General Question

perg's avatar

I don't shave my pits. Does this freak people out?

Asked by perg (2624points) September 23rd, 2010

In trying to simplify my life, I have abandoned a lot of personal care activities that people (in the US) find appropriate or even obligatory for women – no makeup, extremely simple hair, for example. Yes, I do still bathe…

I also stopped shaving my underarms (and legs). I notice that some people, if they see this, look a little startled. The question is, do you find it peculiar or off-putting? I’m interested in knowing if respondents are male or female, too.

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75 Answers

syz's avatar

I’m not particularity fond of the look, but I’m also of the opinion that it’s up to you to do what you want with your body. I usually resist expectations based on nothing but cultural norms, and there’s no reason you should have to shave.

Would it affect me if I was potentially dating you? As shallow as it sounds, maybe. It would definitely take a bit of getting used to.

Winters's avatar

It’d catch my eye since most females do shave, but I don’t find it odd, peculiar, or freaky. I have several female acquaintances who don’t shave. I’m a guy btw.

jackm's avatar

Yes, it would put me off. Call me a product of american culture, but it doesn’t change the fact that men (me included) will definitely be turned off by this.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I’m female and I don’t really care one way or another. In fact, depending on the woman, underarm hair can be sexy.

For what it’s worth, I didn’t shave (legs or underarms) for about 2 years. I lived in Santa Cruz at the time, so it wasn’t that unusual and I didn’t endure much staring, judgment, or comments. I think it’s arbitrary and somewhat ridiculous that shaving body hair is a beauty norm, or at least has developed from what men find sexually attractive, something I could give a fig about, myself.

So, I say do whatever makes you happy. But be forewarned that, depending on where you live, you may be in for staring or rude comments. :\

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It doesn’t bother me in the least, although it probably would catch my attention, as it is uncommon in the US. You might be interested in reading through this Fluther thread on a similar topic to see the responses.
Edit: female here.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

Do what you want to do. As a woman, personally I feel more comfortable when I do shave my legs and underarms. I’m very pale with very dark hair so it would also be super noticeable on me.

rebbel's avatar

I applaud you, it could mean that my predictions come through in the end.

perg's avatar

@tragiclikebowie It’s not so much that I’m seeking affirmation than just wondering what people think. I’m going to continue not shaving for multiple reasons beyond the fact that it just doesn’t matter to me. I ask because my mom and I had an interesting discussion about different cultures’ and genders’ attitudes toward it, and I wanted to see what you all thought (and so thanks also to those of you who steered me toward the earlier thread).

Jude's avatar

Doesn’t bother me atall whether she shaves or not. In fact, in can be sexy on some women.

I shave, though. Personal preference. I like the way it feels (smooth).

tragiclikebowie's avatar

@perg Ah, okay. I’ve seen many unshaven women – when I was younger and idiotic it would probably elicit staring from me, but now, I wouldn’t find it peculiar at all.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’m female and while it doesn’t matter what the reasons behind people’s grooming preferences, athestically to me, I find it unattractive.

thekoukoureport's avatar

I have loved women from Europe where shaving is not a custom to America where, with hippies it’s not a custom and I can tell you with all certainty that your beauty comes from within and the minute you realize that you are sexy It won’t matter what anybody thinks.

Love yourself and then you can be loved.

augustlan's avatar

It doesn’t freak me out, but I definitely prefer the shaved look for underarms and legs. On the other hand, I don’t really understand completely shaving genitals, which seems to be the fashion these days. I’m 43, so it’s probably a generational thing. Female.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I’m female and don’t care either way if someone shaves or not.

laureth's avatar

I’m a chick. I don’t bother either. You wouldn’t freak me out, you’d make me feel at home.

This is not the case everywhere, though. You may be interested in the discussion that took place under this Fluther question.

Master's avatar

I shave mine and it freaks them out. Moral of the story: F-em!

AmWiser's avatar

I think its commendable that a woman (for her own personal reasons) would not follow the norm. Man (or woman) dictated customs and that don’t make them mandatory.

judochop's avatar

I could care less if you shave or not, hell I don’t care if you are even clean. It’s your life. Work it the way you want.
Do I find it off-putting like you asked? I’d never personally date a woman who did not shave or took time on her hair. So yeah I guess so but I back you up 100%, do what you like.

