Hairy Awarey

Have you heard of this? I read about it this morning in the newspapers and rued the insane amounts of arm and leg ransom I had paid for laser hair removal to make the face fuzz free (which sadly hasn’t lasted, and am back to being a woman who moonlights as a werewolf, and does a pretty good howl too when she lands at the fridge with 3 am binge urges and discovers she has run out of icecream). What is Hairy Awarey, you ask? It is based on the same principle that Julia Roberts used when she raised one slim arm, clad in sleek designer gown, on red carpet, and revealed a mass of dense, black underarm hair, much to our collective virtual gasp of horror. Or Salma Hayek who grew out her eyebrows and her upper lip for her role as Frida Kahlo in Frida.

The article tells me that across the Internet, there is a two month movement initiated by feminist activist in Bristol named Jessica Burton, asking women to go natural. This is accompanied by a photograph of Jessica with a mouche, looking like an adolescent boy with the first beginnings of fuzz. I look at her and wince. And turn my eyes away from the photograph. She has some logic backing her theory. She says that enough of us give up defoliating ourselves, the sight will become so normal that the stigma of being hairy will disappear.

And then there is a comedian named Shazia Mirza who grew her body hair for a period of seven months for a BBC documentary. She is a brave woman. I would have lived under a shroud.

I’ve always battled with excess hair growth. It started when, in my teens, I was paranoid about being overweight, and dropped kilos and with it my periods for six months, setting the stage for a lifetime of battles with PCOD and the subsequent infertility, and stories tragic enough for you to reach and honk into that tissue. And I’m not even getting started on the calcium deficiency bit, and the horror lecture I got about my bones becoming of chalk like density and liable to crack on the slightest impact, rather like Samuel L Jackson in that movie with Bruce Willis, where he has every bone in his body broken and therefore is justified in plotting evil acts of murder or something like that.

Anyway, as is usual, I digress. The moot point here was about stopping exfoliation. Which is a tempting prospect given that much of my weekend is devoted to the unpleasant task of getting the eyebrows, the face, the upper lip, the chin, the arms, the underarms and the legs fuzz free.

The week this ritual is not carried out, I spend the week in full sleeves and long pants, and with the hair pleasantly a halo around my face, hoping that it draws attention away from the hair on hypergrowth down the sides of the face, and a mouche so dominant, I could wax its tips and curl it up a la Dali. I can just imagine the spouse passing out at the sight of me, and our moustaches and stubble will interlock when we kiss. Ewww! Ewww! Ewww!

There is something drastically wrong here. For centuries women have been exfoliating their facial and body hair. We have been conditioned to believe that any display of hair apart from that on the scalp is in bad taste. And we must do all that is required to ensure one stays smooth and fuzz free. For me, this includes the very troublesome bit of getting the damn face threaded on a weekly basis or else risk the child asking me when I was planning to shave myself, thank you so much PCOD, you really whacked my self esteem. Men have hair on their face. Women are allowed eyebrows and eyelashes. Thats all.

Would I give this trend a shot? I dont think so. I am a coward. I would like to see my face beneath all the hair. I am the sort who gets palpitations if I leave for a vacation without the tweezers and the roll of thread in my cosmetics case. I have been known to haunt duty free shops in airports trying to find a tweezer on the rare occasions I have forgotten. With age, I get better, I scatter the handbag and the luggage with a couple of spare tweezers and thread bundles to ensure I am never in a situation where I have to make a public appearance with unsightly facial foliage.

What about the rest of you? Would you have courage enough to go Hairy Awarey? And I wonder what Ms Burton’s boyfriend have to say about this if she does have one. That, my dears, would be a reaction I would be very very interested to know.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published nine books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016), psychological thriller with Missing, Presumed Dead (2018) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. In 2018, she was awarded the International Women's Day award for literary excellence by ICUNR and Ministry of Women and Children, Government of India. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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34 Responses to Hairy Awarey

  1. Rani says:

    That sounds interesting.
    I am VERY hairy and don’t know how practical it would be to live un-waxed, un=threaded for long. But I do take breaks, like 2 months that is 🙂

    The funny(sweet) thing is the boyfriend doesn’t care abt this much. He says its not needed, ‘the superficial beautification’. I love u anyways, he says 🙂

    LOL, having been on both sides of the boyfriend/husband divide with my hairiness, can I burst your bubble by saying that is exactly what the boyfriend said, and his tune changed rapidly when he became the husband.


