Monday, September 14, 2009

Shaving My Legs for Dan Brown

When I was growing up, shaving your legs was a political act. Shaving was one of the things we were liberating ourselves from. If we shaved our legs, we were on the side of the Establishment. Our consciousness was not raised. We had bought in.

Of course, I was picking up all this sloganeering from my older sisters, and was torn, so terribly torn. I wanted to shave my legs. Desperately. I remember convincing myself that I had super-hairy legs and that I couldn't be grown up until I had permission to savage them with a sharp object. This was back when we had parents who monitored these kinds of things.

A sweet little pink ladies' razor won out over politics: a harbinger of my later life. (My sister's the labor union president; my brother is the policy wonk.) I loved that little razor so much. I got it as a present for my 12th birthday. And I must have shaved my legs at least eight times before I realized what a sap I was for buying into this particular aspect of personal grooming. Shaving your legs wasn't political for me. It was just hard work (those cuts!) and relentless (it grew back!) and time consuming (I could have been reading Little Women!).

This morning, I forgot to shave my legs in the shower. I usually don't -- turns out I don't have such hairy legs and I have pretty much reduced shaving to Memorial Day and 4th of July. But tonight I was headed to the publication party for Dan Brown's new book, The Lost Symbol, which is represented by our agency. I thought that shaving my legs was the least I could do. That's when the little pink razor came back to me.

The party was elegant; the cake was fanciful (a replica of the Capitol); the speeches were polished; and nobody noticed what shape my legs were in, except me. We all got a copy of the book, signed, and I was home in time to start reading. Tonight, my politics will take the form of chasing around D.C. with Robert Langdon. Tomorrow, I'll air-kiss the razor goodbye till next summer.

And at some point, I'll tell you where I stand on lipstick.

14 comments:

Sandra said...

Your post brings back such bittersweet memories of how I fought with my mama over shaving my (I kid you not) hairy legs. Mama would always say "don't be in such a hurry, don't try to grow up so fast; once you start, you're a prisoner to it; the hair grows back thicker and hairy-er." Looking back now, Mama's argument applies to more than just shaving legs: once you fall in love, once you have a child, once you allow said child to move your mark in the sand, once you go to bed angry with your mate, etc,... you're a prisoner to it all and it does all grow back thicker and hairy-er.

Rick Daley said...

I've never shaved my legs, but I do shave my entire head 2-3 times per week. I was losing my hair anyway and I decided to take the upper hand against nature. Totally different dilemma than you faced, though.

I plan to hit the bookstore at lunch today and pick up my copy of THE LOST SYMBOL. I've been waiting for this to come out for a long time. If all goes well I'll make the booksellers happy and pick up something else while I am there.

Congrats to the agency for the largest initial print run in history!

Marybeth Poppins said...

I got ahold of my sisters razor when I was 8....I'm surprised I didn't end up with stitches!

And how cool is that! My husband is insanely ready to have that book in his hands! And a autographed copy...must admit, slightly jealous :)

polycotte said...

I didn't have a dilemma about shaving (hairy legs run -- ha ha -- in the family) until I spent a year at university in England, when I was twenty. I shouldn't have cared, but I did. In England, I surmised, proper girls with "class" didn't shave. Janice from Birming'am shaved; Fiona of the impoverished home-counties gentry didn't. She didn't need to, that was the thing -- just fair, baby-fine hair graced her limbs. Poor Janice and me the American were bred for the razor. At that time (Thatcher/Reagan) I wanted desperately not to be American, so I stopped shaving. And stopped wearing shorts or skirts and took on a punt-load of shame. A score or more years later, I find I'm quite American, with Venus accessorizing my tub. But damn those nicks!

Glad to have you back --

Lauren

Sarah Anne Sumpolec said...

I think I'm more jealous of the getting dressed up and going out part. I mean, it's cool you got the autographed book and fancy cake...but going out? At night? That sounds heavenly. (Sadly, multiple children makes it easier and cheaper to just stay in).

I wonder if Dan Brown appreciated your generous shaving gesture...

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Thanks for the laugh - and the memories. Looking forward to Dan's comments on here...

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Ya know,
If I ever become a Big Well Known Author, and had a party like this... Jack Daniels and I would gently caress every woman's leg swooning while whispering how much we appreciate their depilatory observance on our behalf!

Be a funner party -- fer sure!

(men are such pigs)!

Haste yee back ;-)

Brenda Bowen said...

Haste ye back: Please remember to invite me to your party. Sandra, Marybeth, Polycotte: Isn't it amazing what a complicated issue shaving actually is? (That goes for Rick, too.) And dear Sarah Anne: One day, your children will get old and be OUT all night. And then you too will dress up and go to parties galore.

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Why Miss Brenda,

You are most cordially invited to Haste yee back’s ;-) exalted authorial cotillion. Upon the hour of your request, I will inform my man-servant, Glen Livett, to dispatch my personal coach lead by two alabaster-white Arabian steeds to your abode. I have but one simple request. Your dance card will no doubt fill quickly. I pray thee, save a Waltz for yours truly, so that my night shall be complete. Jack Daniels will greet you, and, should you please, escort you about the grounds.

Waiting patiently,
Haste yee back ;-)

brattcat said...

If no one noticed those gorgeous legs of yours at Dan's party, shame on them. Shaven or unshaven, they are the sort of legs that deserve attention. So what did you wear?

lizzy_lyn said...

Do you remember those Epilady rip-the-leg-hair-out-by-the-roots devices popular in the late 80's? Owiee-zowiee!

storyqueen said...

The title of your post is a crack up! I would brush my teeth for Dan Brown, but if it was an "off" day for shaving....well, I'm just not sure if I'd make the effort.

I'd probably just wear pants.

Sandra said...

Such a great blog title! I had the same conflict - not for Dan Brown, but the shaving leg thing in general. So much bother. Why couldn't a woman be beautiful AND have hairy legs? Truth was, I didn't think they were very beautiful hairy either. And then discovered waxing. No more nicks, no more bristly legs... no daily shaves. Bliss. My present and ongoing battle, however, is with my armpits. I will not shave nor wax. I trim them short and hope for the best.

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Ladies... Help!

How do I wax my back? (without pain... Or, should I leave it 'cause winter's coming)?

Haste yee back ;-)