On Saturday, I survived my first birthday on the “other side of the hill”. Namely the “wrong side” of 21. I went out to commiserate. Accordingly, the next morning, I slept through an appointment for a long overdue wax. A stonking middle-aged hangover will do that to you. Groaning, I fumbled around on my bedside table for my phone to rearrange with the beautician. And then I paused. “You know what?” I thought. “Fuck it.”
I’m 22 now. I’ve been struggling against my pubic hair’s birthright to existence, and unconquerable willingness to grow back, ever since a trip to Malia, aged 17. I can’t be bothered with this any longer.
I’m young, I’m single and I love men. Yet, I’ve only slept with one person in the last 11 months. And I only allowed that night to happen because I’d been on a few dates with the guy and knew what was coming next, so I dutifully tended to my overgrown garden in advance.
See, like a lot of girls I know, I don’t do much with my lady wig unless I have to. I hate shaving it all off (redness, spots and ingrown hairs; hideous itching against your underwear when it starts to grow back) and I hate getting it waxed (£15-30 down the drain; awkward conversation about your love life and summer plans whilst your legs are wide open; and of course, the agony).
This means that when single, I have a veritable perm down below. This, in turn, conjures a constant, low-level shame. “Agh, I’m so lazy.” “God, I need to get a wax.” Once, when showering naked with two abnormally well-groomed girlfriends (and what?), they were in fits of laughter for a good five minutes at how bushy I’d let my bush get.
I mean, I should have guessed. It’s a natural sprouting, put there by evolution in the name of hygiene, not to mention an accessory that prevents you from feeling like a nine-year-old girl whilst a big hairy man is riding on top of you. Absurd! Hilarious! There’s nothing funnier!
Anyway, a few weeks ago, I read a list in The Guardian: ‘twenty things to do in your 20s’ by Suzanne Moore. High on her prospective list of priorities was “go to nightclubs, dance, have sex with unsuitable people”. I have done and still do my fair share of the first two, but it dawned upon me that I have never, ever had sex with an unsuitable person. A one-night stand with a stranger? No. A drunken escapade with a best friend? No. A drunken escapade with an ex? Not even.
So on Sunday, nursing my old bones in bed, it suddenly dawned upon me that the two – my evergreen shrub and my lack of spontaneous sexual activity – are inextricably linked. How had I never realised this before?
The reason I never have regrettable but hilarious sex stories starring unexpected characters is because I would never dream of taking a boy back when I have a furry friend. What if he runs off? What if he tells all his friends? What if I become Bush Lady? Equally though, I hate the process of removing said furry friend, so why would I do it regularly if not guaranteed an imminent sexual encounter? It’s a vicious cycle.
So, enough is enough. Newly 22 and newly wise, I now reason that if a subject has trekked all the way from the party, club or bar with the prospect of some steamy lovemaking, a little bit of hair is probably not going to put him off. And in the unlikely event that it does, it will have excused me from having sex from a patriarchal fool who’s got his priorities wrong.
I’m not saying you’re going to see me on the beach with little black wires sticking out of my bikini. I’m also not implying you’re going to have to go down on me with the scratch of curly hairs on your lips. A little tender tidying on the sides and underneath for the comfort of others is perfectly doable.
But as for my main lawn, baby, welcome back.