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should i shave my armpits for my cousin's wedding?  RSS feed

 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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You only ask what I would do? I would shave my arm pits. Why? Because I am not alone, it isn't my party ...
There's a quote : "you can't please everyone, so you got to please yourself", but I think if it is possible to please someone else, not only yourself, you'd better do it
 
Todd Parr
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chip sanft wrote:My thinking would be: Your friend invited you. If she's the sort of person who would notice and mind unshaved armpits, and not everybody is, presumably she has already noticed and minded yours. So when she was inviting you, that invitation went to hairy you, not a theoretical bare armpit you. And that person -- hairy armpit you -- is thus the person who should attend. QED.


I can tell you why I disagree with Chip on this.  All situations are not the same.  For me it is not a binary equation, love hairy pits or hate hairy pits.  An example.  I have friends that are bikers, and bikers are much like hippies in a lot of ways.  Often unshaven, rarely conform to societal norms, free thinkers, ...  If I invite a friend to my wedding, I would like him to put on a clean shirt.  I love my friend, and I would do anything for him.  If he comes to my wedding in a stained, nasty-ass shirt with puke stains on it, I'll still love him.  You can say "you invite the dirty, nasty him to your wedding, that is who should show up" if you like.  To me, it is still a sign of respect if he puts on a clean shirt and doesn't stink at my wedding.  99% of the time, I don't care if his shirt is filthy and he stinks, it makes no difference to me.  If he wants to stand on a soapbox on the day of my wedding and scream "I will not change, this is who I am, I'm wearing a filthy shirt and I will not conform to society's wishes that I don't stink!", then so be it.  It isn't a matter of I mind stinky, stained shirts, or I don't mind stinky, stained shirts.  Maybe her friends don't mind hairy pits at all, except in their wedding photos.
 
chip sanft
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Todd Parr wrote:
chip sanft wrote:My thinking would be: Your friend invited you. If she's the sort of person who would notice and mind unshaved armpits, and not everybody is, presumably she has already noticed and minded yours. So when she was inviting you, that invitation went to hairy you, not a theoretical bare armpit you. And that person -- hairy armpit you -- is thus the person who should attend. QED.


I can tell you why I disagree with Chip on this.  All situations are not the same.  For me it is not a binary equation, love hairy pits or hate hairy pits.  An example.  I have friends that are bikers, and bikers are much like hippies in a lot of ways.  Often unshaven, rarely conform to societal norms, free thinkers, ...  If I invite a friend to my wedding, I would like him to put on a clean shirt.  I love my friend, and I would do anything for him.  If he comes to my wedding in a stained, nasty-ass shirt with puke stains on it, I'll still love him.  You can say "you invite the dirty, nasty him to your wedding, that is who should show up" if you like.  To me, it is still a sign of respect if he puts on a clean shirt and doesn't stink at my wedding.  99% of the time, I don't care if his shirt is filthy and he stinks, it makes no difference to me.  If he wants to stand on a soapbox on the day of my wedding and scream "I will not change, this is who I am, I'm wearing a filthy shirt and I will not conform to society's wishes that I don't stink!", then so be it.  It isn't a matter of I mind stinky, stained shirts, or I don't mind stinky, stained shirts.  Maybe her friends don't mind hairy pits at all, except in their wedding photos.


I guess I don't expect other people -- and especially not friends -- to conform to my preferences. It's my policy to accept friends as they are.
 
K Putnam
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I think there are occasions when it is important to show up as the best version of yourself.  I'll bet Joseph gives his beard a little trim.  I, heaven help me, go digging through my closet for my dreaded foe, the blow dryer.  We dig out our nicer clothes, wash our hands, trim our nails.  Showing up as the best version of yourself is a sign of respect for the other person's event, whether that be a wedding, dinner, funeral, whatever.  As my as I am loathe to get out of my yoga pants, they probably aren't my best self just because I'm comfortable.  So, when it comes to body hair, I think the answer is just whatever is the best version of yourself.

On the other hand, I did get myself thrown out of my sister's wedding party for refusing to wear a strapless gown and play the viola that I hadn't played in ten years in front of 400 people while she walked down the aisle.  Epic bridezilla fail. 

We could have an entire thread on what people do to each other surrounding weddings...but that would probably drive everyone to drink.
 
