I find armpit hair incredibly sexy. I have always adored the way it frames and accents the shoulders and arms of someone I’m fucking – the sight of a hot dude lounging topless or naked, arms folded behind his head and armpit hair adding a touch of colour to draw attention to the curve of where his chest meets his shoulders makes me shudder and want to bury my face in him. But armpit hair is sexy on me too, not just for how it looks but how it makes me feel.
At the start of lockdown, I stopped shaving my body hair. For no reason other than that I couldn’t really be bothered. Pre-lockdown I’d occasionally do a big ‘get rid of all body hair’ mission: use Veet for the PCOS places, then run myself a bath, get the razors out, and go to town on the overgrown forest of my legs and armpits. When the bath was done, I’d have to crack out the shower head and battle all the tiny hairs that sat in a ring around the edge, marveling at just how much foliage my mortal body could produce in a mere two weeks.
But at the start of lockdown I stopped shaving altogether. And although I swiftly became annoyed with – and bored by – my legs, for a good long time I loved my hairy armpits. When I stood in front of a mirror topless, with my arms folded neatly behind my head, what I saw in the reflection was the same sexy line from chest to shoulder, accented by a touch of colour. The thing I’d admired in boys I fucked had suddenly become sexy on me.
It was hot. I liked it. I found myself staring into mirrors way more than usual – running a hand through my hair to show off a flash of armpit, or stand with hands-on-hips to let it free.
Armpit hair is sexy and also not painful
It wasn’t just the look that made me happy, though. Unshaved, my armpits did something that felt miraculous to me: they stopped hurting. When you shave your armpits on a regular basis, and wear a bra every day, the stubble sometimes rubs and itches till it drives you halfway up the wall. For some people, this itching will be mild or no big deal – people with softer, blonder hair maybe, or just magic skin that’s resilient to this sort of discomfort. For me, though? My coarse hairs itch like fuck, and they sometimes turn to ingrown ones, which leave painful lumps just where the edges of my bra dig into the skin.
If you don’t shave your armpits and you need an example for comparison, my best mate gave me a fabulous one: he’s recently started wearing a cycle helmet (for which, incidentally, I give him kudos every time I see it – he is precious and I have extracted firm promises that he will do his best to never die) and the strap sits on his chin, just where his freshest stubble is. He immediately understood the ‘armpit/bra’ thing and showed me where the chin strap rubs his face.
“Fair play, mate,” he told me, rubbing his chin. “It is the itchiest thing in the world.”
So I stopped shaving my armpits. And as well as discovering that armpit hair is sexy on me, I also realised that I’d wandered through the world for most of my adult life with a baseline level of pain and discomfort zinging regularly from my pits to the center of my brain. Distracting me. Annoying me. Making me feel grumpy and unsexy and uncomfortable. Then one day I understood I could simply stop: that this boring, painful battle wasn’t one I needed to fight.
Life is better without pain
There are some battles you really don’t need to fight, you know. A couple of years prior to this armpit revelation, I realised I’d spent nearly 15 years unable to sleep on my right-hand side. I had a cartilage piercing in my right ear which gave me hassle if I put pressure on it. I loved that piercing when I was young – combined with my others it made me feel kickass and punk. My Mum disapproved of it (win!), it flashed delightfully when I tucked my hair behind my ear (double-win!) and a few times I’d had hot boys tell me it was sexy (the literal dream!). But it hurt me and it made it hard to sleep in a way that was comfortable. For almost fifteen years. One day, at my partner’s prompting (for which I remain incredibly grateful), I resigned myself to simply taking it out.
Voila! No pain.
There are some things in life that we accept because we’re so used to them we don’t realise we’re allowed to simply stop. Certain pains that become so entwined in our lives that they feel like they’re now a part of us. Physical pains like ingrown hairs or emotional pains like a fear of someone’s disapproval or the weight of responsibility to make someone else happy. We get so used to living with these pains that they become a part of our lives – so wrapped up in who we are that we forget we have the option to simply stop.
But there’s power in realising you don’t have to live with certain pain. There’s a joy – and relief – in recognising which problems in life are ones you must tackle, and which you can leave by the wayside. Life is hard, and it comes with a great deal of pain. But not all pain is necessary, and it’s not always your job to grin and bear it.