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Does facial hair make me a witch?

Posted on Friday, June 11, 2010 in fears, Me

When I was little we went to the Methodist Church each Sunday and always sat in the same pew. (There must have been de facto assigned seating.) Around us were people I knew and felt comfortable and safe with. Except for one woman in the row in front. She had facial hair. That clearly meant that she was a witch. Everyone knows that witches have moles and hairy faces. I don’t think this woman had a mole, but she definitely had a mustache. So she had to be a witch. Except she was in church. I wasn’t sure if witches could get into a church or not. And I didn’t know why the adults around me weren’t scared of this woman. But I was sure she found some way to both worship God and be a witch. Adults were always coming up with strange logic to explain themselves. I was always afraid that she’d look at me and know that I knew she was a witch.

Me with a mustacheSo one of my biggest fear about aging has been that I’ll get facial hair and turn into a witch. Or maybe just a bitch. I must be well on my way because I do have a few strong and healthy hairs that grow on either side of my mouth. I try to keep them well plucked. Sometimes my vigilance wavers, the hairs grown and I find myself actually playing with them. My tongue seems determined to seek them out and wiggle them back and forth. I’m betrayed by my own tongue. My tongue loves those hairs, but I do not. They mark me.

It’s not that I am particularly turned off my facial hair on women now that I’ve grown up and better understand folk and fairy tale illustrations. I spent several years not shaving my underarm or leg hairs. It’s not like I think women should look prepubescent. I have friends with polycystic ovarian disease so I assume they have facial hair, but I’ve never really paid much attention. It doesn’t matter to me. I certainly don’t assume that they are witches. You have to have both wrinkles and facial hair to be a witch.

I just have this lingering sense that in my case, a few hairs on my lip or chin might signal a personality shift. As if each hair might represent an old resentment. As if each hurt or wrong I’ve experienced and not forgiven finds its way out via a facial hair. A long, strong, black facial hair. People will see this and know that I’ve grown old and bitter.

So how do I deal with this? I look up “women mustaches” on Google. People online are cruel to women with mustaches. Now I’m scared of my face showing up on one of those sites. But I’m still not going to wax. Too painful and I’m too much of a princess to stand for that. And I’m too much of a cheap peasant to spend money on electrolysis. So when you see me and my witch hairs, don’t assume that I’m evil or a bitch. Just know that I’ve been too lazy to pluck them. Or just assume you won’t be kissing my lips and try to ignore the hairs. And I’ll try not to frighten your children.

  1. I’ve noticed that you’ve always noticed other people’s facial hair. Didn’t know it was related to fear of witches! Funny.

  2. One of the hottest women I’ve ever known (a bartender in SF) had chin stubble. Didn’t matter to me because she was insanely sexy. As for me, I’m a witch, even without the facial hair!

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