Jerry Sledge
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You might, also, wish to consider the opinion of the "Mother of the Bride" and how much consideration the Bride gives to her mother's opinion.
 
Deb Rebel
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K Putnam wrote:On the other hand, I did get myself thrown out of my sister's wedding party for refusing to wear a strapless gown and play the viola that I hadn't played in ten years in front of 400 people while she walked down the aisle.  Epic bridezilla fail. 

We could have an entire thread on what people do to each other surrounding weddings...but that would probably drive everyone to drink.


www.etiquette-hell.com  It started out as a bridal only then went to a general. Wedding Wednesdays if the admin is up to it, she still posts bridezilla stuff. And read the comments. Some of that is better than the original post. You can get lost in there for days.  She's been around since about 2000, and the newer site stuff is from 2009 on.
 
Todd Parr
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The biggest disconnect on this thread seems to be the one side thinking that they would have to change for someone, and the other side sees it as doing something for someone.
 
Judith Browning
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Todd Parr wrote:The biggest disconnect on this thread seems to be the one side thinking that they would have to change for someone, and the other side sees it as doing something for someone.


...and that's perfectly fine it is a personal issue and choice. I believe Cassie was just wanting to hear other views on it...I'm not sure I see a disconnect really or 'sides'...after all it's just hair and we're all just talking.  To me it seems like everyone is saying it's really up to Cassie and her cousin's comfort zone in the end.



 
Todd Parr
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Judith Browning wrote:
Todd Parr wrote:The biggest disconnect on this thread seems to be the one side thinking that they would have to change for someone, and the other side sees it as doing something for someone.


...and that's perfectly fine it is a personal issue and choice. I believe Cassie was just wanting to hear other views on it...I'm not sure I see a disconnect really or 'sides'...after all it's just hair and we're all just talking.  To me it seems like everyone is saying it's really up to Cassie and her cousin's comfort zone in the end.





I didn't mean it to sound like I thought there was something wrong with it, or with either opinion, just thought it was interesting to see that the discussion seemed to be lining up along those lines.  On the contrary, many of my favorite discussions have been when I have someone I know and respect, like some of the people in this thread, that seem to have exactly the opposite opinion from mine.  There is much less to be learned if everyone sees everything the same way.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Just a tip...if you do decide to shave, a splash of witch hazel can usually prevent those itchy, red razor bumps.
 
Judith Browning
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I didn't mean it to sound like I thought there was something wrong with it, or with either opinion, just thought it was interesting to see that the discussion seemed to be lining up along those lines.  On the contrary, many of my favorite discussions have been when I have someone I know and respect, like some of the people in this thread, that seem to have exactly the opposite opinion from mine.  There is much less to be learned if everyone sees everything the same way.


...that was me then, reacting to what I thought I heard as an 'either/or' comment...things are never very black and white for me...usually pretty fuzzy  
 
Todd Parr
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Judith Browning wrote:

I didn't mean it to sound like I thought there was something wrong with it, or with either opinion, just thought it was interesting to see that the discussion seemed to be lining up along those lines.  On the contrary, many of my favorite discussions have been when I have someone I know and respect, like some of the people in this thread, that seem to have exactly the opposite opinion from mine.  There is much less to be learned if everyone sees everything the same way.


...that was me then, reacting to what I thought I heard as an 'either/or' comment...things are never very black and white for me...usually pretty fuzzy  


No worries here.  I think many, if not most, internet discussions that turn ugly are because you can't read each others body language, or tone, or facial expression, and it can be hard to put all your thoughts into a post if you are like me and can't type   I usually post the short version, and things get left out, so I apologize for coming across wrong.
 
Colin Nelson
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Paul Busey wrote:
Colin Nelson wrote:The people who are most critical of body hair on women are women, from my experience.


Wow! Sorry Colin, but I really have to disagree. Not with your perspective, which is unique and true to your own person. But as somone who is very well traveled in the world, I see just the opposite being true. Also, women's fashion and grooming trends are currently set by men (pretty much globally). I have never met a woman that would shave legs, pits, privates/bikini if it were not for social pressure and male expectations(just ask a few).

So cudos to you Cassie, and again, sorry Colin, not trying to pick on you, I just really felt the need to try and add balance to what you wrote.