Cruiser's avatar

My second girlfriend was German while I lived there and she didn’t shave and I was quite OK with that. Hair pants are a different story!

SuperMouse's avatar

I do not have a problem with women being unshaven, I wouldn’t think you were freaky at all. My boyfriend actually prefers for me not to shave. I went a long time without doing so but eventually I shaved. Now, with winter coming I might just go ahead and give it up until after the thaw in spring.

Nullo's avatar

It’s a bit unnerving at first.

Just keep in mind that the better you look, the better you’re treated.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

When I see women who don’t shave, it doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve been around other people who see it and automatically think the women are butch lesbians, which is completely ridiculous – and I get offended when I hear shit like that. Edit: I don’t get offended because someone assumes a woman is a lesbian. I get offended when someone bases their “reason” for assuming off of something that shouldn’t be indicative of sexual preference one way or the other.

I also don’t care if men shave – which seems to be happening more and more. To each their own. I’m female.

stardust's avatar

It doesn’t bother me either way. Personally, my desire to conform to preposterous beauty norms/regimes and so on are dwindling by the day.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

It’s your body, your opinion. But since you asked, yes I find it unattractive and in fact I don’t personally know anyone who wouldn’t find it unattractive. My husband says he finds it so unattractive that not shaving would keep him from dating a girl who otherwise was attractive in every other sense.

Gamrz360's avatar

@BBSDTfamily He’s right its your body your opinion.

perg's avatar

@stardust Agreed – this is about 50 percent of why I stopped shaving (ingrown hair/skin allergies is the rest of it).

I do understand that it’s unappealing to some people. I find very hairy men unappealing as well. I think the difference is that it’s socially acceptable for women to wear sleeveless tops in many situations, where men don’t wear them except in the most casual circumstances so you don’t see their body hair. Bearing that in mind, I generally don’t go sleeveless much – but it’s been in the 90s and up most of this summer, so I’ve gotten the occasional hairy eyeball, as it were.

Facade's avatar

As others have said it’s abnormal in the US culture, so it’ll catch people off guard, but there’s nothing wrong with it. I prefer to shave underarms, legs, and genitalia bare, and have the majority of hair on my head, but that’s just me; I’m big on grooming.
Do whatever makes you comfortable, but be prepared to deal with ignorance.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Do whatever you want, it’s your body. However, I do find it unattractive, and wouldn’t date a woman who didn’t shave them. Call it shallow, but if we’re in a relationship, it’s important that I want to jump your bones every now and again. But there’s also things like that I don’t find long hair on men attractive, and wouldn’t date a man with long hair. Everyone has their own turn-ons and turn-offs, and not shaving is one of mine.

laureth's avatar

Luckily, I’m willing to bet that non-pit-shavers like me wouldn’t want to date folks who demand shaved pits, so it works out all around. Shaved-Pit-Demanders are probably higher maintenance individuals in other ways, too, that I don’t have the energy to deal with.

wundayatta's avatar

Help! Call 911! I think I’m having a hearth attack!~

Jude's avatar

I have more of a problem with a woman with eyebrows that aren’t waxed/tweezed than unshaven pits. But. that’s just me.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@mama_cakes I don’t mind the ungroomed eyebrows, but when women shave them off and then draw them back on, it freaks the crap out of me.

Jude's avatar

@papayalily Yeah, I can do without the sharpie. :)

deni's avatar

it freaks out weirdosssss!!!

Jude's avatar

@deni I love you (in a non-weirdo kinda way)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@laureth I’ve known some really high maintenance non-shavers, and some really laid back shavers. I think it’s a totally different aspect of someone’s personality.

laureth's avatar

@papayalily – Of course, the grand panopoly of humanity will never be condensed into a single sentence of Fluther fluff. ;) But I have found that the Shaved Pit Demander boyfriends also liked me to do things such as Facial Plucking, perfect make-up, matched fashion accessories, and probably wanted me to use one of these torture devices. These are things that I’ve been unwilling to spend much time on, as I would rather do things like read, write, pursue hobbies, and sleep in, than sacrifice precious time and pain at the altar of beauty.

perg's avatar

@papayalily I get to sleep half an hour later since I gave up makeup and styling my hair.

