A lady with hairy arms
February 22, 2013 11:36 AM   Subscribe

How can I not be self-conscious about the hair on my arms?

I feel like many of my questions are vain, but in all honesty, I've done a lot of work when it comes to accepting myself. I'm pretty happy with my body, my hair, and my face. There's one thing I'm still not comfortable with: my arms. I have shaved them for 12 years, ever since a guy in middle school called me teen wolf. Then a few months ago I decided to let the hair grow in and bleach it, which has made it less noticeable but it's pretty long and I just feel disgusting and masculine and like if a guy ever got close to me and saw them he'd run the other way. I'm not interested in anything like electrolysis, and I'm not opposed to shaving them again but even that leads to the occasional "You shave your arms?!" question, plus I'm tired of having to shave them everyday and make sure I'm not prickly.

I was at the gym today and one of the trainers I usually talk to grabbed the hair on my arms and started pulling on it. I immediately recoiled because like I said, I'm so self-conscious and now I can't stop thinking about the whole thing. How big of a deal are hairy arms?
posted by thank you silence to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (57 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It's completely and utterly normal, so normal I don't even really notice it on other women. At all.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:38 AM on February 22, 2013 [12 favorites]

It's completely and utterly normal, so normal I don't even really notice it on other women. At all.

posted by CathyG at 11:40 AM on February 22, 2013 [9 favorites]

+1 for never, ever noticing.
posted by functionequalsform at 11:40 AM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Hairy arms are not a big deal and people don't notice it except on themselves.

A trainer grabbing your arm hair and pulling on it is, however, a big deal and you might want to consider complaining about that.
posted by jeather at 11:41 AM on February 22, 2013 [31 favorites]

WHAT?! Did someone seriously grab the hair on your arms and start pulling it? That is a big deal -- because it's totally inappropriate! I'm totally un-self-conscious about arm hair and if someone did that I'd be pissed. Man! That is shitty.

That was the only thing that stuck out for me in your question. Otherwise? +1 to having never noticed. I am a woman. I cannot think of what the arm hair of any of my friends, acquaintances, or enemies looks like.
posted by AmandaA at 11:42 AM on February 22, 2013 [6 favorites]

Totally normal.

And that also means that the trainer who pulled the hair on your arms is a fuckbag, as well, and you should tell him off if he ever does it again.

(Seriously, who the fuck does that? Would he like it if you randomly grabbed his beard and pulled it or something?)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:43 AM on February 22, 2013 [7 favorites]

Oh, and I should add: I think most women have gotten some sort of comment about their appearance at JUST the wrong time in their teens, and taken it to heart for years and years afterwards. As a young teen I heard some guy say offhand that short hair on a pretty woman was a waste. I didn't cut my hair short again for almost ten years. But the thing is... THAT GUY WAS NOT THE ULTIMATE ARBITER OF FEMALE BEAUTY... and neither was your douchy teen classmate.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:43 AM on February 22, 2013 [38 favorites]

If you're worried about how big a deal they are to men, I can tell you that I never ever notice. My wife thinks her arms are hairy, but I never even thought about it until she mentioned it. Middle school age boys are, without exception, terrible people and idiots, so I wouldn't put any stock in what one of them did 12 years ago. There's really no reason to be self conscious about it, although obviously a world where people are only self conscious about things for good reasons is a fantasy world.

Learning to accept that it's no big deal is probably the best way to deal with it, but if that's not possible (and there are any number of totally good reasons why it wouldn't be) think about waxing. It'll hurt a bit, but it will reduce the hairiness over time and doesn't require daily shaving.

Also, who pulls another person's fucking arm hair? That's weird as hell.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:44 AM on February 22, 2013

I have super hairy arms and I've felt self conscious about it too. You're not alone.
posted by purple_bird at 11:44 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

How hairy? I mean, if it's like the before here, I would have said that was WELL within the range of normal and done nothing about it. If it's dark or thick enough to bother you, I would encourage you to not shave it but rather to wax it with home waxing strips.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:45 AM on February 22, 2013

one of the trainers I usually talk to grabbed the hair on my arms and started pulling on it.