We probably run in different circles. I've got a lot of hippie-like lady friends, but I grew up in a female dominated southern conservative family (many catholic school attendees) and never heard anyone belittle or make fun of women with hair like I have heard from the females of said upbringing. I'm pretty well traveled myself, and find a lot of US views on women and their suffering pretty humorous when compared to the constant sexual harassment of women in Europe and India, or the oppression they face in Africa and the Middle East. That stuff is a whole different discussion, and those places really have a lot of male based oppression of females, cultural and institutionalized oppression...real serious, not even remotely humorous, stuff.

But here in the US...women are really mean to one another in many ways, on different levels. It's really weird, actually, how focused they are on other women. Social conventions on style and "hygiene" are focused on to a scary degree. My best male friends are very opposite of me...they like conventional American women and the standards of grooming they have been held to since the early 1900's, but they don't really say mean things to or about women with hair. None of them have ever said anything to me about the women I date, though females have multiple times. Maybe its because my close male friends know I'd just dismiss the criticism, and the women think I care what their opinions on it are. I don't.

No hard feelings or criticism taken for your reply.

I'm curious as to what Cassie's decision is, or if she talked to her friend.

Remember that shaving is a fad, sold by marketers, just like the clothes with holes in them and frankly things like the pledge of allegiance...none of them are old, none of them are the cornerstone of our society, it's just new age propaganda that's been profitable for the last 100 years.

I flag the "shave club" sponsored ads on social media as offensive, because I never met a man or woman who was less valuable to society due to the hair on their body.

(I actually have beef with Joel Salatin over his required grooming to work with him, but I digress...he can demand whatever he wants on his own farm.)

p.s.
Be careful blaming men for the marketing of women's fashion. The people who market that stuff are not speaking for any significant minority or majority of men, they are simply selling things without regard to the impact it has on society, because they are horrible and disgusting people who sit in ivory towers and never really have to face the results of the poison they distribute to people. They are rich, sheltered, people who do not see you and I as humans, they see us as profit. (and tons of them are women..also, no offense to rich people because I love rich people, just not those rich people that don't have to live with the impacts of their choices.)

Just my 2 cents.

There has been a lot of good advice on this thread but I still think the best advice is "talk to your friend".
 
Victor Johanson
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Just compromise--shave one pit!
 
Marco Banks
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It's the most active thread on Permies.  That's saying something.

If your value is "F the man, I'm not giving into your stupid cultural expectations", then where do you draw the line?  It would certainly seem that attending a wedding, complete with its flowers, punch bowl, vows, stuffing cake into each other's faces, etc. etc. is playing to all sorts of cultural expectations. 

If you're in the photos, I'm assuming you are in the wedding party?  Will you wear the bridesmaid dress?  Carry the flowers assigned to you?  Walk in step to the music?  Women stand on one side with the bride, men on the other?  Toasts and dances and rings and tying cans behind the car?

You get what I'm saying?  Why draw the line at arm pits, when there are all sorts of cultural expectations laden on these things?  Layer upon layer of cultural expectations.  At some point, you kind of have to go along with it all or not go along with anything.  You can't really agree to be a part of the wedding party, and then pick and choose which of the expectations you'll agree with.

Shave.  Then tell yourself, "It's the higher ethic of love, even though I think it's a stupid expectation  . . . just like all the groomsmen dressing like penguins is a stupid cultural expectation."

Or just wear something that doesn't expose your pits. 

Whatever you do, don't let it ruin your day.

 
Wes Hunter
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I'm of two minds about this.  Seems to me we live in a remarkably self-centered culture that is far more concerned with what "I" want than with how my decisions affect others.  Seems to me we also live in a culture that is far too concerned with what other people are doing and whether or not they fulfill our standards.  Thing is, that all applies to you and to the wedding couples equally.

Myself, I find it far preferable to be in a place where I'm focused more on those that I love and how I can please them than on what it is that I want, or my opinions on things.  But I also do my share of saying "That's stupid, and I don't want to do that."

That's not an answer, I understand.

I also tend to approach things from a rather practical angle, which I think is relevant here in a few ways:

1. There are very few scenarios in which I can imagine a wedding photographer saying, "Alright ladies, show me your armpits!  Arms up, now.  Beautiful, beautiful!"  So I have a hard time seeing how hairy pits could have that much of an impact.

