Nevermind underarm hair, what's with the mustache?

Standing in line at the supermarket today I couldn’t help notice that the woman in front of me had a little tuft of hair growing under her chin. It had even gotten long enough to become noticeably curly. It was one of those things you just couldn’t help but stare at, like a road accident.

While this might be uncommon, I wouldn’t exactly say it was rare. I also understand that these things happen- some women have a little face fuzz problem, and some men have a B cup bra size by the time they reach 45.

That woman could have shaved off the little chin fuzz in about 5 seconds during her morning routine, but apparently chose to hang on to it. On the other hand, it looked like she went to great pains to make her legs as smooth as possible. I couldn’t see her arm pits (which was probably for the best anyway) but as conscious as women are about their legs & pits being smooth, how come some don’t seem to mind sporting a moustache?

Um…she doesn’t want to lose her job with the circus?

As a woman, I am “required” by standards of beauty to shave my legs, my armpits, and make sure that any other questionable hairs of taken care of. Why? I’ve seen men with enough body hair to convey the image that they’re wearing a sweater; not to mention overweight men at the beach who feel it is their constitutional right to wear a speedo. Women spend a large amount of time making themselves “presentable” to the public, as time goes by the morning ritual gets a little longer. Give the woman a break! It’s just one more little nuisance that she probably tires greatly of and feels no reason to take care of.

“Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true” -Albert Einstein

C’mon, it’s not THAT big of deal to shave. I personally shave my legs and my armpits because I don’t like how they feel with hair on 'em. Yup, even in the winter when nobody sees my legs. I shave maybe once/week. It takes about 2-3 minutes to do both legs and armpits.

Men, on the other hand, have MUCH more social pressure to shave their face than women do to shave their armpits and legs. A woman can always wear pants and a shirt with sleeves if she’s worried about what people will think if she doesn’t shave for a while. A guy, even one with a beard, looks dirty and unkempt if he doesn’t shave and/or trim beard and mustache. OK, he can get away with the Don Johnson look for a week, but much longer than that makes him look like a mountain man.

My boyfriend takes maybe ten minutes to shave his face or trim his beard & mustache, once a week. That’s 5 times as long as it takes me, and he risks icky facial cuts. I hardly think we can cry about society requiring women to shave their legs given what society requires men to shave. Don’t see discrimination where it doesn’t exist.

Athena- you have shed some interesting light on this subject. It’s true that institutions have seem to have, and enforce, the right to butt into men’s hirsute affairs more than women’s.

I’m fairly amazed at the record time score you gave us for your own personal upkeep, though. You cover five times as much space in one fifth of the time that it takes your boyfriend to shave? Either one of you is has had some seroius training, or the other is ridiculously slow. Maybe a mixture of both. Not to mention how slooooow-growing the hair on both of your bodies must be if you only ‘have’ to shave once per week to maintain that lovely, socially-approved look and feel.

Anyway, it’s all just opinion. I personally consider shaving to be a MONUMENTAL pain in the ass. I did it this spring in order that I could have the opportunity to wear more Spring-like clothing to school without having to risk distracting my students with my ‘Wacky professor’ looks (same reason I don’t dye my hair purple during the academic year.)I’ve given it up now because it is such a pain and, frankly, looking like a pre-pubescent child bothers me. (Just me- what other people choose to do with their bodies is most definitely their own business.)

It really is amazing at times how hung up people can be on this subject. I’ve had people (men) come up to me in clubs or on the street and make comments on the fact that I have underarm hair. This really blows my mind- have these guys never seen themselves naked, or what?

Opus, I wonder if she thinks that if she shaves it, it will grow back heavier? I don’t know if that old saw about shaving hair is right or not. Maybe she had an appointment to get it waxed after she went shopping. I have a girlfrient who has the mustache thing going and she bleaches hers. She said there was just something not right gender-wise about shaving; made her feel like a dude.

Carpe Diem!