(Jeez,will people think I’m a hideous slob after this conversation? I’m really quite tidy, I swear.)

tragiclikebowie's avatar

Personally, I never wear make up or do my hair unless it’s a special occasion.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@perg Wow, it takes me a maximum of 5 minutes every day. Brushing my teeth takes the longest.

@laureth One of my hobbies is having sex, and looking a certain level of attractiveness is often a key part of getting someone to do it with you. I’m really ok with spending an extra 10 minutes a day making myself look nice if it means I get to have an orgasm later. I went without makeup or doing my hair or putting on nice clothes for 3 years, and didn’t come anywhere close to sex. I wasn’t really happier that way – I like the balance.

Coloma's avatar

I went for years way back when not shaving my legs. I always shaved my pits.

It’s a personal thing and nothing wrong with the natural scene. Some people are extra hairy and so are more obvious to others.

I am very blonde and my body hair has always been very light and sparse to begin with, even my armpits.

I have resumed shaving for a lot of years but still can let the legs go now and then. lol

Jude's avatar

I don’t always shave my legs either. In Canada, the winters are long and cold and having furry legs is sometimes a good thing. If I was with a fella and he complained, well, I’d tell him to lose his gut, as well. Psssh…

Most of the time they are shaved, though, as I wear stockings for work and stockings don’t feel all that great on your legs, when you’re legs are hairy.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Freak out? No. Find it extremely off putting? Yes, very much so.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t shave anywhere and never have.

Axemusica's avatar

Noticing that a female (BTW I’m a male) has not shaved her bits, doesn’t bother me. Hey if that’s what she wants to do, whatever floats your boat I guess. I for one wouldn’t date a female that didn’t shave those bits.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Axemusica Pits, not bits. Shaved bits is a whole different thread.

Axemusica's avatar

@papayalily I said bits, for a reason. Any of the things mentioned above are a must, the whole different thread has some exceptions based on things that would be better said in that other thread.

perg's avatar

@papayalily @laureth Sorry, my previous answer re timing was aimed at @laureth. But yeah, @papayalily I don’t know how you do five minutes. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t getting sex when I wore makeup – I was doing it wrong.

Seriously, though, I haven’t noticed the lack of makeup has made a difference in anybody’s sexual interest in me.

ETpro's avatar

I actually prefer the natural look. I know I am not in the majority in the US. I think European standards are much more toward the natural look.

Mom2BDec2010's avatar

It doesn’t bother me when people don’t shave. It’s their personal choice.

kissmesoftly's avatar

Hairy legs don’t bother me, but pits…yes. Even on guys. I don’t know why, haha. My father never had much body hair so I grew up never really seeing it….and the fact that the hair actually traps the bacteria that live in the sweat and make the smell stronger.

My suggestion: Do what you want, just be sure to use a lot of deodorant, or people wont be able to tell you bathe.

P.S. ditto with the hair and make-up. I decided it was too much a hassle and I look better without. The less make-up the better my skin.

DominicX's avatar

I’d probably be a little freaked out, yeah, only because I’ve never really seen it and I wouldn’t be expecting it. I associate it more with Patty and Selma on The Simpsons, who are supposed to be gross. :P But of course I don’t mind it when guys don’t shave their pits; I actually think it makes them hotter. Just different standards I guess.

Of course I’m not “opposed” to it or anything; that would be ridiculous.

ETpro's avatar

@DominicX “Of course I’m not “opposed” to it or anything; that would be ridiculous.” Amen. It seems pretty silly to call going natural an unnatural act.

judochop's avatar

@laureth I disagree with the shaved pit’s being more “high maintenance.” I find most hippies who don;t shave to be very pretentious and super lazy.
Caring about shaving is not to make high maintenance it is just maintenance.

augustlan's avatar

Even though I said up there ^^ that I prefer the shaved look for arm pits and legs, I confess that I rarely shave my own legs. My leg hair is very blond, and I’m very lazy. ;)
The pit hair is light red, and only takes five seconds, so I keep up on that.