This is completely inappropriate. Like, completely and wholly inappropriate, and is something that a nosy busybody aunt or something would do (and it would still be weird and wrong even then). You should tell the gym manager. Inappropriate touching of any kind is just gross and awful.


I recommend you just go for it. When I was younger I was really self conscious about my body hair because it's dark and I have really fair skin, and all I could think was, "aaahhh everyone can SEE it!!" I mean, I even have knuckle hair. There, I said it. There was a girl in my class, I remember, who had unusually long arm hair, and I was actually jealous of her because she didn't seem to let it bother her at all, and I wished that I could have that kind of blase attitude toward my own body fuzz.

A couple years ago, for no particular reason other than laziness, I just stopped letting myself fuss about it. I stopped shaving my knuckles, I stopped fretting that my arm hair was too dark or too expansive, I just stopped.

And it became ok because I stopped tending to it. Instead of being A Thing that I had to face and do something about every day, it quickly turned into something I didn't even notice.
posted by phunniemee at 11:46 AM on February 22, 2013 [8 favorites]

I would find shaved arms (unless you are a competitive swimmer/cyclist/triathlete) much more jarring and noticable in a bad way than any amount of arm hair. People pick up on their cues from you and your own attitude, so decide it's a non-issue, or that it rocks.
posted by availablelight at 11:47 AM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Darling bri, maybe twice as hairy as that and dark. But bleaching makes it less noticeable. There's just so damn much.
posted by thank you silence at 11:47 AM on February 22, 2013

I imagine that mostly I just don't notice it, like others are saying, but I have actually noticed hairy arms on one particular woman. I thought she was sexually attractive both before and after noticing it, and in fact, after noticing, it was kind of a little "sexy different" thing to me, rather than just "different" (and certainly not "disgusting and masculine").

Guys in middle school are, generally speaking, jerky dumbasses, and I'd suggest stopping worrying about what one particular jerky dumbass said to you twelve years ago.

The thing from the trainer sounds totally bizarre.
posted by Flunkie at 11:48 AM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'd be pretty pissed off about that idiot trainer, but other than that please don't feel bad about having (gasp!) hair on your arms. How unfortunate that some junior high twit can still have such an effect on you today - you don't deserve that.

Personally I think you should just own your arms. Mine are hairy, too; combined with the fact that they're also kind of long and I enjoy waving them about when excited, my partner says I have Muppet arms ... personally, I think that's kind of fun!
posted by DingoMutt at 11:49 AM on February 22, 2013

Dude here. I have never noticed arm hair on women. And this may be kind of surprising, considering my arm hair (which is luckily naturally blonde) can reach lengths exceeding 3 inches. I kid you not. I am a long-arm-haired freak of nature, and sometimes I worry that my freakishly long arm hair will make me a permanent outcast from society one day.

But guess what? Nobody cares about my arm hair either.
posted by Grither at 11:49 AM on February 22, 2013

Kids are mean. Adults are mean too, but still. I say go for it. Fuck everyone else. Like available light said, if you play it off like its NBD, then people will act like it's NBD. There are girls out there who fucking rock armpit hair. And when I look at them, I don't think "eww, hair!" No. I think "God DAMN she's such a BAMF!"

*nbd=no big deal; BAMF=bad ass motherfucker.
posted by FirstMateKate at 11:50 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sometimes I think of my hair as a pelt and how I'd have an evolutionary advantage if we were living in caveman times, out in the wilderness. It makes me feel strong or kind of badass. A survivor. So there's one re-frame you could try for how you think about it.