I’ve never actually timed myself or him as far as how long it takes to shave, but from what I can tell, it takes him longer. I think it’s because the face is much more sensitive than my shins. I only do from the shin down, above my knees there just isn’t enough to bother. He has to carefully shave up and down sensitive areas like the neck and cheeks - I go up and down my legs in no time at all.

And yes, I probably shave maybe once a week, as does he. Actually, as of a few weeks ago, he now wins the shaving game as he purchased an electric clipper. He goes all over his whole head with the damn thing, hair, beard, the whole nine yards. He then tells me how wonderful and convenient it is to have such short hair. He’s just about got me convinced to do it myself, but whenever I mention it, he hides the razor.

If I considered shaving a monumental pain in the ass, I simply wouldn’t do it. There’s enough alternative-lifestyle type people (read: hippies) in my area that noone really gives a rat’s ass if a woman shaves or not. I don’t wear makeup because I find THAT a monumental hassle. I work in a job that I can wear T-shirts, shorts, and tevas to work because dressing up is a monumental hassle. If I had to do all three (shave, makeup, dress up), I think I’d self-destruct.

Athena- I couldn’t help but take a peak at your profile to see where you live. Colorado- I understand. I love that place.

There’s a lot of alternative-type people (not just hippies) where I live, too, i.e. in the vicinity of the 2nd largest college campus in the US. But it’s difficult for someone like me (23 yr old Female with ‘unusual’ taste) to maintain my authority in front of a classroom full of college students (generally about 50 percent of them are my age or older) if I don’t reign myself in from being as casual as I like. Admittedly, it’s not the most typical situation, but it’s the one that applies to me.

I’m glad to hear that your boyfriend is currently winning the razor wars. Please don’t misinterpret what I’ve said here- I really do detest anyone imposing their asthetic standards upon anyone else, and that includes both ‘Why can’t she just shave that off?’ AND ‘Be a real woman, throw off the chains of oppression and let your underarm hair grow!’

My true feelings on the situation are this: I just wish that the body-hair removal craze were not SOOOO prevalent, so that I would not have to shave myself out of the (well-founded) fear that my unshorn body hair will distract the 20-yr-old frat boys in my class from focusing on the lesson of the day.

A bit off topic, but…

I’m a guy, so I don’t have to bother with shaving below the neck. I just shave my face, because I get kind of scruffy looking if I don’t. Over spring break, I decided to not shave, since I wasn’t really going anywhere. It didn’t grow out very much, so I didn’t look too great. I shaved most off and left a goatee. This was convenient, since shaving was then quicker and didn’t affect the more sensitive parts of my face. But I decided to lose the goatee too, since that didn’t grow out as much as I wanted. Oh well.


“. . .they could as easily have been carrying euphoniums and wearing war paint for all the notice their quarry would have taken of them.”
-Douglas Adams, “Life, the Universe, and Everything”

Maybe she LIKES her little mustache. When I had short hair, I looved it when I’d just had the back of my neck shaved. It was a comfort thing - as maybe her mustache is for her.

I’ve seen enough women (almost always older but some younger) with the facial hair thing going on and I have to admit I think the same thing, “Why don’t you swipe that off?” Ok, so call me oppressive or whatnot if you want to, but it seems like just a bit of basic grooming to do so, like combing your hair. As for the armpit/leg thing, I can’t say I’d find it sexy, but unless I was dating someone with it, it’s not an issue for me what you do with them. Why would it be if I was dating them? Simple - I don’t find it attractive and I prefer to be physically attracted to the person I’m in a relationship with.

“I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn’t.”

I saw a woman today who had a little beard going. She also had a Jewish-style scarf over her hair. That made me wonder: does the Jewish prohibition against trimming your beard apply to women?

Are we overlooking the single biggest advantage to owning lip hair?
–The sheer unbridled joy of being able to say “Free mustache rides, girls!” at opportune moments.