tb1570's avatar

I’m a guy. It doesn’t bother me, in fact on some women I find it ultra sexy. But I must confess it absolutely depends on the amount and density of the hair, and also the other appearance factors of the female in question. On an otherwise very feminine female I find it a total turn-on . Hairier than me and I must admit I’m turned off. And I actually do prefer smoother legs. My current gf doesn’t shave either her legs or under her arms, but her leg hair is so fine and sparse as to be almost non-existent, and her underarm hair is also quite sparse, in fact, I would like if she had a little more under there!! ha ha!

laureth's avatar

@judochop – People seem to be confusing who I think is high maintenance. I am not saying that pit-shavers are high maintenance (although they sometimes are). I am saying that people who demand shaved pits have their own high maintenance trip, and I often don’t want to put up with it.

For example, I also wouldn’t date someone who demanded that I perfectly set the table for high-style dining and cook a seven course meal every week night. That’s high maintenance, and very off-putting. (Just an example of high-maintenance, not necessarily connected to pit-shaving.)

@papayalily – That’s one of my hobbies, too, and luckily I have a husband who is not a shaved-pit-demander. On the other hand, I’m also unattractive anyway, even with shaved pits, so it didn’t make much of a difference when I did shave them – I didn’t get sex anyway.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@laureth But… Shaving your pits takes 5 seconds in the shower every day. Seven course meals takes several days. I don’t understand how asking that someone else maintain a certain level of grooming and hygiene can be equated with asking someone to spend more time than they have creating fancy meals. All workplaces and almost all places of worship require some form of dress code, but I don’t see you accusing them of being too demanding. And I’m not asking that everyone in the grocery store shave their pits, or even any of my friends – just the one person I’m sleeping with. I have no problem if they demand that I brush my teeth regularly, or refuse to suck on my toes until I get a pedicure. I don’t see that as too demanding, I see that as having a baseline of standards.

SuperMouse's avatar

@papayalily what is not hygienic about hairy armpits? I see no reason why anyone should require I do anything with my body hair. I would not date someone who demanded I shave, it seems not only high maintenance as @laureth puts it, but ridiculously narrow minded and pushy. Seriously, comparing dress codes at places of worship and hairy armpits is really comparing apples and oranges.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@SuperMouse The hair traps the bacteria in the sweat and makes it smell more. Intense B.O. does equal bad hygiene in my book. And again, I’m not saying everyone does, just someone I’m dating. I haven’t met a person yet who didn’t have some physical characteristic that they found a turnoff, so please don’t act like by admitting I don’t care for it I’ve somehow said that I expect all my women to look like Twiggy.

SuperMouse's avatar

@papayalily it is absolutely your right to consider it a turn-off, but to compare it to the need to brush your teeth or wear modest clothing at a religious gathering is insinuating that you think it is something that should be universally frowned upon. FYI, not shaving my pits have never caused me more intense body odor, as long as I shower and use deodorant I smell fine.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@SuperMouse I didn’t mean to insinuate I think it should be universally frowned upon. I just don’t like it when people seem to say that it’s fine to have standards at work or in religious settings, but not in our dating lives, and anyone who disagrees is high-maintenance, narrow-minded and pushy. I think that “natural is better” is the flip side of “unnatural is better”, and both contend that they are the superior mode of thought and are intolerant of those who might find differently.

diavolobella's avatar

I confess that I do not like hairy pits on women. That said, I do not like hairy pits on men either – I’m just more accustomed to seeing them on men, so it’s less surprising. I’m not suggesting that either men or women should shave their pits, just that I don’t like looking at anyone’s hairy pits, if it comes right down to it. I prefer that people wear shirts that cover their armpits if they are going to be doing some activity where their arms will be raised continually or if they have so much bushy pit hair that it sticks out under their lowered arm. I realize when swimming, working out, etc. it’s kind of hard to avoid exposing your pits. Most of the time though, if I can’t see your armpit (which I hope is the case) I won’t know one way or the other and won’t care. I think it’s just one of those arbitrary things that either bugs you or doesn’t and you might not even know why. For instance, I like men with chest hair and I like a little bit of facial stubble from time to time, but I’m totally grossed out by actual beards and mustaches. I couldn’t tell you why, but they utterly skeeve me out. So, who knows?

