The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Mark My Words: To Bear No Hair

If you watch American television commercials, you’ll find there are three things we care about: fast food that could kill you, pills that could save you, and shaving, which only serves to make you divine and alluring. It’s art covered in cream.

In the male commercials, shaving makes you, quite simply, a man. For a man, owning a shaver is a big deal. The ads make it seem like owning a razor is much like owning a gun or a sports car— the more power the better. Two blades is better than one, three blades is better than two, and you’re a real animal if you just use a machete, like me.

Now in the case of a woman, shaving does not make you a woman but, instead, a sexy beast. If you watched television, you would know that women shave in a bikini on the beach with a gentle breeze blowing their luscious locks behind their back.

Men: tough and rugged. Women: smooth and sexy. I thought I could never have it all, until I tried.

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I would never have considered shaving my leg hair, but because I would never do it, I had to do it anyway. So one nervous, itchy week of sophomore year, I wet my legs, lathered up, and bid farewell to my manly dignity. I was now a goddess and I began to sing myself a motivational speech in a harsh falsetto, making clear that I was my “Venus™,” my “fire,” and my “desire.”

However, by the time school came that Monday, my confidence had evaporated with the steam in my bathtub. I could not bear to reveal my soft, beautiful legs. I was a man, and men were not goddesses. Men did not shave their legs. Men were tough, they liked their burgers raw, and their legs were certainly not smooth.

I thought my secret could stay safe forever, and maybe it would have, but later that week, my English teacher had a game of show-and-tell, and I had forgotten to bring anything to show. So I showed the only thing I could: I exposed myself.

“On Sunday,” I said, as I lifted up my right pant leg to reveal my now slightly bristly right leg, “I shaved my legs.”

The class giggled, and as they did, I thought of something better to say:

“Hey class, you know why you think that what you do and how you look is masculine or feminine? Because the man tells you so. I shouldn’t have to feel ashamed to have silky smooth legs. I shouldn’t have to be courageous to show you guys that my legs bear no hair. I should be free to express my manliness however I so choose—perhaps by wearing a wig or some eyeliner. The point is people are people, man or woman or somewhere in between — leg hair or no leg hair, big razor or little razor, rugged or smooth. So I admit it. I shaved my legs, but I’m still a man…right? …Right?”

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