It may take some time to get used to having hair too, since you've been shaving it for so long! Maybe give your mind some time to catch up to this new way part of your body looks.
posted by purple_bird at 11:51 AM on February 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'm also a lady with hairier than usual arms. The first time I got teased for it, was in the 3rd grade. I shaved my arms for the first time in the freakin' 4th grade, when I borrowed my older sister's razor. Then a number of years later when I was learning how to drive, the driver's ed instructor PET MY FUCKING ARM WHILE I WAS DRIVING! It was humiliating, especially since there were 2 of my peers in the car. I hated that asshole instructor, even though he was the sought after "cool" driver's ed instructor that others raved about. Scumbaggy jerkwad.

That was half my life ago, and I'm much more comfortable with my hirsuteness. I'm half Italian and half Pakistani, and my genetics just set me up this way. Sometimes I shave my arms, sometimes I let the hair grow out. It depends much more now on how I AM feeling, rather than my concern about what others think. The older i get, the less it bothers me. I'm a mammal. Deal with it.
posted by raztaj at 11:53 AM on February 22, 2013 [4 favorites]

Hot wax is far better than shaving, regrowth takes a few weeks and isn't as stubble, unless ineptly done. If you can't reconcile yourself to hairy arms, I'd recommend you try that instead of shave or bleach. Salons often do 'half arms' as a cheaper option if it's just your forearm.
posted by tavegyl at 12:00 PM on February 22, 2013

If you want to have some arm hair, but you want it to be shorter, why not use one of those electric hair/beard trimmer things?

When I was about 10 some kids teased me about my arm hair. Now that I'm an adult woman, sometimes I shave my arms but most of the time I don't. Nobody seems to care much either way.
posted by steinwald at 12:03 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

That trainer is a douchbucket and way, way out of line.

I don't really notice it on women, other that sometimes realizing that is exists, because everyone has it.

If you do want to remove it, I'd suggest getting a professional wax. Waxing you own arms at home sounds tricky if you don't have someone to help you. Also when you go into a salon, you'll see that they have a price listed for an arm wax because a million women have come in before you and asked for the very same thing.
posted by inertia at 12:04 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Agreed with all of the other responses about the inappropriateness of the trainer's actions. Man, that's just crazy.

I had some IPL (laser treatments) a couple years back on another area and love, love, love the results. It's a good option if you have fair skin and dark hair, not so good otherwise. I think it's best (and certainly cheaper!) if you can learn to live with it, but I know I finally opted for the IPL, so I get where you are coming from.
posted by Currer Belfry at 12:10 PM on February 22, 2013

I feel you. My arm hair is fine, but long so my arms look pretty fuzzy. Depilatory creams like Veet might work better than shaving to avoid prickly arm stubble, and are cheaper and less hassle than waxing.
posted by keep it under cover at 12:15 PM on February 22, 2013

I wouldn't notice and I wouldn't care. Unless maybe there was enough to braid or something.

I imagine most guys wouldn't notice or care. In fact, I know one guy who finds women with hairy arms super attractive - as in, that is his thing.

If it bothers you, it bothers you, and maybe you could see a therapist or something if you want to get over being bothered by it. But, I can tell you that you arms probably aren't as hairy as you think they are, and even at that, the few people who care to notice are probably into that. Whatever flaw you think you have, someone will find it adorable.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:15 PM on February 22, 2013

I shave my arms religiously because I hate the feeling of clothes on body hair. People notice and comment. Sometimes it is not positive.

My point? No matter what you do to yourself, there will be someone who notices and seems to think their opinion on why you need to change is relevant.

Tell them you can shave their arms, but they will still be a douchebag.
posted by haplesschild at 12:18 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Shaving can actually make it appear darker than it is because the hairs are getting sliced, whereas naturally they taper to a point.

My mom is like you (good old Italian genes) and she was self-conscious and started waxing her arms (she has a kit she can do it at home with). I, personally, think she doesn't need to, but it made her stop feeling self-conscious about it, so great.