  2. B o o. says:

    Dont know about Ms.Burtons boy friend but a certain Mr.Boo would be really happy that I will be spending less time in the bathroom! 😉

    So would a Mr Manral. But he would then refuse to be seen in public with me.


  3. Ruchira says:

    Oh No The hairy natural look is not for me at all !
    On my first trip to Japan, I discovered that the ladies there shave their eyebrows and facial hair instead of threading. I cldnt bring myself to use a razor on my eyebrows. A lot of inexperienced tweezing followed as I had hardly used a tweezer before. I hated that shaggy eyebrows face of mine ! The first thing I did after getting off at IGI airport was make a beeline for a parlor 🙂

    That is one boon in India, sasta tikau parlours at every street corner for easy defoliation.


  4. SM says:

    No way!!!!

    Have to go on a 2 week official trip to US end Sept – beginning of October and am dreading the thought of hairy face during the second leg of the trip. (BTW anybody has idea about parlours in St. Paul, Minnesotta – this is my first visit to US and have no idea if they have india type parlours there.) Much backwards planning has already started on the last ideal day scheduled for the parlour visit including *gasp* allowing for some growth for effective waxing before the trip.

    Double/triple/ endless damn you PCOS / PCOD – may you rot in hell!



  5. V says:

    Go Natural I say….

    Except that you have to start way back…once you start, there’s no turning back..

    Have never done anything to the facial hair and am happy for it..
    Started waxing when i was just out of school and now can just not imaging not doing it…

    If I go natural I will have Gandalf’s beard in a month’s time.


  6. R's Mom says:

    ahhahaha! it does happen to you too does it…Krish asking you about the shaving….read this also and am sure you will feel better…

    I dont think I will be able to go without threading for a long time…waxing..yaa I think I can…but facial hair..nah…dont have the guts 🙂

    Looks like we are in the majority….


  7. abha says:

    i wonly wax. havent EVER touched any facial hair! didnt even get my eye brows done for my shaadi. it just looks too painful! :p

    i have one solitary hair on my chin which some times people have tried to brush away and then get embarrassed! 😉 but i havent done anything about that either!

    i shave my underarms whenever i have to wear sleeveless and wax about once in 2 months depending on when i have time.

    I have no idea what i would have done if i had more obvious facial hair. but in spirit i totally back the go natural! 😉



  8. Aathira says:

    No hair on face for me.

    I run to the parlour every alternate week, else hubby informs me of visible hair problem on face. Waxing/epilating mandatory every third week too for the rest of the problem creators.

    Good girl.


  9. munimma says:

    third one here with pcod. seems more common among us, eh?

    agree on all counts. I have tweezers lying around everywhere. Just in case. I am sorely tempted to go the laser way. any experiences there?

    Did laser for the upper lip chin cheeks. Spent around 40k. Four years later it is all coming back slowly and steadily.


  10. Rachna says:

    Oh me too!
    I am never ever without tweezers. I have about 6 of them, and carry them in alsmot all handbags – so that I am never without one. Am totally paranoid about facial hear, esp. upper lip and chin. Check them about 30 times a day!

    Siggh- that is what I miss most about India, the beauty parlors. here is horribly expensive to go regularly. Hence, my reliance of tweezers.

    I tell you someone who invents tweezers with a built in magnifying glass is going to rake it in.


  11. sj says:

    personally I am so fed up of waxing more so because I get the ‘5 o’clock shadow’ within days. They say waxing needs to be done once in 3/4 weeks. I need to get it done every week (not that I do it). It’s shorts and sleeveless for a few days after waxing and then pants and full sleeves. Other half could care less hair or no hair.

    So laser does not work you say? I was considering it…

    On another note I could do with the extra hair from my face and body on my head. Isn’t that ironical.
    Story of our lives, the hair on the scalp in a hurry to fall off, and the rest of the body sprouts hair!


  12. Oh, I’m similar to Rani. I take long breaks.. my own personal revolt. If the husband says something, he’s told to stop shaving too and see if I care 😀

    My brother, though, is a different issue. He makes jokes like “Yes yes, she’s the elder one.. so what if she’s shorter, she got a mucchi before I did.” So yeah, maternal home visits are preceded by parlor visits 😀

    ROTFLMAO, thank the lord I didnt have a brother…


  13. munimma says:

    I think the built in lens tweezer is out there somewhere. With a little light too. But, the best one is the one I got almost 20 years back in Chennai. The no frills one, for 5 or 7 Rs.

