I Trim My Arm Hair

October 9, 2010

I had a lot of body-hair issues when I was a child.

At the age of two, I was diagnosed with a rare kidney disorder called neuphrotic syndrome, and I was prescribed a variety of strange medications for it.  I don’t know exactly what these medications were called (and, frankly, I don’t want to know) but they had some odd side effects, one being that I grew an inordinate amount of hair on my appendages when I was in middle school.  I’m talking a freakish amount of arm and leg hair, okay?  Less than Big Foot but more than, say, Barry Gibb.

I was also a small, sickly child and puberty came late for me, which meant I didn’t have hair on my genitals or under my armpits until most of my peers were shaving.  This caused me to have hair anxiety at a very young age.  To this day, it is one of the physical features my friends make fun of me for the most (that and the fact that I look strangely like Christian Slater when I don’t have a beard), and rightly so.  I’m a freak.  One furry face away from being placed inside a peppermint-striped tent and named the Wolf Boy.

One of my arm hairs actually grew at a much greater rate than the others, and I became somewhat famous when I was twelve for showing it off during lunch.  My normal arm hairs are about an inch and a half long, but this one, I swear to God, was at least four inches long.  If you have access to a ruler, please take a second to measure out exactly how long that is.  Go ahead, we’ll wait for you…

Finished?  Fantastic.

That is a really long arm hair!  I named him Harry.  Yes, I was extremely clever back then.

Everyone in my class was very impressed by Harry when I was in the sixth grade, but he became something of an embarrassment when I entered high school.  I didn’t have a lot going for me back then anyhow, so it’s not like I needed the additional handicap of a freakishly long arm hair to keep the girls from pounding down my bedroom door.  So I put a hit out on Harry.  I had him whacked.

To this day it is one of the greatest regrets in my life, right up there with watching Mulholland Drive twice because I thought I missed something the first time.  If I had Harry around today, I would dye him blue and show him off to everyone.  I would be very proud of Harry.

But when I was sixteen and just starting to sprout peach fuzz on my testicles, I was not so proud of my arm hair.  So I took drastic measures.  Farewell, Harry.  We hardly knew thee.

I trimmed my arms for the first time when I was in college.  I still hadn’t had sex at this point in my life, but I’d finally started growing hair in my armpits, so I thought a girl might at least kiss me.  A girl did.  Her name was Shannon.  We kissed on numerous occasions, in fact.  We also went to movies and attended parties and whatnot, but the only reason I did those things with her was because I wanted more of the kissing.  Aside from that, I didn’t really enjoy her company.  One day in August we went to the public swimming pool for some reason, and she laughed at the strange assemblage of my body hair.  The next day I broke up with her and started trimming my arm hair.  I’ve been doing this ever since.

I would like to stop, but at this point I don’t think it’s a good idea.  Remember that old myth: if you shave your body hair, it will only grow back thicker the next time.  I think there was a Seinfeld episode about it.  Anyhow, that myth has been disproved by numerous scientists over the years, but I don’t believe them.  The reason I don’t believe them is because I once took a trip to Europe.

I once took a trip to Europe and did not pack hair clippers.  I wanted to travel extremely light for some reason, so I put everything in a bag about the size of a tenth grader’s backpack, and that’s what I lived out of for four months.  During that time, I did not trim my arm hairs once, and when I returned to the United States, the police arrested me for being an orangutan.

Okay, okay, that last part isn’t true (it’s not illegal to be an orangutan, duh), but a sexy Australian girl did braid my arm hairs when I was passed out drunk in a Paris hostel.  She thought this was very funny, but I was not amused.  Needless to say, I did not get to see her down under.

That’s why I continue to trim my arm hairs, even though I am now in my mid-thirties and should be less self-conscious about that kind of petty vanity.  Apparently, I am not.

I also have these strange bald patches on the backs of my arms directly above my elbows.  No hair at all.  This is because I spend a ridiculous number of hours writing these narcissistic confessions, and since I don’t have a proper desk, I sit on the couch with my computer on the coffee table in front of me and I lean my elbows on my knees while I’m typing.  I guess I’ve done this for so long that it rubbed the hair right off.  So if you’re ever wondering what being an obsessive, unsuccessful writer for more than a decade feels like, just shave the spots right above both your elbows and you’ll know.  Art is very rewarding!

I don’t ever wear shorts.  I have nice, shapely thighs and a pair of well-formed calves, but it’s difficult to appreciate them through the Amazon Rain Forest below my waist.  When I put on sunscreen, it is particularly gross.  The hairs clump together and they look all slick, like I’ve been rolling around in Crisco.  My leg hair is actually so thick that when mosquitoes attack my body, they are unable to penetrate the canopy.  I know this because I’ll get mosquito bites all over my face and torso, but my legs remain completely untouched.  This is the only advantage to having excessive leg hair, by the way, and it does not make up for the other neuroses it has caused.

Sometimes I wonder if I could sell my leg and arm hair.  It’s very nice hair: long, soft, a pleasant shade of brown.  People with beautiful head hair sell their luxurious manes to wig-makers.  Surely there are people out there who need arm-hair transplants or something.  Or perhaps they could use it for all those balding orangutans that have been arrested over the years.  But until then my bountiful appendage hair will continue to be lost down the drain.  Farewell, Harry.  We hardly knew thee.

(To read another story about Dale’s strange hair obsession, go to the Nonfiction section of this website and click on “Hair: A Confession.”)

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2 Responses to “I Trim My Arm Hair”

  1. annie Says:

    I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

  2. Harry Says:

    If you’re already spending so much time with your hairiness maybe you could try waxing? It thins out the hair and stunts the growth. Just noticed this is 2 years old…


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