The reason waxing works better than shaving is because when the hair grows back in, it has to completely re-grow and thus starts out tapered. Plus it takes longer to get to the surface, so you go much longer being hair-free (or short hair). Also, from personal experience, it seems that waxing sometimes kills the root of the hair and you get less hair growing back, and the hair tends to be thinner.
posted by DoubleLune at 12:19 PM on February 22, 2013

That trainer was beyond inappropriate. I would seriously call the gym for you. That is ridiculous and absolutely worth mentioning to a manager. Absolutely NOT OKAY.

Your arms are beautiful. You're at the gym. You kick butt.
posted by barnone at 12:19 PM on February 22, 2013 [8 favorites]

I've actually only noticed this on one women - it was quite thick and dark, and she was instructing a fitness class, so it was particularly noticeable. To be honest it didn't make me think she was less (or more) attractive. Just something I noticed.
posted by backwards guitar at 12:22 PM on February 22, 2013

Most women I know in LA who have body hair get it waxed. All over. Yes, the guy was a jerk, but if your arm hair bugs you, get rid of it. I used to bleach, now i wax. Easier, doesn't really hurt, and lasts for quite a while.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:22 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Arm hair is on everyone to various degrees. I'm with the people that just don't notice it! But if it bothers you, you could always have it waxed or threaded off in a salon. These options grow back more slowly than shaving.
As for that trainer touching you? A big HELL TO THE NO. I mean what if he had grabbed the hair on your head and pulled? Pinched the back of your arm? Tapped you on the butt? You would be rightfully furious because his behavior was inappropriate. I don't think him pulling on your arm hair is any different.
posted by fireandthud at 12:23 PM on February 22, 2013

I have similarly hairy arms, got similar comments as a preteen/teen, and shaved my arms for a while. Then I stopped shaving them out of laziness for a week or so in college, and ran out of fucks to give about my hairy arms. I just stopped caring about it. No one but my mom and cousin have commented on it, and then only to suggest waxing them for special events (which I declined to do, because see: out of fucks to give). That trainer was a dick and way out of line.

In my experience, I was way more obsessed with my arm hair when I was shaving it, and when I stopped, I just stopped even thinking about it. Just taking it out of my daily routine for a week or so was enough to make me stop feeling so self-conscious about it. Also it feels nice when it's not all prickly and stubbly.
posted by yasaman at 12:24 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I hesitate to suggest it because I firmly believe there is nothing wrong with you, but if you find you can't bear it, consider laser therapy. It works miracles.
posted by cecic at 12:25 PM on February 22, 2013

Literally 2 of the most beautiful women I've ever met have dark, thick arm (and knuckle) hair. I know they were self-conscious about it as teens, and I think accepting it in their 20s was an affirming experience for them both. It never kept either of them from romantic success, and it's the last thing anyone would ever notice about them now.

Not sure if this is the case for you, but to thin-haired me, it's always just seemed like nature's haughty footnote to the amazing, luxurious cascading locks on their heads.
posted by juliplease at 12:31 PM on February 22, 2013

Also it feels nice when it's not all prickly and stubbly.

Yes. I quite like my arm hair because it is silky! If someone grabbed it and pulled on it I would lose my mind. What the hell and also OW.
posted by redfoxtail at 12:32 PM on February 22, 2013

From your description, we probably have the same amount of arm hair. Every now and then I find one like 3 inches long, but for the most part, I just don't think about it. And I have never ever noticed another woman's arm hair. Just not on the radar.

It takes awhile after you stop shaving something for it to really settle in and look OK, because of what people have pointed out above: when you shave hairs, the ends are blunted, instead of tapered. So you've got to get past the initial regrowth and into a new hair cycle. (Hair is either growing, resting, or shedding.) Source: I've never shaved my arms, but I don't shave my legs in winter and there's a few months where they look gnarly before they settle in and look better.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:40 PM on February 22, 2013

My experience is as DoubleLune suggests: waxing made the hair grow back thinner and now I don't bother. I used to use these.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:46 PM on February 22, 2013

I too am a woman with ridiculously long and thick black arm hair, and used to be incredibly self conscious. I never wore bracelets, and hated sleeveless tops. I would scrutinize other women's arms and wonder what the hell was wrong with me. The [only] upside of that habit is making a mindful note of every (cool, beautiful, confident) chick ALSO rocking ridiculous arm hair and starting to feel some solidarity.

