I was shooting the shit with a fellow instructor at the Pilates studio today. “I just think the women should shave their legs before coming to see me. It’s irresponsible. I have to touch them. Would it be so horrible if at the very least they wore long work out pants?”
Her eyes bugged out. “Are you serious?” She said this with great disbelief. I thought she was kidding, so I reiterated.
“Yeah, I’m serious. Are you serious? I’ve got to feel that shit.” I think she was genuinely appalled at my seemingly intolerant attitude.
“I don’t think it’s such a big deal.” At which point I glanced down at her feet, only to see several hairs, the length of yard sticks, coming out of each of her big toes. Of course she didn’t think it was a big deal. I curled my lip.
“All I’m saying is, I think it’s socially unacceptable and in bad form.” I didn’t really feel this strongly and militant about it, but I had her hooked and wanted to see how far I could go.
She looked at me like I wanted kids who wore glasses to be rounded up and hauled off to some remote facility in Jersey. “I’m just a little shocked.”
I was confused. “You’re shocked that I’d be anti leg dreadlocks and armpit nests? Why? Because I believe in saving the planet, a woman’s right to choose and gay marriage, so you think I’d believe in letting it all hang out? You can’t lump me in with the, my body hair is au natural and therefore beautiful, line of thinking people. I am not that girl. C’mon. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to think about your trainer and ask yourself whether they want to get their hands all tangled up in that mess.” And with that my fellow trainer smiled and walked away. Ah, agreeing to disagree.
I’m all for letting your freak flag fly but there’s a time and a place. And if I’m busting my ass helping you to obtain your optimum lengthened and most ideal posture (which I’m happy to do) then please, clean it up, because it’s not the time nor the place.
What kind of society would be if we thought it was acceptable for women to go to their gynecologists for their pap smears without showering beforehand just because it went against their daily hygienic beliefs and they wanted to save water? I’m not a huge fan of the shower. I’ve gone a day (or seven) without bathing, but I would never forego washing and shaving before a pap, especially since my doctor’s going to be up close and personal with my hoo hoo. Have some compassion. It’s the same thing with Pilates. I want my clients to think of me as their Pilatecologist.
I understand the whole, free to be you and me feminist angle. Wait, no, I take that back. I don’t understand it, nor have I ever really thought about it. I only recently read about the Second wave feminists and I still don’t understand what the big hullabaloo is about. Do what moves you, speaks to you and resonates with you, but I implore you to leave the leg and armpit vines at home. Yes, I’ve heard that for some it’s a cultural and social mores issue. Great, social more all you want, at home, not in the Pilates studio.
I get it. Shaving is a personal preference, not unlike foregoing red meat, or choosing a standard versus an automatic vehicle. However, when it affects another person, i.e. me, get that friggin razor out and start mowing. I never thought of shaving as a social or man conceived idea either.
And I know that certain Mediterranean cultures don’t consider it essential for a woman to shave her legs. My parents were hippies in the 60’s. I know that the whole unshaved legs became a natural thing to do during the “hippy” movement. Okay, fine, but if you’re going to train with me, and you’re unshaven, you better have been playing in the mud at Woodstock or recently moved here from Greece.
Fuck it. I’m liberated and I shave. What does that mean? Jesus Christ, must everything we do or don’t do, be analyzed, and given some deeper meaning, label, or attributed to some flaw in ourselves or society? Hairiness is unrestrained animal sexuality. Shaving keeps women in a state of innocence. Shaving denies a woman’s visceral self. Huh? Long hair and beards are for dirty hippies. Dirty foreigner v. Clean American. Someone has a lot of time on their hands, thinking about all of this. And now I’m beginning to think her name is Dani.
I just reread the above. “Wow, why the rage?” For one, because I do think that people need to have regard for others. My other truth goes deeper. Not too deep, perhaps just beneath the surface. When I look at my current situation and what I’m doing now; training to be a Pilates instructor after 20 years in the entertainment business (hanging with Jennifer Love Hewitt and Courtney Love-and others named Love) touching hirsute women, I wonder, with a mix of sadness and disappointment, “How the hell did I get here?”
When I was kicking it with studio executives and performing stand up comedy at the World Famous Improv, I never thought I’d move back to New York and become a Pilates instructor. The questions of how and why force me to retrace my steps (and missteps) and mull over every decision I made, every opportunity I lost, and every fear I let cripple me. I think I’m still mourning a life that would never be (that of a 19 year-old rock star/playing Streisand during the Main Eventyears in the movie of her life/Vegas Showgirl) and perhaps I still have more work to do accepting what is. I’m no genius but maybe this has something to do with my less than tolerant attitude.
I apologize hirsute women, but I’m coming from Hollywood; where anal bleaching and vaginal rejuvenation were born. You’ll have to be patient with me. A couple of hours after my confrontation with my fellow instructor, I looked over at her client laying on the mat, and saw the woman’s armpit. Oh, dear lord, I wish I hadn’t. That woman could’ve been a man. This acceptance thing may take a while.