At some point, everyone has encountered a zealot. Not necessarily the crazed, crucifix-wielding type that likes to picket the funerals of dead children, but a zealot nonetheless. The ex-smoker, coughing and spluttering should they come within a hundred paces of a lit Marlboro; the newly-toned fat girl, eschewing cake for a life of smugness and bikram; the guy at work who thinks one weekend off coke gives him the right to preach sobriety, only to wind up smelling lottery tickets in cubicles again Friday night. They may all have different causes, but they're all equally unendurable. Recently, I've clashed with the zealots that, perhaps more than any other type, have had 2012 in a stinky, hirsute headlock: female body-hair evangelists. My own decision to stop shaving had everything to do with sheer laziness and precious little to do with "rejecting the patriarchal beauty standards imposed upon women". (Chill out, Vagenda, bloggers, et al.) Months passed, and my furry self was doing just fine, and if the internet is to be believed, so were many other women; even some of my friends joined in, gleefully spending the money we'd saved on fantastically ugly acrylic nails and industrial-sized jars of Nutella. So far, so fun. But then this weather came. Dear, sweet, baby Jesus! The sun, the sweat, the smell. Whoever came up with the adage "horses perspire, men sweat, ladies merely glow" was a moron, a moron seemingly unaware of the high street's decision to make every single garment in polyester, perspiration's saboteurial "man on the inside". So, the armpit hair went; the endless trickle of sweat from my armpits ceased. All was well. Until the backlash. According to some, waxing particularly ferocious, itchy pubes is akin to being spit-roasted on the cover of Hustler; epilating tantamount to eating children. Friends' hairy haunches bristled with indignation when I told them about my waxing habits; even though they tolerated me, I was a spiritual outcast, the black sheep of the group, not that you'd be able to tell, because I don't have any wool. What could potentially have been about laziness and tolerance, a lax "bugger off" to all those vest-clad dickheads with highlights who expect their girlfriends to have the wipe-clean vagina of a ten-year-old, turned into another stick for women to beat each other with. Another opportunity to be pious, elitist. A backlash has happened. To be bare is bad. My shorn clumps have gathered in the mouth of Germaine Greer and now she's drowning in them.
Pubes are also a political statement, and it's boring; so, soooo boring that someone's vagina allegedly says more about them than the boxes they tick on the voting slip, or what they do with said vagina. When will these body-hair evangelists, citing feminism as their cause (so blasphemous!), realise that being a fascist about fuzz doesn't make them Valerie Solanas, merely insecure, screaming tyrants? I thought feminism was about women having a choice?