So, I guess I'm saying that if I were there, I'd offer you (a hairy knuckled) fistbump.
posted by lilnublet at 12:57 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Hair is normal. Anyone who calls attention to it in a way that makes you feel bad about it is a bad person that just posted a "NOT WORTH KNOWING" sign on their forehead.

So, to answer your question...it's not a big deal.
posted by inturnaround at 12:59 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

If I were you, I would totally just go get it waxed and not worry about it anymore. I mean, I don't think you NEED to worry about it now, because surely no one else is noticing it, and no one but you cares, I promise, but there is something to be said for removing the thing that bothers you rather than just Gritting Your Teeth And Learning To Accept It. I hate how fine my (head) hair is and used to stress out about it. So finally I got some extensions for volume and I feel so much better about how I look. It has decreased my life stress exponentially.

I don't think hairy arms are a big deal AT ALL, but they bother YOU, and you're not a shallow person for feeling that way if you do. I'd just go get 'em waxed once a month and enjoy not dealing with it mentally anymore. (Waxing will also make the hair grow in more slowly and it won't hurt on the arms that much.) Don't beat yourself up about learning to live with something that gives you angst if you can change it.

That being said, that trainer should be reported to gym management immediately.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 1:00 PM on February 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

I know you were not asking, but there are tons of men into hirsute women. I, for example, am really into unibrows. Body hair, in general, is a turn on to me because it is soft and feels nice to touch and locks in all sorts of delicious smelling pheromones.

I would probably find even a light moustache or facial hair attractive on a woman. I think this obsession with hairlessness in men and women is bizarre. Actually, I especially like seeing hair on a woman because it is a remainder to me she is a woman and not a prepubescent little girl.
posted by jalitt at 1:07 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

You know, there probably is some small fraction of society that is going to notice and disapprove of your luxuriant arm hair, even though most people won't notice it and won't give it a second thought even if you point it out to them.

Let's say, hypothetically, that you get laser treatments on your arms so they are smooth as a baby's butt. You've fixed this one innocuous trait that only a few people notice.

Will you be perfect then? No! You've probably got some other innocuous traits that, again, only a small number of people will ever notice. Like, I don't know, weird knee dimples or something. Are you going to fix them? No. You can't play whack-a-mole with these personal traits. And who knows, some people probably find these traits endearing.
posted by adamrice at 1:13 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I could have written your question. My arm hair has always been more substantial than the fine down my sister has. My hair is darker, coarser, and longer. It bothered me for a long time.

I used to shave or bleach. Then, I did laser treatments, which worked OK. Now, I'm on medication that is affecting my hair growth all over my body and seems to be slowing down my arm hair growth.

I have learned, though, that the only person my arm hair bothered was ME. I notice when other women have hair on their arms--but I don't judge. Who cares? I know it's hard to realize that--but usually, people are way more into their own obsessions, self-identified imperfections, and daydreams to actually consider something about another person at anything more than face value. And when people HAVE commented, it's generally innocuous. Like the nail technician at the nail salon--who commented I have hairy arms. Well, it's been my experience that they comment on everything: my hair color, my skin color, my natural nails, my daughter's height, etc. So I blow it off.

You have two issues here. One, the trainer who actually laid hands on you and grabbed your arms--wrong, bad, inappropriate. On every level. You should follow up on that.

Two, if you want to do something about it, go for it. Do what pleases you. If you don't want to shave/wax/pluck, then don't.
posted by FergieBelle at 1:38 PM on February 22, 2013

I have very dark hair naturally on my arms, and I shave them. It's just like shaving anything else. I don't get mistaken for a man anymore since I started shaving them.
posted by koucha at 1:55 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Elizabeth Taylor--one of the great beauties of the 20th century--had this.

