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to think we owe it to our DC to let our armpits go feral?

(293 Posts)
ClockWatchingLady Wed 07-Aug-13 10:15:49

When our kids are little, shouldn't they see that women have body hair (and accept it rather than remove it)?
Once they're in their teens, they'll probably see endless full-body-waxed women online, whether we like it or not.
So while they're little and forming their basic impressions of the female body, shouldn't we stop all this bloody depilation? Whether we feel comfortable with it or not, don't we owe it to the younger generation?

Yours faithfully,
Mr Tumnus

FryOneFatManic Fri 09-Aug-13 21:53:44

Despite having a problem with garlic, we certainly eat enough to scare away the vampires grin

Meanwhile, I can't let my hair go more than 3 days without washing. It's not really the hair, but the scalp. I have psoriasis on the scalp and the itching is dreadful if I let it go too long without washing. I now use shampoo and conditioner without all the chemicals like SLS, etc, and it's really made a difference.

Same with body products. I use stuff as natural and gentle as possible and I get clean without all the dry, sensitive skin I had previously.

theodorakisses Fri 09-Aug-13 16:23:30

I may have not agreed with the thread initially but I do agree about deodorant and shampoo. When I used to be a nurse we used to administer drugs such as hrt through the skin, my pcos has improved since using natural shampoo, conditioner and bath stuff. I was introduced to this viaMN. Wouldn't not wash though, when district nursing saw people suffering from that too, but I do agree that anything I do every day (except wearing a bra but that is another thread) will have an affect on my physiology. Some of them, like drinking smoking and eating, I enjoy but the others that are just day to day DO make a difference and do not reduce my fun or enjoyment of life.

garlicagain Fri 09-Aug-13 15:00:19

Perhaps there should be a case made for letting head hair go feral?
hair gets smelly if it isn't washed, the only people who say otherwise are those who don't wash their hair.

Heh! I didn't wash my hair for two years once - a whole bunch of us tried it. It works! The first six weeks or so, though, were minging. You have to keep brushing it to distribute your own oils through the hair: we all got horrid, greasy, fishy-whiffing locks. Most of us were smokers, which made things worse. BUT ... ! The transformation was sudden. End of week six, the smell had gone to be replaced by a nice 'hair smell' (think toddler hair); our locks were full, glossy, bouncy, and generally everything the makers of hair products promise with their "naturally healthy hair". Added to which, non-smokers kept telling me my hair didn't smell like a smoker's!

"Garlic is my problem" - Couldn't let that pass without a grin, FOFM.

LeBFG Fri 09-Aug-13 14:47:42

Not the garlic the fart jokes. DH is inculcating DS into his fart cult.

FryOneFatManic Fri 09-Aug-13 14:44:27

Going back to the OP though, DD is 13 and is beginning to remove her armpit hair because she is finding it uncomfortable to have there.

I have brought her up top realise that removing hair is a personal choice, that it's totally up to her what she chooses to do.

I dye my hair, but then I've had a significant amount of grey hair since I was 23. Once the very back is also white I'll be letting it all grow out white.

It's all about choices. And as long as DD isn't feeling pressured in her choices then I'll be happy that she's making her own choices.

FryOneFatManic Fri 09-Aug-13 14:28:00

Well, we get it from mum. I once went to her house and the whole place stank of garlic. Turns out she too had eaten a lot of the stuff, and went for a hot bath...... Whiffy!

LeBFG Fri 09-Aug-13 13:24:30

Your DS sounds like my DH Fry hmm <sympathises>

LeBFG Fri 09-Aug-13 13:23:22

Hmmm, should we encourage hippy natural styles? I'm not sure this is the same as not shaving. Dyeing hair punky colours is an expression of sorts. As are various hair styles. Just as I might choose to wear DMs or Gucci.

