I went on a hike last weekend with a few friends as well as a newcomer or two. We headed into Butano State Park, on the coast, about 45 minutes below San Francisco. It’s a nice little place, with a mix of some redwoods and meadows, as well as hills and ridges. The first part of the trail was uphill, and as we neared the upper part of the ridge, it had gotten a little hotter. So a few of us moved to shorts. As we resumed the hike, one lady was in front of me, and as I glanced down to watch where I was going, I saw the legs. And the hair.
My first reaction, was sort of a double take. Did I see right? It got me thinking, in between dodging the poison oak vines and the occasional branch waiting to whack me in the face. I normally associate hairy legs with men and clean shaven legs with women, because “that’s how it’s always been”. Seeing this aberration, part of me had to keep reminding my brain that “this is a woman, this is a woman”. Another part was thinking, “Why doesn’t she shave?” Yet another was thinking, “Is the problem not with her, but with you expecting shaved legs?”
I think if someone asked me, I would always say, “yes, I prefer shaved legs on a woman”. They do (at least in my mind), look nicer, cleaner, and sexier. However, as I walked along, I started to think of what I would do as a woman. Or even as a man if the standard was shaved legs for men too. I have to admit that the first thing that popped into my mind was, “No way I’d shave my legs….waste all that time…. go through all that headache and mess of razors and shaving cream or other machine…..FORGET IT. If people don’t like it, the heck with them.”
So now, with full acknowledgement of her decision being truly understandable, I then started to wonder if I’d be okay with Mrs. Dolphin going the no shave route. (In my case, the Mrs has already stated she is not about to sport hair on her legs, so this thought exercise is a bit theoretical). I’m not sure, as it felt like something I’d have to get used to. Probably no different that getting used to women with nose or body piercing, colored hair, different facial or body features, accents, or cultures. I think that after awhile it would be less of an issue, as I’d most likely be focused on the person, not the package. Which makes me wonder if society as a whole would get used to hair on lady’s legs if all the sudden everyone did it. I’m sure there’d be an uproar initially, and some people would accept it quicker than others, but would things change enough so that in a generation or two it would be no big deal? It’s an interesting question.