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Smooth Operator

How I got over my ridiculous obsession with ridding my entire body of hair

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  • Guy Hurlebaus/Getty Images

    It all started in sixth grade, when Lori Bellflower pointed at my forearm and called me a gorilla.

    I don't remember whether the taunt was loud enough for others to hear or how I responded. All I know is that suddenly the hair on my arms was dark, unruly fur that I needed to get rid of—immediately. After school that day, I got out the electric razor I'd only recently learned how to use on my legs and proceeded to shave my arms from wrist to shoulder. It was an act I'd regret just two days later as the stubble began to surface.

    Until then, I'd never had self-esteem issues. But Lori Bellflower's declaration came at that tender time of puberty when some of the girls in our class began to grow perky, adorable breasts, while I remained flat as a proverbial pancake. The only indication of my maturity was a dark layer of downy fur that I now attribute to my Italian genes. This hair was not just on my arms, but covered my back, my chest (I may not have had breasts, but I sure had nipple hair!), and yes, even my butt.

Smooth Operator
How I got over my ridiculous obsession with ridding my entire body of hair
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