Growing up in sunny California, it never occurred to me not to shave my legs in the Winter. When any day could be a viable candidate to slap on a skirt or some shorts, you tend to keep a close shave at all times. It wasn't until I moved to New York and noticed a friend's fuzzy stems in the dead of January that I had a (seemingly obvious) revelation. Why was I spending an extra five minutes razoring off my hair in the shower, just to cover my legs with a pair of woolen leggings or skinny jeans?
"That's right!" you may be saying. "It's tradition created by the patriarchy to shame us for daring to grow body hair!" Well, it's true. Shaving was popularised between 1915 and 1940, when Gillette started marketing razors created for women. We randomly started shaving our bodies because companies wanted our money. But you know what? I'm over it.
I had a fleeting thought that maybe I should keep them silky in case of a chance romantic encounter. "My, my, what would a gentleman think of stubbly legs? I'm not a Neanderthal!" Then I considered my actual life and realised that not only is the situation hilariously unlikely, I just genuinely wouldn't give a sh*t.
So I embarked on my journey: I stopped shaving my legs. Two days passed, then three. What a modern rebellion! I had five extra minutes to do very important things, like not properly dry my hair or painstakingly consider what to watch on Netflix while eating my delivery food. My life would be forever changed . . . until I got into bed.
I sleep in shorts; I get too hot in sweatpants or pyjama pants. Even in the dead of Winter, with my bed right next to a poorly insulated window, I would prefer to toss an extra blanket on the bed than sleep in full pants.
I also love sleep. My pattern is to get into bed early and leave it as late as possible. I require the utmost comfort while attempting to, or waking up from, sleep. And week-old leg stubble is the devil. It's itchy and scratchy, and it does not make for ideal sleeping conditions.
If you think I'm stupid for not just dealing with the mild discomfort until the hair grows out and it's not so itchy, then you obviously don't know the joy of getting into a warm bed with fresh sheets and smooth legs. It's glorious. I feel bad for the majority of men — save for professional swimmers, who require way more bodily maintenance than I could ever imagine — as they will never know the pure loveliness of sleeping with shaved legs.
Not only do you sleep better, I'm convinced you have better dreams. When my legs are silky, I dream of unicorns and rainbows dipping into giant vats of ice cream. When my legs are prickly, I barely dream because I just keep waking up thinking, "Man, I should have shaved my legs today."
While I've since moved back to California, my city of San Francisco is barely warm enough in the Summer to sport bare legs. It's crisp, cool, and windy in July — let alone in the Winter months. And yet, I still shave my legs every time I step into my evening shower, just for the simple pleasure of getting into bed afterwards. I can appreciate that some women chose to put aside their razor for a variety of reasons. I'm just not one of them.