Wednesday, April 9, 2014

9/30: Dear Veet: #notbuyingit

(Backstory here)

I still vividly remember the first time I shaved my legs.

It was being granted the permission more than anything, honestly, having watched
the other girls shed their peach fuzz one by one, congratulating one another
as it happened, and me, I mean
come on.
Look at me.
They had peach fuzz but I was outgrowing most of the boys,
and of course that carried plenty along with it.  But my iron mother,
who ruled the house and my body from hairy head
to hairy toes, said no, said
I needed to keep my childhood, my innocence, a little longer.

Whatever.  Eventually she caved and who knows why
but it happened and I wrote her a thank you letter afterward
in which I described how the only thing that felt finer than my clothes
brushing against one of my new naked legs was the other leg.  I stood
in the kitchen rubbing them like some diva cricket.  I went to school

and no one said a thing.

Fast Forward.  And there’s angry red bumps, painful stubble, cuts and bleeding;
razor blades get dull and need replacing and I’m less pretty 
than the other girls because of my stubble, my red bumps,
my ingrowth, then someone said
try Veet.

I did.

It didn’t work.  At all.  Whatever.

When I moved to Wisconsin I quit shaving.  A girl from Arkansas
dabbed smack into winter, I mean come on.  Of course
I took what extra insulation I could get.  Then I was married
and who cares at that point, right? But after the split I was working
in the UK and my friend said
try Veet.

I did.

Different formulas in different countries?  Who knows.  Oh, it worked.
Diva cricket was back and wearing bikinis all across the Mediterranean
even taking her top off here and there, so hairless and proud and sexy
and woman and sexy and woman and hairless and proud.

Then my stems and I were back in the states again, where it didn’t work.
Again.  Whatever.

Until a woman taught me to epilate and the pain
was real
but worth it.  No hair and no stubble and it stayed gone
for weeks but when it came back it came
ingrown and I had to pick
at the bumps to get it to break through
and there were angry red bumps
again and sweet merciful fuck all I ever wanted
was a sexy, hairless, thirty four inch inseam
to outshine all the other girls because this
is what we do, right?  Our lot
as women, we change
we alter we torture we fix we improve upon
because we are broken and wrong and naturally
desirable and it’s so so important
that we be desired.


I reassessed.  Decided function was so much more important
than frivolity.  Let it all grow in, everywhere, all of it
for learning, for science, found my armpits
were a huge disappointment.  It grew in short
and sparse and only made me stinkier.  So that came back off.
My downstairs?  I keep a trim welcome mat
because I like having something that differentiates me
from a nine year old but beyond that
it’s hardwood floors baby because when company comes calling
I want to make sure no one ends up flossing, and my legs?
They’re just as Atheist Jesus made me because there is literally
no function served by getting rid of all that and red bumps
can shove off except now,


your commercials have told me that if I have hair on my legs
I am actually an actual man.
In actuality.

That’s right.  The commercial starts with a handsome gentleman
waking up to his lover’s leg being thrown across him and he reaches
to rub hair.
And jumps up.
And shrieks.
And grabs for the covers because his lover is now
a man in a silk nightie apologizing, explaining,
“I just shaved yesterday.”

Bitch I ain’t shaved more years than I have, how much
of a man am I now?  Does this mean I don’t have
to be afraid in parking garages at night
any more, can I get equal pay now, can I wear
what I want to a party and drink
as much as I like and not watch the glass?  Can I cut
in line?  Take up too much space
on the train? Can I interrupt women and explain things to them
that they already know?  Can I get called on more
in class ?  Can I get promoted
more easily and without being asked
who I fucked?  Can I be 49% of the US population but 83%
of its government?  Can I choose not to have children
without being asked why?  Keep my surname without
being interrogated about it?  Get better funding
and sponsorship for sports, be angry and justified rather
than “on my period,” drive carelessly without
having it blamed on my sex, can I fuck as many partners
as I like and be applauded rather than branded?
Can I now be told by Almighty God that I deserve
to be head of my household, that no woman
may try to teach me or even speak when I’m talking?
Hey Veet?  Can I now be the same gender
as Almighty God himself?  Hey Veet --

the man who wakes up in the bed in your commercial?
His chest is hairless, his face is beardless, is that man

now a woman?  Hey Veet, let me offer you
some direct quotes from my male lovers who I began
to ask, after fucking, what they thought
about my legs:
1)      “I didn’t even notice.”  That’s from the man
who actually squatted next to my legs
as he cuffed my ankles to a spreader bar before we spent an evening
exploring boundaries together.  He was probably lying
but that night was amazing.
2)      “I just figured it was part of your whole thing
you got goin’ on.”  That man fucked me four times
in one night.
3)      “When you fuck like that, who cares?”  That’s
my personal favorite.

Which is to say, Veet,
not one of them squealed
or grabbed for the covers
or pulled away after their hands brushed
against my legs; these lanky cricket legs
have been wrapped around more heads
than it took to approve your bullshit
BADvertisement campaign and each face
is left with a smile.  Hey, Veet

your series of commercials checks so many
boxes it may as well have come straight
from the first season of Mad Men, talkin’
misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, racism --
oh yeah, there's an Asian pedicurist, too --

I'm exercising

I'm fucking perfect
just as I've grown.

I ain’t buyin’
yo shit
and no
you cain’t even
have a sample
of mine.

**drops mic, leaves stage**

1 comment:

thoughtworm said...

Hi, found your blog through Taidgh Lynch's site. I like this. It feels like it would work as a punk rock song. But I just watched a documentary on Kathleen Hanna so I have Bikini Kill songs running through my brain.

Best wishes for the rest of NaPoWriMo!