But covering grey would be a similar thing to shaving I suppose - with a whole lot more judgement about not shaving than not dyeing grey hair. Grey haired people are not pointed at and whispered about - they aren't embarrassed to go into a pub, or on a bus or to the beach - I wouldn't be embarrassed to teach teenagers with grey hair but would be if I had hairy legs.

It is possibly akin to bf <hides under something flame-proof> something that for a long time we weren't accustomed to seeing everyday in the open, then we made a fuss about it for while and now, of course, we accept it as being natural and normal.

FryOneFatManic Fri 09-Aug-13 13:22:24

Garlic is my problem. If I eat more than a certain amount, the result is garlic smelling sweat/skin. Mum is the same, and DS is markedly so. I put him in the bath after a meal containing garlic once, and the warm water made the whole bathroom stink of garlic grin.

Of course, he's 9 years old, so he thinks this is hilarious, same as poo and fart jokes, etc hmm

HellonHeels Fri 09-Aug-13 13:12:24

My hair gets smelly if I don't wash it. If I leave it for a few days (or more) the colour of the water when I do wash it certainly suggests it gets dirty grin

Perhaps plenty of people also wash/style/cut/product their head hair when they don't want to because of social pressures. I imagine that's certainly true of colouring hair for women who are greying. I've seen quite a few 'reclaim the grey' type threads on MN.

But to come back to the OP's question, do we therefore owe it to our children not to colour/wash/style our head hair?

SoniaGluck Fri 09-Aug-13 12:59:48

Yes, I have heard of the 'westerners smelling of sour milk' thing before. I think that I must have read it somewhere but I can't remember who was saying it or the context.

LeBFG Fri 09-Aug-13 12:55:04

Tis true about the eating/smelling connection. I worked with some Chinese in a small and very hot lab. They had a really horrid smell which I mentioned to my friend who had worked in China. He had done the reverse - worked in a small hot lab in China - and his co-workers had complained about HIS smell. Apparently, us westerners smell of rotten milk envy. Must be all the dairy we eat.

SoniaGluck Fri 09-Aug-13 12:46:04

TheSunTheMoon What you said about your colleague is very interesting.

There is a theory, isn't there, that what you eat affects how much you smell when you sweat?

"Meat sweat" is quite a well known phenomenon, i.e. you smell more strongly if your diet is high in meat. I have had this at Christmas sometimes; generally a period of several days when I tend to eat far more meat than normal.

I eat sprouted fenugreek from time to time. The resulting sweat smell is akin to maple syrup, not unpleasant, and lasts 24 hours or so.

I think there may be something in the idea that diet affects how strongly you smell due to my exhaustive experimentation smile

squoosh Fri 09-Aug-13 12:35:24

Of course hair gets smelly if it isn't washed, the only people who say otherwise are those who don't wash their hair.

LeBFG Fri 09-Aug-13 12:31:30

What's all this about smelly hair? Hair doesn't get smelly because it's not been washed. I have long hair and it only smells if I've been near a smoker. I don't get hair BO if I don't wash it for a few days. It isn't itchy or unsightly.

My DH has sensitive skin and finds long hair after a day working in the sun makes his head very itchy. That's normally a sign for me to get the scissors out and trim it. The same for facial hair. But now I think about it, it is not the same for his armpits and legs. Hmm <merits further investigation>.

Style-wise, people can do what they like of course HellonHeels. THe problem is plenty of people feel they have to shave when they just don't want to - they can't do what they like because of social pressure.

kimimimi Fri 09-Aug-13 12:17:56

Oh dear.. People wax/shave their body hair since ancient times, Egyptians and Romans done it, is nothing new about that..

ClockWatchingLady Fri 09-Aug-13 11:31:19

Icinberg - yes, I suppose my op suggests that, although it was intended as a question for discussion, not persuasion. As I said, my own behaviour with respect to this is very varied, but that's because it's something I'm not sure about (hence wanted to discuss). Is this what you mean, caster8? If so, I certainly wouldn't class myself as having "body issues". I rather like my body and am generally confident and carefree about it, I just wonder about this particular issue, and feel a little pressured by those around me/"society" (my lovely DP excluded) to shave.

