Photo by Alan Hardman on Unsplash.
Since it is November and moustaches are on many people’s radar, I thought, in the interest of full disclosure, I would admit that I could grow one. Mind you, it would be the moustache of a fourteen-year-old boy, but it would still be noticeable. For that matter, I could possibly pull off a very poor imitation of a goatee as well, if I let it grow for long enough. Ok maybe not, but I do have a number–more than I care to admit to–of stubborn chin hairs.
For women who may be hairier than most, this is something that can be very embarrassing. In addition to hair on my face, half a dozen dark strands, half to three-quarters of an inch long, sprout out of each of my big toes and annoyingly rub against the inside tops of most of my shoes. I have never worn a bikini because I considered the removal of that much coarse dark hair from the upper insides of my thighs on a regular basis to be way too much work. The worst of my hairy details by far was when, in my mid twenties, thick black hairs began to grow in my areola, the area circling my nipples. I quickly learned how to get rid of these, and luckily they did not return after months and months of electrolysis appointments that my employer believed were for allergy shots. I didn’t lie to my boss at the time, I just asked if I could leave early every second Tuesday for a regularly scheduled appointment. “Oh allergy shots,” he said as if we were bonding, “I used to have to get those too.” Who was I to tell him the difference. I would never have thought of any reason as good as that one, and I certainly wasn’t going to tell him that I was getting hair zapped from my boobs on a biweekly basis.
Most women have facial and body hair, so don’t panic if you have a bit of fuzz above your lip. My hair problem, according to a gynecologist that removed large cysts from my fallopian tubes and gave me a seven inch vertical scar on my abdomen and another reason not to wear a bikini when I was only twenty-two, was due to a hormone imbalance. Something he never really elaborated on. In a nutshell, and this is something I learned much later in life, my body produced too much testosterone. All women produce testosterone, which varies during different times of the month and different stages of life. I have no idea how much is too much. This elusive hormone imbalance gave me irregular periods, headaches, ovarian cysts and a host of other hormonal-related issues; so a little too much hair in certain places became the least of my worries. I learned to live with it.
Stress, or specifically too much cortisol, often called the stress hormone, can also cause unusual hair growth in women. Stress is something that I have never managed well, so in theory it provides my moustache with a double infusion of growth incentive. On the plus side, I have one of the thickest heads of hair that my hairdresser has ever seen. This I love and am thankful for because too much testosterone, obviously much more than I ever had, can cause excessive thinning of hair or balding in women.
There are so many hair removal products on the market. I have tried a few. The smelly creams that were like spreading toxic waste on my body and made me gag. I felt like my vanity was destroying the environment. Waxing, something I tried once on my legs but never on my face, was time and labour intensive and failed to impress me. I am much quicker with a razor but refuse to shave anything other than my legs and armpits, because hair returns quicker and thicker when you shave. I don’t pluck for the same reasons. Laser hair removal is expensive. The only time I tried it, my hair returned three days later. Certainly not the best bang for my buck because my bucks are limited. Primping is something I don’t care to spend much money or time on so I stick with electrolysis, my tried and true solution.
Every six weeks I visit Donna, who co-owns with her mom Dee, an esthetic business called Colours in Dartmouth, which is not far from where I live. We have a five-minute electrolysis appointment. Some weeks there is hardly anything for Donna to zap. Others times, especially at the end of the summer because hair grows better in the summer, there can be a bigger and darker crop. Just like there can be more growth if I have had a stressful couple of weeks. This is my normal, so we just keep ahead of it. Never has it taken any longer than the five minutes.
At my age, none of this bothers me anymore. It hasn’t bothered me for a long time. I have no idea what is going to happen when I get too old to actually shave my legs and armpits and can’t get to see Donna to take care of my face. I may end up looking like a distant relative of cousin Itt from The Addams Family or perhaps a hobbit, depending what happens with my feet. Or I may just look like a wrinkly version of a fourteen-year-old boy. My plan is to just wait and see. If I am still writing this blog that far in the future, I promise, if I remember, to post pictures.
In the mean time, since my moustache isn’t currently visible enough to raise awareness for men’s health, perhaps you would like to support a worthy cause that will. (https://ca.movember.com/)
Thanks for reading.