Oberlin Blogs

No-shave October?

November 7, 2010

Chinwe Okona ’13

I'm sure many of you are familiar with 'No-shave November.' If not, the basic idea is that for the entire month of November, men exercise their manhood by refusing to shave and growing out their beards to the ultimate level of grizzly (Google No-shave November, you'll get some interesting sites). Although the original intent of the month was specifically for men and their beards, I see no reason why women cannot also partake in the festivities (because anything men can do, women can also do, and probably do better), especially in the 21st century. That's just what I think.

Upon coming to Oberlin, I noticed that the female population was much more 'radical' here than anywhere I've ever lived. Never in my life have I seen such a large number of girls who don't abide by the American mentality that women must be hairless. Perhaps that's because here at Oberlin, we've been educated and realize that's genetically and evolutionarily impossible. Maybe apathy towards body hair is a common admissions requirement. Who knows. Whatever the cause may be, it's a sentiment I've come to admire.

However, admiration does not equal emulation. I'm a person very set in my ways. Very, very set in my ways. As much as it pains me to shave my legs, I know myself well enough to be sure that as much as I would love to have one less thing to worry about, I would not be able to be within three feet of anyone without wondering if they were examining my leg hair.

As stubborn as I can be, I firmly believe college is about going out of your comfort zone and trying new things. So, one day at the beginning of October (after nicking myself multiple times quite badly while shaving) I decided that October was going to be my test. I was going to stop shaving completely for the rest of October, with the intent of at least making it through 'No-shave November.'

I definitely received a lot of mixed opinions. Volleyball was still in season at this point; and, because volleyball uniforms show quite a bit of leg, a few of my teammates were disgusted at how I was allowing myself to become a baby Sasquatch. However, as opinionated as people decided to be, they were nothing but supportive of my decision because I was making it for me. Sometimes being in Oberlin is like taking a breath of fresh air. Although there are only about 3,000 of us, we Obies are a motley group. And as much as one of us differs from the next, the judgment passed is very minimum.

I did not make it through November. In fact, I didn't even make it through the entire month of October. On October 27th, I was wearing a pair of sweatpants with zippers on the sides at the bottom. Absent-mindedly playing with the zippers, I managed to catch a good-sized section of leg hair with the zipper. That was all the convincing I needed that it was time to shave. Twenty minutes later, my legs were baby-bottom smooth and my little experiment was over.

What I've learned...well, I'll definitely always be a girl who shaves her legs. Always.

Responses to this Entry

I have so much respect for you even to have made it that far! I noticed the same trend and I really do admire the women who can go without shaving but it's not something I'm personally comfortable with, even if I whine about the whole hairless women ideal. Good on you for leaping out of your comfort zone!

Posted by: Ruby on November 7, 2010 6:28 PM

Did you notice that athletics is participating in "Movember" (mustache November, in case you missed that portmanteau)... essentially, No-Shave November in support of men's health.

You were obviously before your time :)

Posted by: Ma'ayan on November 8, 2010 10:25 AM

Participating in No Shave-November (back in 2006) is what first made me ditch the blade; I haven't shaved my legs or my armpits since.

I think what's most important is that everyone finds a shaving/not shaving solution that feels comfortable for them. More power to you for trying something new! The hair, especially on legs, is a lot less noticeable to anyone other than you - a hard thing to get past, but totally true!

-second year obiegal

Posted by: rachel on November 9, 2010 1:04 AM

Great post! Guess I am really old school but there are some parts on a woman's body that should be free of hair, if possible. Yes, shaving is a pain (literally et al) but I prefer that to the alternative. I know for a fact that I look much better without chin hairs. Good for you for trying it out; nothing like first-hand experience so you can come to your own conclusion (and live to blog about it). Is not that what college is all about?

Posted by: Marsha on November 9, 2010 4:37 PM

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