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Category Archives: bearded ladies

Decisions, Decisions

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I wonder if the romantic relationships I’ve had are directly related to who might be ok with my beard. I wonder if I’ve limited my options and/or lowered my expectations because of my beard. Sort of like, “Well, I’ll just overlook [insert thing I should probably not put up with here], because he’s cool with me having a beard.”

Maybe if I’m asking these questions, I already know the answer.

Craig and I are getting a divorce. That has nothing to do with the beard, obviously, but it’s making me reflect on many complicated things. One of which is my hair.

I want to be able to open myself up to all opportunities at some point. With the hair, I don’t think I can fully do that. I’ve tried over the years, and I think I’ve gotten to a great place of mostly self-acceptance.

The fact is, though, that I don’t see myself as someone with a beard. Even though I am.

I shave it off. When I don’t shave and it grows out a bit, I don’t like how it looks or feels. I’ve never felt comfortable with my significant other touching my face, which is sad, because I like that sensation. I don’t like being in direct sunlight unless I’ve recently shaved. I get razor burn (less so now than I used to – I have a finely honed system these days). I occasionally cut myself, which is embarrassing. Also shaving is a temporary, 12-hour-at-most, solution. Tweezing hurts like a motherfucker. Vaniqa is expensive and not covered by insurance (or, at least that was the case when I briefly used it). Waxing scares me. Laser removal stimulated new growth for me, and doesn’t work anyway on red or blonde hair (sure wish the person who did it knew that at the time…). It’s also painful.

So guys. I’m considering electrolysis. Which makes me feel… guilty. Guilty because, while there would be several complex emotions involved in the process, I think I would feel an enormous sense of relief.

It’s a pretty big deal. I’ve made it a life goal to just be ok with what’s going on with me in the moment, beard and all. Because whatever, right? It’s just hair.

It’s just hair.

It’s just hair…

But as you already know, it’s just a lot of other stuff too.

I wrote this back in January, 2012:

I identify myself as a heterosexual, cisgender female. The larger culture, and the community that I consider myself to be a part of, is heteronormative. With that comes tremendous privilege in ways that I know I don’t fully understand, because I’m a part of it.

A trend that I’ve noticed through talking to you lovelies over time (and certainly this is not true for everyone – just a general trend I’ve picked up on in my limited experience) is that those who consider themselves part of the hetero community (such as myself) tend to remove. Those who consider themselves part of the LGBTQ community tend to feel more comfortable NOT removing. Or, maybe a better way to put it is that I have not talked to any hetero females who grow and consistently wear their beards, but I have talked to LGBTQ females who do. There seems to be more tolerance for bearded females and more freedom to explore what the beard means and looks like. I understand that my identity comes with privilege in a lot of ways that don’t just include the beard. I also wish there was more freedom within my identity to explore difference. I mean that in both an internal way and an external way.

So. Do I not let the hair grow because I’m afraid to lose that privilege? What would it mean for me to grow it? Because, unfortunately for now, it would mean so much more than just, “Ok, now I have a beard. Moving on.”

I still think that. Whether I like it or not, it DOES mean more than just hair to have a beard and identify the way I identify.

But then, what does it say about me that I’m considering this option? Am I just giving into The Man? Does it even matter?

Maybe what matters is that I’m content, and have one less thing to worry about during a truly shitty time, and from here on.

Hm.

Short Hair with a Ladybeard

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I’ve had long or long-ish hair for most of my life. The shortest I’ve ever had it was above my shoulders, but still below my ears.

Well, friends.

Last week, I took a huge risk and cut it off!

Image

Yup.

It brought up a few things for me about the beard.

First, I usually get a bit hypervigilant about shaving my face/neck when I get a haircut. God forbid the person cutting my hair will brush against my face or see the hair. This actually happened to me once about six years ago. I forgot to shave before a hair appointment and didn’t have time to go home, and I was VERY aware of it. The stylist was messing with my hair before cutting it, and her hand brushed against my face, which was pretty stubbly. There was a pause – mine mortified and hers confused – then she got this really ‘oh-honey-I-feel-so-sorry-for-you’ expression and said, in a sappy sort of tone, “By the way, I think you’re just beautiful, no matter what.” I know she meant that to be nice, and I don’t fault her for saying it. It could have been so much worse. Yet, it still left me embarrassed, and I felt weird around her after that. The way she was looking at me kinda gave me the sads. The whole exchange was so awkward, and I had no idea what to say or do.

