After many years of keeping her various natural hairy bits in check, a stint in hospital made Victoria King rethink her battle with Mother Nature.
Illustration by Louise Boulter
Wookiee: Shaggy hairy character from Star Wars
Lady Garden: Polite term for female pubic area
Like a lot of women, I perform my daily rituals on auto-pilot and, looking back, must have spent a fortune on toiletries and grooming products.
My fixation with hair removal began when I took up my first razor at the age of 14. My dad warned me I was “messing with nature”, but I took my mother’s advice: “If you get run over by a bus, make sure you’re presentable and your underwear is clean.”
Since then, I’ve prided myself that any fireman or paramedic who rescued me from an inferno, or from under a bus, would not be horrified. Recently though, I’ve begun to question my obsession.
Perhaps I should give you the background. Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals and a lot of time recovering.
After surgery, a bed-bath, a flannel, even a wet-wipe is an ordeal. Then, as I begin to find my strength, and that old hospital smell starts to get to me, I reach for my washbag.
Recently, I had to go under the knife again. Before my operation, I was trimmed and buffed. I also made sure I was fuzz-free where necessary. (This preparation was my idea, not the request of the hospital.)
Two days after my surgery, I awoke to the reality that Mother Nature never sleeps. My lady garden had become a jungle. My moustache was better than any walrus. And my armpits were straight from Gorillas in the Mist.
Who knew unwanted hair could grow so quickly? I’d sprouted tufts in all of the usual places – and in some unlikely places too. I had turned Wookiee!
Was this Mother Nature’s revenge? After all, my father had warned me not to mess with Her… All my efforts at ladylike topiary had disappeared beneath a thicket of Japanese knotweed.
I felt mortified. Defeated. What would the doctors and nurses think?
Then I considered that perhaps Mother Nature was only trying to teach me a lesson about what really mattered. Though I’m the last one to say how any man, or woman, should deal with what they perceive as unwanted hair, it’s possible that, up until that moment, I’d been a victim of modern notions of perfection.
I can tell you what is more important: being able to stand without a helping hand, and being able to walk to the end of my hospital ward to wave my visitors goodbye.
Recovery is everything to me. All I want is to show my nearest and dearest how well I am doing.
What I’m trying to say is, life is all about balance. For me, that means getting my priorities straight. Do I need to persist with waxing, electrolysis and laser hair removal? I’ve tried them all. The results aren’t long term and I could have bought a small house for the money I’ve spent, doing battle with Mother Nature.
Now, I’m turning over a new leaf.
I am not entering my lady garden for Britain in Bloom and I don’t want it designed by Capability Brown. I just want neat borders that won’t threaten next door’s allotment.
After all, it’s not life and death, it’s only hair.
Victoria is working on her first book. She is also a flag-waving survivor of Crohn’s Disease. And she loves a Mr Whippy.