nr's blog

Hair Apparent [1] 18 July, 2013

Filed under: Cycling — nr @ 4:49 pm

One question that comes up with worrying regularity when I tell people of my interest in cycling, is that of legs. Specifically, do I shave them? The main reason I find this worrying is purely one of taste and decency. It’s unhealthy for people to have an interest in my legs, for reasons that will become clear. So, without further ado, and to set the record straight, I do not shave them. There. That should at least stop people wondering what they look like, which if it doesn’t immediately make you feel better, just stop and think about them for a minute. There, I bet you don’t want to do that again do you? And now you no longer have to.

And of course, I have good reasons for not shaving them. These are, in no particular order:

Practicality: I’m not very good with a razor. Really, when I’ve had a shave of my normal man-beard, the rest of the family recoil in horror at the bloody mess left in the sink and the sight of dad looking like the victim of a horrific attack with some form of powered gardening implement. If I were to attempt to shave my legs, I think it would take the paramedics a good few minutes to staunch the flow, and then I’d have to endure the ride in the air ambulance, and I’m not good with flying.

Knowledge: So, say I weakened, and decided to shave my legs. How far up do I go? I am luxuriantly hairy downstairs. (See? I did say you didn’t want to think about this too often). I mean, do I  go *all* the way up? Or stop just above where my shorts come to? If so, I’d end up looking like I was wearing a pair of shorts made of the finest wookie hide. I don’t imagine that The Lovely Faye would be impressed with this.

Rebellion: To (mis)quote Groucho Marx, I don’t want to belong to a club that would accept people like me as a member. And it’s fair to say that the only reason that 99.9% of cyclists shave their legs is to demonstrate that they belong to a club. This is apparent at the first event of the ‘season’, even for a hopeless knobber like me who doesn’t do anything more competitive than the odd sportive. Here’s an example – the first organised ride I did this year was the No Excuses sportive, back in March or April or something. It was cold. It was raining. It was windy. It was muddy, it was miserable, it was really not the place to be showing off your legs. However, there were three classes of people there: Firstly, normal people, who hadn’t shaved their legs, and were just out for a non-competitive ride in the country. Secondly, the potential members of The Peloton – you could spot them a mile off by the fact that not only were their legs still luminously white from the winter hibernation, but they were also covered in a nice mix of shaving rash, stubble, and dried blood from the attempts to remove the hair. Thirdly there was me, who, as mentioned earlier, just looked like a wookie about to saddle up and ride off into the middle distance. And that’s just fine by me. I don’t want to turn up for a ride and for people to form some kind of bond with me based on the fact that we’re both mentally unstable enough to want to shave our legs before covering them in mud and horse poo on a ride through Northamptonshire.

Self-Esteem: As anyone who knows me will confirm, I suffer from a low self-esteem. Well, not suffer to be honest. I enjoy it most of the time, it forms the basis for a lot of my outlook on life, and stops me becoming a pompous arse. So, the very thought of me looking at myself in a full-length mirror to check I haven’t missed any bits on my newly shorn legs just makes me laugh heartily at its improbability. And the chance of me asking The Lovely Faye to either do the shaving or check me out afterwards for unintentionally hairy bits is even lower. I’m imagining the look of withering disdain that I’d get. No, I don’t think there’s anything positive that I could gain from this approach.

[1] Readers of Douglas Adams will immediately recognise this as a Drebley.


One Response to “Hair Apparent [1]”

  1. nealchampion Says:

    The ‘where do you shave up to’ question has always puzzled me, too. I’m hairy from about the collar bone down, and I can imagine getting up to the hip area with the razor, looking at my hairy stomach and thinking ‘now what?’

    Also…how far down do you go? Like a Hobbit, I have hairy toes. Do I do them too?


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