Also, with long hair, I would alternate shaving days with hair-washing days (I have curly hair and can’t wash my hair every day, or it gets really dry). So, I would shave on days that I didn’t wash my hair, and take a break from shaving on days that I washed my hair. It wasn’t to save time. It was so that when my hair was down, I could hide my face more, or at least distract from my beard. On non-hair-washing days, I would wear it in a ponytail, thus needing to shave because there was nothing to hide behind or distract.

With short hair, hiding won’t be an option. In my more rational moments, I think, “Ok whatever. It’s not like my hair was really doing THAT much so that people wouldn’t notice that I have a beard. I mean, for godsake.” But I’m still alternating days of shaving and not shaving, otherwise my skin gets really red and irritated. So… that means stubble. Noticeable stubble.

Today happens to be a non-shaving day. I had a moment of panic on my way to work this morning. “I see clients all day! What if someone notices!? What if they say something to me about it????????!!!!!”

That feeling lasted for a while. And has come up throughout the day. Nothing to hide behind. Nothing to distract. It’s a totally new, scary feeling.

But then…

I don’t exist so that other people can be pleased by my appearance. I happen to be a woman. I happen to have a beard. If someone is offended by that, it’s seriously not my problem. If someone asked me about it, I hope I would say something like, “Yep, I have some extra hair. Many women do. So, back to what we were talking about…” Just sticking to the facts with a neutral tone. It means nothing about me, other than it means I have a beard. The end.

Aside from my angst about the beard, I LOVE THIS HAIRCUT. It’s so much easier for me to manage! And it also looks cute in a Rosie the Riveter-style bandana tied in it, so there’s that too. Yay short hair!

 

 

Manly Razor!

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How come no one told me that men’s razors do a better job on the face than women’s?

Now that I’ve typed that question, it seems pretty obvious. I mean, of course they do a better job. That’s what they’re made for!

So. I’m here to tell any of you out there using “women’s” razors (really, just razors that tend to be pink and are designed to shave legs) that the “men’s” ones (really, just razors that tend to be blue/grey/orange and are designed for faces) do a MUCH better job.

I figured this out by accident one day, when I was in the shower and realized that my Quattro was pretty dull. I didn’t have more blades, and Craig’s razor happened to be right there, so one thing led to another…

I used my regular routine.

The difference was pretty dramatic, in my opinion. First, I didn’t have to go over the same spot several times as I had been, which naturally cut down on razor burn. I got a much smoother shave much faster, and on more sensitive areas (my neck, for example), the razor was like, “I got this.”

I’ve decided to ditch the Schick Quattro that I’ve been using for YEARS in favor of the Gillette Fusion Proglide, and will definitely use face razors from now on. Why use leg razors for the face? Doesn’t make sense.

Gillette-Fusion-ProGlide-Power-Beauty
Source

Check out all those blades!

This whole lady-product vs. MANLY product debate makes me think of this from Hyperbole and a Half. Read more stuff on that site if you haven’t already. You won’t be sorry! You’ll be laughing too hard!

Unexpectedly, I found myself nervous to buy the new razor for the first time. I’m so used to hiding my hair and am so sensitive to anyone finding out… So I’m walking around in Target, sneaking into the “men’s” section of the shaving aisle, terrified that someone will think, “OMG. That lady is totally buying a guy’s razor for her face. She totally has a beard. She is going to take that razor home and shave her face with it. I’m going to take pictures of her on my phone and send them to all my friends and find out who she is and tell EVERYONE!!!”

Ridiculous, right?

But if you’ve spent years hiding, as I have, then you can probably relate. In reality, there was another woman in that aisle. She glanced at me as anyone else would glance at another human in Target: quickly. She had her own errands to run, for godsake.

No one cared that I was buying a face razor.

