One morning when I was around eight years-old I watched my mom get ready for her day. She was standing in front of her bathroom mirror applying makeup and doing her hair in her underwear. Thick, dark hair spilled out the perimeter of her panties. I said to her in disgust, "I'm never going to have hair there!" She told me I would. Later, in fourth grade, I exchanged a note with a boy in my class. I proclaimed, spelling the best I could phonetically, "I have a pretty vergina with no hair!" (I remember this distinctly because our teacher discovered our note-passing and sent us to the principal's office.) Having seen my mother's natural state so early on, I'm not sure why I was always opposed to pubic hair. It probably had something to do with the media I was consuming.
I have an early memory of seeing a bronzed, scantily clad Paris Hilton. Whatever bottoms she was wearing were impossibly low cut. So low that I thought her vulva might slip out at any moment. Where is her vagina?, I wondered. I was attracted to her seemingly tiny, taut vag, wherever it was. Her torso seemed endless. It was smooth, supple, tan. It blew me away. It wasn’t just the heiress though. I also remember a Wendy Williams interview where Kimora Lee Simmons professed she believed “women should be smooth all over except for their heads”. To me it seemed the alternative to a hairless snatch was an unfuckable, untouchable, unlovable chocha.
“Women should be smooth all over.”
One of the first times I put a razor to my crotch I was a freshman in high school. I was beginning to have sex regularly and assumed my older boyfriend fully expected me to be bare. I naively stroked every which way, irritating my virgin skin, creating a mine of razor bumps and redness. This would become a pattern over the next several years with me growing only a little more skilled as I got older. Eventually I incorporated Nair and the occasional wax into my grooming routine and avoided as many razor mishaps, but I’m still left with reminders of those primitive years.
I used to be so preoccupied with my pubic hair that I wouldn't give up the pussy if I hadn't shaved beforehand. One day my boyfriend asked why I was holding out. I shyly explained that I hadn't manicured my mop. He laughed and told me he liked it in any color, shape, or form. "Topsy turvy, upside down, inside out...," he went on. I was relieved. Then we got it on in the backseat of his Nissan Sentra, parked in the lot of the field where I used to cheerlead for pop warner.
I got less fussy over my fuzz as I matured into my womanhood despite the ever-prevalent stigma of body hair. Rap lyrics like TI’s, “You won’t get no dick if there’s a bush down there. Girl, I should see nothing but pussy when I look down there,” and Lil Wayne’s “I only go down if you keep your grass cut” weren’t encouraging. When I started stripping at age 22 I went back to my old ways, thinking it was crucial for me to be hairless in order to make money. I’ve found that to be mostly true but lately I've reverted to an au-natural, low-maintenance lifestyle below the belt and it feels great.
I've realized that what makes a person sexually attracted to me is not necessarily the aesthetic of my genitals, but rather the way I carry and present myself. I've made just as much money [working at a go-go bar versus a traditional strip club] and had just as much sex with pubic hair as I have without it. In fact, my new aesthetic has made me more desirable to some people--not that that's what's important here.
No longer concerned what my male counterparts think, I feel a small weight off my shoulders (or should I say ‘vagina’?). Growing out my pubes has given me new confidence. It cuts down my shower time, makes me less vulnerable to STDs, and reminds me I'm a grown-ass woman. It's also nice to have a growing community of body-positive, non-conforming women on the internet who support the movement. I don't know how long this phase will last, but when I do decide to change it up it’ll be with the security of knowing I’m desirable either way.