now? We have laser hair removal that can provide long lasting results....eve if people say this will permanently remove unwanted hair, I know this is just a myth and my doctor told me the same before I had it done.
    Is not about money or pain, is about long term results....I'm don't wanna shave every week or every two weeks or so....I want to forget the last time when I ha to remove unwanted hair and for this shaving is not enough....

    When I decided to try something else I found an article about Skin Vitality a clinic in my town and this was the sign that I should do it....Now after 3 months from my treatment I have no signs of hair growing in the treated area and that's really great because I'm still not used to this:)

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