HellonHeels Fri 09-Aug-13 11:05:55

For those saying we don't see head hair as "dirty", so why regard other body hair as "dirty" I don't quite understand the reasoning. Head hair is dirty and supports bacteria growth if sweaty / unwashed. I wouldn't want to find a head hair on a plate of food.

Many people go to great efforts to groom their head hair - washing every day, drying, styling, colouring, cutting, applying product. Some shave their heads. Most of them presumably do this not just because of hygiene but also due to social constructs/fashion. Perhaps there should be a case made for letting head hair go feral?

Guerrillacrochet Fri 09-Aug-13 11:01:49

I agree with LeBFG. To me when I think of 'person smell' I think of the smell of a bed after a few nights in it. Not an offensive smell to me. My husband is a hairy bugger and sometimes smells like this before a shower. It is a lovely snuggly smell to me (the thought of it makes me want to cuddle him).
BO is different- that to my mind is stale sweat which has a rank stink smell
I have no problems believing that both shaved and non-shaved people can produce smells at both end of the spectrum.
<runs off to go home and sniff husband's hairy chest >

LeBFG Fri 09-Aug-13 10:45:16

very possible outcome *of shaving hairy pits.

LeBFG Fri 09-Aug-13 10:44:00

Keep starting this post and getting baby interruptions!!

The pheremone/MHC thing is not a clear cut story at the moment. I feel the dispersal idea can work both ways wrt smelling. Hairy armpits disperse our lovely body smells, but surely also dry quicker so wet, clammy skin promoting baterial growth and that dreaded BO would seem a very possible outcome. Ancedotally, I have not noticed a change of smell with or without hair tbh. If there is a difference it's small for me. The only time I smell is when I'm stressed or if I don't wash. Same with DH.

I think sometimes people get smell and BO confused tbh. My sister insists she 'smells' if she doesn't actually stink of deoderant and perfume (and scented moisteriser, and smelly shampoo etc).

CoteDAzur Fri 09-Aug-13 10:18:13

And re cancer & deodorants/antiperspirants:

Antiperspirant use and the risk of breast cancer

CoteDAzur Fri 09-Aug-13 10:17:02

garlic - re "a means of distributing endocrine pong to the world at large, thus advertising our individual pheromonal cocktails to potentially desirous mates"

Yes, that seems to be the purpose of armpit hair, and also why it stays short and is rather curly (more surface to disperse the smell).

CoteDAzur Fri 09-Aug-13 10:02:31

Re hair on your head vs armpit hair - These are different and have different purposes.

Armpit and groins have pubic hair - coarse, short, oval, and curly texture. Armpit and groins also have apocrine glands, which make the substance that bacteria likes to turn into body odour. The purpose of this hair isnt certain but seems to be to enhance the dispersal of your unique body odour by increasing the surface it's spread on.

Dispersed primarily from armpits, body odour serves an important purpose (or used to, before we masked/confused it with deodorants) - to attract us to more compatible sexual mates, and to steer us away from close relatives. Weisfelt et al showed that the less someone smells like you, the more attractive & less repulsive you find their smell.

All to say that body odour has an important function in nature and that armpit hair is part of it, especially when you leave it au naturel.

CoteDAzur Fri 09-Aug-13 09:23:35

Thank you MrsKoala, that is exactly what I said.

nooka's link is interesting. Apparently, about 2% of UK population don't smell and never have because they just don't have the gene for it. I know two people like this who don't use deodorant and never smell.

What I find improbable with ICBINEG's story is that she says she smelled when shaving but doesn't smell at all now that her armpit hair is long. So she has the gene, her apocrine glands are secreting the sticky stuff as before, but... no smell?

This reminds me of people who say their hair self-cleans and doesn't smell since they stopped washing it.

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