“A long story of why I currently have one hairy leg”
From the age of 12 or 13 to the age of 17 or 18, I wasted a lot of energy in concern over body hair, on my legs and armpits. There are hours of my teenage life, gone forever, spent experimenting with a range of more or less inefficient methods of removal, and far more hours warped by my concern over this incredibly trivial matter. The standard distaste for my body that is somehow normal for teenage girls focussed itself on this particular issue.
When discussing sex and gender with my step mother, I tend to try and tread pretty carefully. My brothers, Jack 3 and Edward nearly 1, always get drafted in as the main examples during these debates which become increasingly more heated, not to mention absurd, as they progress. “Your brothers just like tractors, they have since day one” is a line that comes up often, not to mention the inevitable “they just don’t concentrate like you did as a baby, too much energy, they are boys after all!” In between these assertions I try to bring in the possibility that, perhaps, the boy’s seemingly innate love of combustion engines and beating each other senseless may have come from the specially shaped world of World War II Spitfire annuals and rough and tumble that they have been exposed to since birth. At this I get shot down. I am assured that when I have children of my own I will understand that it is nature, not nurture, when it comes to the difference between boys and girls. Continue reading
It’s about twenty to four on a Sunday afternoon. Having spent an hour in Boots frantically but unsuccessfully searching for what I need, I am now in my local pharmacy. This pharmacy stocks literally every product under the sun and is open seven days a week till ten p.m. Do you have a minor skin ailment on the underside of your left knee-cap at certain times during the month? This pharmacy has a multitude of creams and lotions for it. Do you find that your child resolutely only speaks German whenever your second cousin comes round? The person behind the counter will prescribe you something, trust me. I’m taking my time, sidling around the shop, looking extremely casually through every shelf. Then I find what I’m looking for. The contraception section has, very cunningly, or so I think, been shelved next to the oral hygiene section. ‘Aha!’ I say to myself (silently)’. Someone here has a warped sense of humour, and has slid the dental dams in next to the condoms, but on the oral shelf. Brilliant.