As far as hair styling and makeup, I style my hair and wear makeup because I like how it looks and feels to me. I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I think I look nicer and I like to look nice and feel good. If you feel good without bothering with that, then do what you feel.

GeorgeGee's avatar

Speak in French, and we won’t mind at all.

laureth's avatar

@papayalily – It appears as though we have a different baseline of standards, then, and vive la difference. This is part of my point. If I cannot meet the standards of a potential partner, they are probably not the right partner for me. And having standards I can meet is one of my standards in a partner. That is all.

judochop's avatar

@laureth Seven course meals and shaving armpits? I don’t see what these two things would ever have to do with each other yet I kind of get your point.
I would require that my lover take the time (a mere few minutes or less in the shower) to shave the pits, and the legs and the private areas (or keep it neatly trimmed) (I realize this takes longer) however preparing a seven course dinner sounds ridiculous.
I just happen to find Buckwheat in a headlock and the afro below to be gross.

laureth's avatar

@judochop re: “Seven course meals and shaving armpits? I don’t see what these two things would ever have to do with each other yet I kind of get your point.”

The comparison: both things (pit-shaving and big-meal-cooking) are demands that I would find unacceptable, and thusly would not date the person making them. Is this a difficult concept for people to understand? They don’t have anything to do with each other, except that I won’t do them all the time for someone else.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@laureth It’s that you phrase it as an unreasonable demand, and call them high-maintenance. I could totally get on board if you said “I hate doing it, and if that’s a problem for someone then we won’t be a good match”. The way you’ve phrased it, however, it does seem as if you are comparing taking a few seconds a day for what most people do as part of grooming and compared it to spending days on one meal. It makes it seem like you think anyone who wants their partner to shave their pits is Mommy Dearest.

laureth's avatar

Let’s just say that the ease with which many women shave their pits (“it just takes five minutes in the shower!”) is not the same for everyone and leave it at that, ok?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@laureth If it takes you longer, than that sucks and I sympathize with you. But have you considered that maybe some people who usually wouldn’t date a woman who didn’t shave her pits might make an exception for a medical issue such as PCOS? Or that mocking me and demonizing me might not be the best way to win me over to your side?

Side note: Why does it take you so long? It sounds like there’s something getting in the way of what I might call “normal razor technique”. I’d be truly interested in learning what happens to make it such an encumbering process – I’ve never heard of it before.

laureth's avatar

@papayalily – I’m sorry if you feel I’ve mocked and demonized you, but that was not my intent. In fact, looking back on my quips here, I cannot find where I might have done so, but this (like many things) might be a place where perception, and not intent, is reality. In any case, I bear you no ill will whatsoever. Also, I do not care who is won to my side. Anyone who wants to shave pits can do so. I see my role here as providing a voice in the wilderness providing support for those who do not shave pits, and a message to those who demand it that not everyone will be willing to agree to it.

Side note: If you must know, I’ll send a PM. There are just some things I don’t want to leave all over the Internet, y’know?

mattbrowne's avatar

Only freaks would freak out, victims of mass media brainwashing telling people that pit shaving is an absolute must.

It should be an individual decision and we should respect this. Depending on the country you are in some people might notice either way and think, oh, quite unusual. But they would not freak out. Unless they are narrow-minded freaks.

In general, there’s less shaving in Europe than in the US.

zen_'s avatar

Freak me out? Nope. Yucky? Yep. But then, only you and your s/o should give a shit.

littlelau's avatar

I’m female.

For a long time I shaved every inch of my body, wore at least two layers of make up and generally ‘presented’ myself to the world. But to me thats all it is ‘presenting’. I stopped wearing make up because I realized that feeling bad if I didn’t have make up on was a pretty unhealthy view to have.

Now I’ve stopped shaving too – it’s high maintenance that I just cant be bothered with – and actually I feel more like a woman than a prepubescent since I’ve done it. I know society doesnt like it but thats their problem not mine – I can be 100% myself and feel beautiful that way – where plenty of women have to constantly groom to feel good about themselves, given the choice I know which route I’d take anyday :)

Oh and I live in the UK, shaving is the norm :)

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