    4 years of laser – might think about that as compared to twice a week.

    gravity working on the hair, moving it down from the top

    Four years of laser. Not worth it. Pay through your nose, and it all comes back.


  14. Suki says:

    I’m somewhere in-between on this end. My face and arms are “au naturel”, but I have “permissible hair lengths” for underarms and legs. It’s practically negligible for underarms thanks to the remarks I’ve got(from other girls, never boys!) whenever the vestiges of foliage showed under a raised arm, but i’ll allow half an inch of hair on my legs before shaving.
    And I’m fairly hairy – with a sock on my lower legs that reappears too fast for my liking.

    LOL. The travails we have to go through….


  15. moi says:

    Like everyone else I’m also quite hairy. I do thread my upperlip and chin twice in a month and thread the whole face maybe twice in a year. as far as armpits and legs and arms are concerned I really don’t give a damn about, although I know it feels much better when it’s with hair but I rely on pants/jeans and long sleeves. By the way what’s PCOD? I didn’t get that part 🙂

    PCOD? Polycystic ovarian disease. Causes hormonal imbalances resulting in hirsutism.


  16. Average Jane says:

    I luuurve delhi winters for obvious reasons!!



  17. Cee Kay says:

    I have, and still do, gone “Hairy awarey”. It has always been like this since I can remember. I don’t much care if my “hair are showing” and I don’t much care if others can see them either. One part I do take care to clean up is the underarms. But then I don’t have too much body hair either.

    The only time I obsessively remove my body hair is when I don a swim suit.

    The husband used to “encourage” me to defoliate but now is resigned to the fact that I don’t care much either way 🙂

    I do have light hair on my upper lip but rarely wax/thread it. Got a single strand on my chin when I was undergoing IVF and the husband used to make fun of that. But it disappeared after the IVF was over.


  18. Sonia says:

    I only get my eyebrows done – I could totally do the hairy thing – dont need to shave for months at a time, very very little hair anywhere and it grows oh so slow 🙂 Omg touch wood a thousand times over!!


  19. Mumbai Diva says:

    aargh! am very hairy but it needs to go the minute it starts peeping out of the skin. sorry. and have a feeling, actually know, hubby prefers it that way.


  20. Childwoman says:

    I AM HAIRY. I think the hair on the chin, upperlip, underarms, legs and arms are in competition with each other..for whose gonna make me rush to the parlor first.
    And the laser on legs and arms didnt much for me. I was going laser for upper lip and chin, but chickened out, once they mentioned razor on the face, I fled….


  21. I wax twice a year. Or if there’s a marriage in the family(makes no sense because i usually wear a saree for marriages, but i do it anyway.)My arms have very little hair on them, so no problem there. And I love bushy eyebrows.

    My husband thinks waxing is inhuman and that may be because I have spent quite some time in convincing him that waxing is a bit like Mangolian torture 😉


  22. SM says:

    Wrt to laser – even if it starts reappearing, i am told that it is very slow and not as dense – is that so?(sigh! why does it have to sound as if i was describing foliage) I am too scared to go in for laser and am gathering up all the negative points about it in order to avoid it. My only nightmare is if and when I become incapacitated for any reason to go to the parlour regularly, will they have to cremate me with a full moustache / beard???? Can you imagine what they’ll be talking about me long after I am gone??? dont want to be remembered for the wrong reasons – help!!!


  23. Childwoman says:

    P.S. My boyfriend thinks I look cute with a moustache (when i skip the parlour),I look like a little chinese old lady! LOL! 😀


  24. inbavalli says:

    I have about a dozen strands of hair scattered across my body including the scalp. Okay, make it 2 doz. I so agree with that Burtons woman – why should we hurt ourselves to look good for others? But maybe my stance would’ve been different if I’d been hairy.


  25. Adi says:

    I have a lot of facial hair . I wax when in India. Here it just doesnt make sense to do it often. So now, am spending oodles of money on electrolysis.

    They say laser always removes hair for a few yrs and doesnt garuntee permanancy . Electrolysis at least they claim is more long term if not permenant. Its slow and painful and I am hoping worth the pain ! :-\

    Oh btw, my electrologist says tweezers are a strict no-no. Makes the hair grow back stronger . She recommends cutting it or shaving it.


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