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The Hairy Truth

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I was born blonde and remained that way throughout my toddler years, before the shadow of age bought with it a darkening to my roots and there I stayed, in the mousy middle ground, lamenting the loss of my golden locks and wishing my hair was something more distinct, think Siouxsie Sioux or Elvis. This was until I discovered peroxide and hey presto! I was back to my natural colour (yes, this is how I justify it!).

I like many other fair children, was afflicted with a smattering of 'down' on my legs, upper lip etc., you get the idea and this is state in which my hair growth would have remained for a few years, were it not for Maria Papadopoulos' older sister. One Friday night, she handed me a Bic razor and told me to get to work if I had any hope of pulling at the youth club disco - I was thirteen. Nervously I did her bidding and remember walking into the aforementioned youth club disco with Mr. Men plasters stuck at strategic points over my legs, approximately twelve in total as I recall, to try and stem the steady trickle of blood that believe me, did nothing to help me pull that night. In hindsight, maybe ankle socks and denim short dungarees were probably not the best choice.

And so it began, a life of maneuvering in the tub, sneaking my dad's razor, to ensure that I was shiny shinned. What Maria Papadopoulos sister neglected to inform me, was that once you start on this path of zero hair tolerance, you have in fact waged war on your follicles and in military terms, they are closely aligned to the Spartans. Every move I make to rid myself of their presence, they come back, energized, motivated and twice as strong!

In my twenties I shaped my brows occasionally and bleached my arm hair, in my thirties I took up waxing those same brows, as a mere 'shape' would no longer suffice and sadly, had to start including my top lip. Now in my late forties... put it this way, if I don't wield the tweezers daily, epilate weekly and wax monthly, I look like Hagrid in lipstick. It's a battle I am losing.

After a nasty bout flu and having neglected my regular facial topiary, I popped into the bathroom, looked in the mirror and honestly thought Brian Blessed had come to visit and was looking over my shoulder. People, it wasn't pretty.

The good news is, I am not alone, having mentioned casually to a friend that I was afraid I was turning into a were-wolf and the very real possibility that by the age of fifty, I would look like Cousin It, she confessed that if she went a month without drastic action she could be mistaken for Magnum P.I. This gave me a great sense of comfort, to know that women of a certain age the world-over were follicle fighting too.

In the UK alone we spend over £25 million on hair removal products. A staggering sum in what is essentially a futile fight. I decided ten days ago to brave it out, to ditch the depilatory creams, hide the razors (actually stop nicking my husbands!) and see what happened. Maybe hirsute, might be code for liberating? I wanted to find out after all, the women I have seen leaping about on the beach with fuzzed pits and twirly tashes, were certainly not conforming to the glossy mag ideal, and they looked happy enough. At worst, it would free up at least an hour of my week.

I am a failure. The sun is almost poking through the cloud and it hasn't rained for twelve hours, and that for me means summer and that in turn means, floaty frocks and cropped trousers. I gave it my best, I tried, but it was harder than I thought. I popped my summer frock on, ready for an evening of al fresco dining under a large brolly to shelter from the inevitable showers. I felt confident and happy, until my youngest son asked why I was wearing tights under a summer dress? Here's the thing, I wasn't. Nuff said.

So, have just finished delving into the bin and I sit here smiling happily with the inevitable, yet strangely comforting rash that a hasty depilate always brings and I am breathing easily again. And if you are reading this Maria Papadopoulos big sister, I hate you.

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