Nthing reporting the creepy trainer to the gym management.
posted by brujita at 2:40 PM on February 22, 2013

I am very hairy with pale skin and thick, dark, coarse hair. My arm hair is enough to be noticeable as a different shade of skin entirely in film photographs, for example. But even though I have problems with body and facial hair and picking at myself and hurting my skin and being really embarrassed about leg hair, for example, I've never in my life thought having hair on my arms was bad or unfeminine. I mean, I have a mustache and everything, you know? In middle school I definitely knew girls who hated their arm hair and wanted to get rid of it - I always thought that was weird. Stubble on arms? Who wants that? For me, arm hair is just an aspect of being human, and is non-gendered, like having eyebrows or something.

Basically, I, a woman with hair-noticing issues, never notice other people's arm hairiness or lack thereof, and as an adult have never experienced other people talking badly or otherwise shaming myself or anyone else in my family for having hairy arms. This is not the case for other parts of the body at all.

If having hairless arms makes you happy about yourself, then wax them, because stubble is the worst. Or, you could use a little conditioner or something to keep the hair you have in a nice soft state. But it really isn't a big deal to other people, at all, and if someone acts otherwise they are totally out of line.
posted by Mizu at 3:20 PM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

What your trainer did was shitty. Seriously. Tell the gym.

I'm also hairy (thanks, Eastern European ancestry!). I have vampire skin and dark hair, so it's totally visible in real life and in photographs. I didn't care about it until my mom started pointing it out when I hit puberty, and I've been self-conscious ever since.

My skin is so transparent you can see the hair under the skin on my limbs, so I wax my arms at home with these. It lasts a long time, and it doesn't hurt all that much. You have to do it at night before you go to sleep, though, because it will turn your arms red if you have pale, sensitive skin. Just rinse your arms under cold water and wait. I also wear long sleeves sometimes when the hair is getting long and I'm feeling too lazy to remove it.

I don't judge other girls who have body hair. It actually makes me kind of happy when I see other girls from ethnic minority groups who have body hair because it means I'm not the only one.
posted by topoisomerase at 5:54 PM on February 22, 2013

Nthing "trainer was a douchebucket who was out of line regardless".

I have been told by a Brazilian guy that where he came from, women with hairy arms were considered sexy. Because that meant they had more testosterone than other women, and would therefore fuck harder in bed.

Don't kiss the jerks who have their heads up their asses about women's arm hair. Instead try Samba lessons.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:58 PM on February 22, 2013

You know, I've dated women with and without appreciable amounts of hair and it was never a deal breaker because I didn't really notice. The only time it ever came up was with one woman who had darker and more noticeable hair. She was the type who had electrolysis done on her upper lip. While cuddling in bed, I was stroking hair that she had below her lower back. It was just within my hands reach and honestly, it was soft and nice, but apparently (and understandably) she felt self-conscious about it.

Here's where our discussion came to conclusion from my point of view: yes, she has hair. Women often do. The hair that I was stroking was nothing like anything you'd have on a man - it was her and a part of her and I enjoyed it.

And I guess that's the take-away: ultimately, you want to be comfortable in your own skin and why should you take any guff from anyone who doesn't accept that? If that includes hair trimming/shaving/whatever, fine. And if it doesn't, guess what? Fine too.
posted by plinth at 7:10 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

> I have shaved them for 12 years, ever since a guy in middle school called me teen wolf

If you asked a middle school guy if you had hairy arms he probably would say yes. So you're not attractive to middle school guys. That's okay.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:29 PM on February 22, 2013

I do notice it and I like it. I inappropriately told my good friend in college she should emphatically nnnnot shave her arms when she was (as she put it) trying to be more conventionally attractive. It was inappropriate because it was none of my business. But I just love it so damn much.