And now I’m reaping the benefits.

Have a good Monday!

The Scared is Scared

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This whole pregnancy business?

Terrifying. Wonderful. Emotional. Nauseating.

A friend, who is much further along in her pregnancy than I am, and I had coffee the other day. We agreed that neither of us understand other women who say that being pregnant is the best thing in the world. “I wish I could be pregnant all the time! It’s amazing!” I mean, yes, it is amazing.

But, what about all the throwing up? What about the constant fear of harming your unborn child? What about the constant fear that something out of your control will happen to the baby? Or to you? Could happen at any time, really? What about the round ligament pain? The bizarre changes to your body that you didn’t even know to expect?

Please don’t misunderstand; I’m thrilled about the pregnancy. Heck, I’m thrilled I could get pregnant at all, and I’m absolutely ecstatic about the kid who’s on his/her way here. I can’t wait to meet him or her! We’re not finding out the sex, but I have a strong sense that it’s going to be a boy, and I’ve been having dreams about him like crazy.

Speaking of which…

One terrifying thing that happened was about a month ago. I woke up in the morning with bleeding, said a lot of swear words, did some crying, and called the nurse line. There was no pain, no clotting or tissue, but blood. The nurse said that it didn’t sound like I was having a miscarriage, but that the bleeding was concerning, and I would need to go to the ER.

A long wait and a few tests later, we found out that the baby was just fine and so was I.

Before I woke up that morning, I had a dream about the baby. He was probably about 6 or 7. We were in a big building or house with lots of hallways. We were together in the beginning, but then were separated. I knew he was safe – he was with family members – but I couldn’t find them anywhere. I walked all over, looking for him, calling his name.

When I was approaching the area where he was, I heard him say, “I know she’s looking for me. Tell mama I’m right here.”

And he was.

The video below was posted on Mommy Shorts yesterday, and it’s pretty great. The advice in it is universal, but I think those of you reading (and I!) have some extra fears/worries that others probably don’t have. Like, talking about facial hair. Revealing facial hair. Dealing with chronic health stuff. Things that add a little pressure to your daily life.

The filmmaker asked a 6-year-old what her movie should be about, and this was the result.

the Scared is scared from Bianca Giaever on Vimeo.

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did!

Also, a big congratulations to Deb, who did a photo project on bearded ladies that was PUBLISHED in the Lesbian Connection! She is awesome and so is her work. Yay Deb!!

Reblogged Due to Fantastic-ness

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I love this.

Real-Life Superhero Balpreet Kaur

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My good friend Lauren posted this on the Project’s Facebook page, and it just might be the best thing I’ve ever seen. For those of you without Facebook access or who want more, here’s another link to an article on the Huffington Post.

Balpreet, on the off-chance that you ever read this, you are amazing. Thank you for just being you. Your graceful, intelligent, and overall fantastic response means a lot to this beardo. Rock on!

Edit: Here is a link to her full response.

Days 11 & 12, Taco Bell, and French Feminism

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The last couple of days have been sugar-free and, for the most part, really nice.

I think I’m getting more and more used to the fact that I’m not eating sugar. It’s difficult at times, but fortunately, cravings only come up about once a day (if at all). I’m able to handle it.

It’s not often that I’m put in a position where I have to eat something and have little control over it. Today was one of those days. There was a work situation in which I had to eat food from Taco Bell. Ok, if I’m being honest with myself and with all of you, I have a love for Taco Bell that runs pretty deep.

It’s just that it tastes really good, is all.

I don’t eat it very often, because of course the food isn’t great for you, and there are other reasons as well.

Anyway, I checked the ingredients online beforehand, because I knew this day was coming, and I was able to find things without added sugar. I ended up getting chicken fresco tacos. Tasty. Didn’t make me feel awesome afterward, but it did the job.

In other news, I read this article about a French feminist group called La Barbe (the beard). They show up at various occasions wearing fake beards to prove the point that most people in power are male.

I wonder if they know about us real-life bearded ladies?

If you want to join in the Sugar Challenge at any time, please feel free! Introduce yourself in the comments if you like, and welcome!