By Kate Piluso
Whenever I shave my legs, I have to be mindful of a very specific spot on my left shin that has developed some kind of strange bone-lump-thing from years of repeatedly getting kicked there during my escapades as an athlete.
Every time I am not careful—or when I think exceedingly deep thoughts in the shower—that specific spot becomes the site of my most gruesomely minor cuts.
If you’re unfamiliar with this type of cut, let me enlighten you—they are tiny, baby cuts that look completely harmless, but they hurt like a solid punch to the boob, sting like hand sanitizer in a paper cut and bleed without stopping as if you’ve been shot.
They’re awful and take ages to heal.
A couple of weeks ago, I was shaving my legs with a brand new razor, fresh from its package. It was Friday, and I was in a hurry to get ready for the weekend.
In my haste, I fucked up and attacked that bone-lump-thing with a vengeance. It was a literal bloodbath that forced me to leave a small, hairy, unshaved skin buffer around my wound.
I shaved my other leg and prayed that my blood would eventually clot, and then I thought:
Well, at least my blood sacrifice to the patriarchy is complete.
I laughed at a joke I made in the shower because it soothed my injured pride and skin to know that I was still funny after fucking up.
However, I want to clarify one major flaw in this joke’s design: I do not shave because of the patriarchal nature of society.
When I was in seventh grade, I started shaving because a girl made fun of my hairy legs.
Her voice led me to believe it was something I was supposed to do because my body was wrong, because I needed to change myself to be desirable, because shaving was something women were inherently supposed to do.
But, as I grew up, I learned that this thought process and those expectations were utter bullshit.
Why am I supposed to be a hairless being, world? I suffered through the trials and tribulations of puberty and came out fighting on the other side. I earned all of this hair on my body, and I will shave it if and when I want to—because this body is my hot, sexy fortress of awesomeness to do with as I please.
Sometimes, I like to take a nice, long shower late at night and shave so that, when I crawl into bed, my legs feel smooth as silk when they slide against my sheets. Sometimes, I get in bed at night after a stressful day and marvel at the wonder that is every single prickly hair that some genetic trait deemed important enough for me to have as a part of my skin.
So, metaphysical patriarchy that controls many aspects of my life, know that if I cut myself while shaving, the blood I lose is not for you.
You are a social construct that does not need blood to survive; I am a human being, and the blood racing through my veins (and sometimes spilt from a small cut on my leg) is pumped by a heart that beats for me and me alone.