I know what you mean about the middle-school attitude that keeps you worried into doing it, though. Example:

I went to the movies with my boyfriend in high school and there was a particular scene where the light in the scene kind of backlit the lead actress's (very fine, blonde) arm hair, and emphasized its slightly longer-than-average length. My boyfriend and his brother squealed with DELIGHTED DISGUST because making fun of a woman for having body hair is just so hilarious. I instantly lost about 50% of my respect for him in that moment. No lie. And I wasn't even a full-fledged feminist at that point, it just betrayed such a boneheaded ignorance about women and bodies that even as a teenager I knew I was wasting my time. And it turned out he was a fucker who tried to intimidate me and called me a "slut" when I broke up with him. So what I'm saying is, the kinds of guys who are going to really care-- who are going to look at your face and body and clothes and think "nice" and then look at your arms and recoil in horror and insecurity, or just judge you overall for the hair on your body-- are just dumb, a waste of time. They are probably not very sensual, they probably have a lot of inherited ideas about women they haven't worked out yet, and they're probably more trouble than they're worth. They'll say and do stupid things the whole time you know them.

I'm not saying everyone has to love body hair. I am saying that people who have a disproportionately negative response to it probably have a lot of unexamined ideas about femininity, and are going to be a pain in the ass. Thick arm hair on a woman is not something civilized people piss their pants over. And your trainer probably grabbed it because it was pleasing to the senses. (Though he/she definitely shouldn't have.)
posted by stoneandstar at 8:48 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Your question is how to stop being self conscious about it. The answer is the same for this as for anything else - it's a matter of acceptance. Decide how you want to be and go with it. You do t need to commit to anything or join some arm hair acceptance group and you are free to change your mind at any time. Just accept.

My wife shaves her arms. She has dark hair and it has bothered her all her life. I appreciate the shaved arms and it would be dishonest to claim otherwise but do not insist or even mention it one way or the other. If she stopped it would be no big deal.
posted by rr at 9:59 PM on February 22, 2013

My arms are hairier than a lot of men's. In fact only one boyfriend in my life had arms hairier than mine. Because the hair is so thick and curly and therefore extremely prone to ingrowns, hair removal is a no-go until I can commit to total electrolysis. When I'm feeling super motivated, I bleach. It makes a difference, to my own peace of mind. No guy (since the 6th grade, that is) has ever commented or complained. Obviously I am self-conscious about it, but I've learned that yeah, people actually do notice it, at least on me, but you look how look. You're as attractive as you are, as a whole picture, and only the lowest cretin is really going to be like Oh she's so pretty but ooooh wait that arm hair, nevermind. Like those guys who claim to only date women who wax all their pubic hair—who needs them? Ugh.

Anyway, I really need you to report back that you've had your gym trainer reprimanded and/or fired. Or please post back with their name and the phone number of your gym. Thanks. (Like 45% kidding)
posted by thebazilist at 10:31 PM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Haha, all the boys in gym class called me Lupita in middle school! Wolves unite. My sister epilates hers. I bleached mine a few times when I was little but the bleach made me itch and I finally just decided I was gonna own my pale, hairy arms.

My husband has less arm hair than me. Hell, my husband has less chest hair than me. We've had amused conversation about this, but honestly, I have ample evidence that he wouldn't have noticed most of my body hair if I hadn't brought it up.
posted by town of cats at 11:32 PM on February 22, 2013

I have quite blonde hairy arms. I'm pretty self conscious about them - especially in the winter.

I get arm hair waxed off when I get the rest of the hair on my body removed - I've found a waxer who just basically covers all of me in wax and rips everything off in one big session. Arms are much easier than other body parts and hardly painful at all.

The key to successful waxing though is resting the skin properly afterwards and then exfoliating like a maniac between appointments.

In this way I've avoided having to deal with becoming less self conscious about them.
posted by gomichild at 1:02 AM on February 23, 2013

I have hairy arms and really don't give a shit. Caring about this is entirely optional.
posted by 3491again at 2:10 AM on February 25, 2013

I'm still pissed at this trainer!
posted by barnone at 8:08 AM on February 25, 2013

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