To all the nubile young girls who have not yet gone through menopause: this column is for you.
I've always had decent hair. Growing up it was long and, I think, fairly luxurious. In the red family, although now thanks to Miss Clairol it's most certainly red. I skipped through my teens, my college years, my twenties and thirties and forties flinging my hair around. My concerns then were never more than what's the right shampoo and conditioner? Did I get a good cut? Is it shiny? And so on.
Then the fifties arrived along with menopause. Although the hair on my head is distinctly thinner, it's held up well. Not great, but not awful. I have maybe two or three good hair days a month. The rest of the time it's...well, it's there, not falling out by the handful, not frizzed to the outer reaches, and, as long as I visit the hairdresser on a frequent basis, not gray.
This column isn't about the hair on my head, though. This is about the hair everyplace else. With the decrease of estrogen has come calmer moods, wisdom, and, in horrifying places, hair. I have hair on my chin. There is now hair on my big toe, and today I found a hair on my neck that was an inch long. Added to my beauty equipment in the last few years is the hair removal kit because tweezers can no longer handle the job. In my hair removal kit is wax that you heat up in the microwave, smear on in the necessary places, and tear off, the ideal being that the unwanted hair comes with it and you don't end up with blazing red marks from the scalding wax. Furthermore, the hair I used to have on my eyebrows has moved. Yes, young girls, that's right. You will come to regret all that plucking you're doing to your eyebrows. Sooner or later, the eyebrow hair vanishes, relocating, I'm sorry to tell you, to your upper lip.
Then there's leg hair. This is good news, actually, in that along with the aging process, at least for me, has come a realization that I don't need to shave my legs as much as I used to. This does not count the bikini wax, which I have never experienced. The very idea of a bikini wax is terrifying to me. Then again, since I've never worn a bikini this is a problem that falls far back on my list of things to worry about.
Now we come to a sensitive area, an area I shall call "the petunia" (this phrase comes from my cousin the nurse, who once cared for an elderly woman who referred to her private place as her "petunia"). It's come to my attention that women 30 and under (my friend Gloria tells me it's 40 and under) now shave their petunia. Shave it bald. I feel a bit prehistoric in that my knowledge of this custom has come to me late in life. I'm not sure what this shaving of the petunia is all about, but I have to ask wwhhhhyyyyy? Why would anyone other than porn stars or women about to give birth shave the petunia?? Women ...adult women anyway... are supposed to have hair in certain places. The petunia in my book would be one such place. Forgetting for a minute about the itching and the oddity of resembling an adolescent girl, there's putting a razor someplace that it simply does not belong. And if the reason has something to do with sex, well the truth is I just don't want to know about it. The ladies of The View even mentioned this cultural phenomenon one day recently and, I'm happy to report, agreed with me (well, at least Whoopi and Joy did; Sherri and Elizabeth, both under 40, kept still). I realize this topic is a bit off-color, but I feel a need to bring it up because, quite frankly, I'm aghast.
All this to say, I never knew growing up that hair would become such an issue later on. I considered that my head hair might fall out, but it never dawned on me that I would be thinking about hair everyplace else and that I would be panic-stricken if either my tweezers or my eyebrow pencil vanished for more than an afternoon.
So sit up and take notice, young girls. All this shaving and waxing and plucking you're doing now is only the beginning. When your final drop of estrogen flaps its hand goodbye you'll be entering the hair twilight zone. Hang on, ladies. It's going to be a bumpy ride.