So I didn’t think I’d laugh the first time a man told me he didn’t like something about me. More precisely, I didn’t think I’d laugh the first time a man I was having a romantic relationship with told me he didn’t like the way I looked. Or, to use his words, something about the way I looked was a turn-off.
But at least it was only a turn-off, right? Because God forbid something about the way I looked be a deal breaker.
He is clearly the type of man I want to be with: a man so turned off by something about my appearance that he felt the need to approach me about it. Clearly an all-star.
Our conversation about what turned him off didn’t start with laughs; it started with a text:
“Hey I have a question I’ve been meaning to ask you.”
Followed me panicking:
“Promise you won’t get mad or offended. Actually, it would be more mature of me to tell you in person.”
My panic intensified.
“Ok, we can meet now if you want. Or you can call me.”
“It’s not that urgent. I’ll see you soon.”
I called, and got sent to voicemail. I followed up with a text:
“Okay,” was my feeble response.
Hours of angst followed. Was I about to get dropped by a guy I didn’t even like that much? And why would he dump me, a girl very much out of his league?
I sent screenshots to everyone and convinced myself it wasn’t me. My friends convinced me it wasn’t me.
Three hours later I got a call. But too nervous to answer, I let it go to voicemail.
I waited a reasonable amount of time before sending a text:
“Sorry I missed your call, what’s up?”
“I was returning your call lol”
“From three hours ago? That you sent to voicemail?”
“My phone must be acting up lol”
I took my time, trying to think of something witty to say about malfunctioning phones in response. But then:
“Why don’t you shave? Not trying to be mean or rude, just wondering lol”
Uh, ok. Good thing he said lol, lest I get offended. The “lol” really softened the blow of an annoying, unnecessary, rather invasive question from the boy I’d known and kinda been hooking up with for barely two months.
But I laughed, because every thought I’d had about him being immature and not worth my time was immediately validated. Lol, indeed!
“Was this your pressing question from earlier?”
L-O-L. The sad face!
I got my list of reasons ready. Though unnecessary, I was prepared to justify a personal choice about my body to a man I barely cared about.
“Well, lots of reasons: 1) I wasn’t expecting anyone to take my clothes off, especially after I’d asked them not to 2) Shaving anywhere isn’t really and never really has been a priority in my life 3) Not that it matters, but I find my body hair to be quite beautiful. I’m not going to do anything about it, not even if you want me to.”
“Especially if you want me to,” I thought of adding, though I’d realized I’d answered sufficiently. Probably too thoroughly, as it needed no justification.
And for good measure I added, “Why don’t you shave?”
“I do shave,” he quickly responded. “It’s 2015, lol.”
I wasn’t really sure where he was talking about, but I believed him. Since I’m not an asshole, I didn’t press him on it.
Lol, I thought as I began an essay over text about body hair and choice. And the ignorant little shit knew an essay was coming.
So he called again. And I had to pick up because he knew I was on my phone.
“You interrupted the beginning of my essay on body hair, you ass.”
“I know. I thought damn, she’s taking too long to respond, and I don’t fuck with essays over text.”
I was not about to deliver a speech, though. Not yet, anyway.
“Well, what’s up then?”
“Can you tell me why you don’t shave? I spent the last hour reading articles about approaching your partner about it, and I decided it’d be best just to ask it straight.”
“Did you really? That’s silly. I don’t know what else you want me to say,” I replied, even though I had a million other things to say. “Do you really find body hair that offensive—like is my body hair actually that offensive to you?”
“Well, it’s just one of my turnoffs.”
And my laughs out loud began again. Well, my cackles out loud begin. I thought to myself there is no way I’m having this conversation with a grown ass man.
After collecting myself, I responded, “It’s hair. It’s not some sort of secret that women have body hair. Do you really think I care more about your physical attraction to me than I care about my bodily autonomy?”
He understood I was not submissive and would not begin removing my body hair for his pleasure, but only returned to his pathetic defense.
“I’m just saying it’s one of my turnoffs.”
I didn’t mention that men snaking their hands down my pants—even after being told not to—didn’t quite turn me on.
But my hairy ass is supposed to care about what he wants, right?! It’s my job to turn him on, right?! He must’ve realized he was out of line, right?! He must’ve realized all the misogynistic shit that was at play when he said that, right?!
He added, “But you do you.” As if that was supposed to appease me and make me forget how shitty we was.
“You right, you right. I will.” Pause. “Just know that me doing me means you not doing me, I guess.”
He laughed. “I still think you’re beautiful, and I’m still very content with your body. I think you’re beautiful. Your body is beautiful.”
I cackled. Weak.
Was I supposed to be glad that he thought I was beautiful, despite my hairy arms, legs, armpits, nipples, and the mere glimpses he saw of the hair in my panties? Was I supposed to swoon because a piece of shit was content with my body? Did he think he got a gold star for that? Or maybe he would get the gold star at a future date, where he would tell me I’m beautiful despite my stretch marks and cellulite.
“Byeeeee,” I said, in the most annoyed and annoying voice I could muster. I hoped to piss him off, even if only a fraction of how much he’d pissed me off for wasting my time and agony over the week-old stubble on my body. This hair, not as insignificant as he probably thought, and none of his god damn business anyway.
We said our formal goodbye, where he declared that he rather not continue the conversation in person because he’d be uncomfortable and embarrassed.
“As you should be, asshole,” I replied. “You realize you don’t come home to my body, right? You may come as a visitor, on my terms only. And even if you did come home to me, you have no right to attempt to camouflage your internalized hatred of women’s bodies in their natural state as a preference. Not with me, or anyone else. And do not try to take ownership over that which was never yours and never will be yours. And baby boy, you got me twisted if you think I’m even a little concerned about your physical attraction to me and your turn offs. Thank you for the laughs, and if you want to continue this conversation like an adult in person, I’ll be glad to do so. I’m sure you know I have more to say, but it’s too damn late for this and I’m going to shower and go to bed.”
“Can I join?”
“Nah. Things may get hairy.”
No laughs from him.
“Okay. Good night beautiful.”
No smile from me. No response.