beauty

"You might judge me for the reason I shaved my beloved underarm hair, but let me explain."

I grew out my armpit hair. (Source: iStock.)

I never thought I’d say this, but I was inspired by Miley Cyrus. I don’t listen to her music (I’m more of a Coldplay person), but the sight of her hairy, dyed pink armpit hair made me stop shaving my underarms for several months.

When I first saw photos of her pit hair on Instagram, it really made me think about why I shave under there in the first place.

I’d been raised to believe that hair anywhere apart from on my head should be removed with a good wax. My mum, who is my best friend and inspiration for everything, waxes everything religiously. So I’ve copied her.

This means that I have been shaving under my arms every single day… since I was 12.

Related: My waxer told me I need to exfoliate my lady parts. Is this necessary?  

The day after seeing Miley’s hairy pits I reached for my razor in the shower and asked myself: “Why do I shave under my arms?” I couldn’t think of an answer.

I don’t think armpit hair is disgusting, or dirty, or anything bad. It’s just… there.

The photo of Miley that inspired me. (Source: Instagram.)

So I stopped.

I let the hairs grow back. After a few months I had nice, bushy brown armpit hair under there. I felt really free.

I didn’t want to be that woman any more. I was still a regular bikini wax, but only because I like my downstairs that way.

Related:  We tried Milky Foot, the popular foot peeling treatment.  

I’ve always been a feminist but had never thought about using my body hair to make a feminist statement. As my armpit hair grew I did more reading on the subject and realised I was removing my hairs to conform to society’s ideals of what a woman should look like.

My boyfriend didn’t notice my new armpit hairs at first. I wore jumpers at home a lot of the time. And we have sex in the dark (too much information? Sorry).

But on the weekend it felt like spring and the sun shining so we went to the beach. I was lying on a towel in a bikini and had my arms above my head. My boyfriend leaned in to kiss me and then stopped and just hovered there. He didn’t say anything for awhile. It was weird.

“Babe… your armpits are hairy!”

I sat up straight away. I took off my sunglasses and glared at him. He normally loves a good PDA. (Post continues after gallery.)

“Are you crazy?” I asked him. I was fuming.

“I’m sorry, I just don't love armpit hair that's all.”

I got in his face and whispered meanly, “My armpit hair is not disgusting. You are disgusting!”

Then I stormed off and had a swim in the water, I was so angry.

Related:  Madison Missina explains why women in the sex industry opt for long hair… and no pubes.  

I forgot about his comment until later that night. We’d been out to dinner with some mates and drunk a bottle of red wine or three. We fell on the couch and were about to get it on. We were both naked. Then in the lamp light of our living room he saw my armpit hairs again.

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“Oh, I forgot about your armpit hair...”

Needless to say, I stormed off again with him calling apologetically after me.

Guess who slept on the couch that night and the rest of the week.

Jemima Kirke attracted attention at the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards for her underarms. Image via Getty.

I did a lot of thinking about his reaction to my underarm hair, and his admission that he didn't love it.

And I hate to say it but the more I thought and talked about it, the more convinced I became that my underarm hair was something I'd be happy to sacrifice if it was a big issue for him.

Why? I remembered a time that my boyfriend grew out his beard. He said he loved it. It was freeing for him. He felt like a new man. But I hated it. Loathed it.

He kept it for awhile, but I displayed a lot of disdain towards his straggly beard. Eventually, at my insistence, he promised to get rid of it. I see my underarm hair situation as being similar.

Related:  “I was totally nude, and floating in a pitch-black tank filled with warm salt water…and I’d never felt better.”  

It wasn’t because he had convinced me that my underarm hair was disgusting or wrong. It was just something that I was happy to compromise on, just in the way he'd done with his beard. I liked my underarm hair, but I love him more.

I'm still a fan of armpit hair (I think women should do whatever they want with their bodies), but as long as I’m with my boyfriend, I don't think I'll grow it again. And he's promised never to let his beard return.

Related:  “I’m a Brazilian waxer and women ask me this question every single day.”  

Does your partner tell you want to do with your body hair? Do you grow your armpit hair?