Overruled By Hormones

Overruled By Hormones

I tried not shaving for a few months, in late winter, as a test …to see if I could resist the internalized idea of what feminine beauty is. Surprisingly, I was not disgusted at the sight of hair in my armpits, though it hasn’t made a real appearance since puberty. However, as the weather warmed up and the tanks came out, my unshaven state began to assault my superficial sense of self, causing an under-arm-obsession. Awkwardly I gazed at my reflection in different poses, from a distance, to see how obvious the hair was.

This self-consciousness about my own body, in its natural state, caused some disappointment…I mean, I’m a natural blonde, so the hair wasn’t even noticeable unless you stared intently, in the sun, at my armpit. What if it was dark black and straight, cascading downward, and outward for all the world to see? Could I handle people’s revulsion, including my own disgust? The realization dawned upon me that although I’m lazy at times, and the process of removing body hair is tedious, my vanity prevents me from becoming an all natural beauty crusader.

To understand my internal motivation better I did some research on why people care so much about looking good. It turns out that our desire to conform to society’s standards of sexual attractiveness is anchored in our biology. We want to attract the best mating partners for the advancement of our genes, so we attempt to be superlative specimens ourselves. We want to mate with those who stand out from the crowd; who have put forth an effort to approach mating seriously. I feel fortunate to not have a pubic hair line that reaches my belly button.

Though I may be off the market, and not in my twenties anymore, I am still a fertile woman. My hormones are compelling and even commanding me at times to be sexually attractive for potential mating because the window of opportunity to produce babies is shrinking as menopause approaches. Our bodies are telling us to have more sex, more frequently, to get the same results we would have had when younger. According to University of Texas psychologist David Buss “Our female ancestors grew accustomed to watching many of their children — perhaps as many as half — die of various diseases, starvation, warfare and so on before being able to have kids of their own. This trauma left a psychological imprint to bear as many children as possible. Becoming pregnant is much easier for women and girls in their teens and early 20s — so much easier that they need not spend much time having sex. After the mid-20s, the lizard-brain impulse to have more kids faces a stark reality: it’s harder and harder to get pregnant as a woman’s remaining eggs age. And so women in their middle years respond by seeking more and more sex.”
So I concluded…there is no battle to be fought here. I am an animal, as well as a product of my society.

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Coffee. Beer. Climbing Tall Things.

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