Monday, June 07, 2010

To shave...or not to shave?

So, as third year rotations rapidly approach, I have decided I'm going to take the leap and...gulp...shave my legs, and possibly my underarms as well (because I am much less likely to wear outfits that showcase my pits than my gams. Rowr.) I haven't shaved since I was fifteen--a full decade--and while once upon a time it was fine (both the hair and the grooming practice), it's become less so. As a teenager, and even in college, I'd occasionally have people tell me they thought it really brave, or rad, or some such adjective, that I wasn't giving in to the patriarchy, and we'd have a dialogue about my reasoning. That doesn't happen so much anymore--maybe because I have fewer hippie friends and acquaintances. Medical schools, like medical professionals, are not overly noted for their liberal leanings.

So why am I doing this? Primarily because I don't want to get marked down by an intern or disgust an attending. There. I said it. Also because a friend intimated that shaving might up my chances for getting laid. And because I pluck my eyebrows, which makes me feel a little hypocritical.

What were/are my reasons for not shaving? Well, there IS the laziness factor--I'm not going to lie. Also, it pisses me off that everyone acts like women's body hair--which grows there naturally, and will stay there unless you actively remove it--has an ick factor higher than 'Alien vs. Predator' and open heart surgery combined. Julia Roberts has a little fuzz under her arms? OMG, EWW to the max! Whereas I feel guys can, essentially, look like bears--and it's all ok. Granted, I know arguing that it's 'natural' not to shave can be struck down reductio ad absurdum--that is, by pointing out that in our natural state human beings don't wear clothes, don't shave anything and smell like a combo of donkey, Cheetos and feet. C'est vrai.

However, it seems like a slippery slope to me...perhaps because in the last 25 years the body has become the site of such anxiety, and has become such a domain to be mastered, that I wonder where this will all end (yes, I realize I sound like I'm 75 years old). It's practically de rigeur to shave underarms and legs. After that, in order of necessity, would probably come bikini waxing or shaving (do you realize it was only 10 years ago that the J Sisters Salon in NYC started performing the now-infamous Brazilian wax? O sisters, what have you wrought!?), and it's become less and less common to get just a 'little off the sides'--ie, so that it doesn't look like you bought a swimsuit with fur trim. Now EVERYTHING comes off. And then there are eyebrow waxings, upper lip waxings...when can we stop preening and pruning ourselves?

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