2.  Even if there was some visible hair, my guess is that in a couple years' time, if not sooner, the couples will just shrug it off.  And it's not as though every photo is going to be marred by your hairy pits; there will be plenty that would be deemed acceptable.

3.  If hairy armpits ruin the couple's day, I'd think they have some pretty big issues to deal with that go far beyond someone else's personal hygiene, and they should probably thank you for bringing that to the fore.

4.  Even if the photos are unmarred by hair, one might object to the potential response from the wedding crowd.  But though relatively uncommon, unshorn women are surely common enough that I shouldn't think the day-of talk would be much more involved than "Huh, that chick has hairy pits.  Oh, did I tell you the blueberry farm opens next week?"  It just probably won't be that big of a deal.

5.  I was a groomsman in a friend's wedding a number of years ago.  I foolishly assumed the tuxedo rental folks knew what they were doing, since this is their business after all, and didn't try on my tux until just a couple hours before the ceremony.  By then it was too late.  The pants were way too tight through the thighs and crotch and, if I recall, were probably an inch too short in the inseam.  They were uncomfortable, and this being before the heyday of skinny jeans they just looked goofy.  (Skinny jeans would look goofy on me anyway.)  So I stood in my spot in a somewhat awkward position to better hide the funny fit, but ultimately realized that no one at all cared what I looked like; this wasn't my wedding.  Point being, when all's said and done, I don't think anyone will care about hairy pits in the least.
 
Deb Rebel
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Bridezillas have lost their, um, fertilizer for a lot less than a hairy armpit, trust me.  Cassie asked for some opinions, they've been flying fast and thick and across the spectrum. When in doubt, ask.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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It's just that simple. ASK. But, don't wait too long. If she says she'd prefer that you shaved and you just can't bring yourself to do so, she needs time to find another bridesmaid (if it's "shave or you're out".)
 
Cassie Langstraat
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WHOOAAAA!!! I LOVE THIS! Thank you SO much for all of the thoughtful, encouraging, varying responses!! I have only read like half of them so far but I am going to go through right now and read the rest!

I think I'm leaning towards the "just ask" route though, and I will make sure they know that they can be honest, because I have a tendency to engage in feminist rants sometimes, so I want them to know I defs won't do that if they say that yes, they do want me to shave. But yeah, going to finish reading. <3
 
Ana Leman
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Interesting dilemma.
I have 2 weddings to attend this summer & I don't shave either, so I appreciate your question.
Personally, I am not going to shave. Why, I'm not sure why. I can go either way. What is comes down to is, I just don't feel like it. I'm not sure I can justify my opinion to others satisfaction, but I will attempt to here
I have not shaved my pits or legs for 8 years. I occasionally feel awkward standing in line with shorts on and hairy legs, but I find it good practice in dealing with my emotions relating to embarrassment. Otherwise, I'm cool with it.
I really understand what people are saying with taking other people's feelings into account. My boyfriends family reunion is coming up, so I asked him if he wants me to shave my legs/pits for it. It's the first time I have considered asking someone (even though I have been with him for 7 years). He said no. (He is actually the one who sent me to this post, hehe...) If he said yes, I probably would have. Maybe that makes me a pushover, I can't tell. But I do know that I am open, leaning on the side of not wanting to shave.
Off the top of my head you have a couple of things working for you at a wedding. 1. most wedding dance-parties are low-lighting 2. you don't have a reason to raise your arms unless your dancing perhaps! 3. your hairy pits (& legs if that's the case) probably won't show up in photos (that may be wishful thinking) 4. If you do get picked up by a guy, you'll know he must be ok if he is ok with a girl who has hairy pits! That may be a good way to weed them out. (no pun intended) 5. one less thing to do and less itching!
Good luck. There is no right or wrong. Hope this helped.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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One bride down, and one to go. (and yes, I *am* in the bridal party for both of the weddings, just as clarification for some folks who asked.)

I said to my cousin:

Hey you. I know this is ridiculous, but just something that I wanted to run by you. Do you care whether I shave my armpits for your wedding or not? You can be honest. Because I've thought about it and I totally will if you want me to, the day is about you lovebug. I promise I’ll wear deodorant either way. 😉

and she replied:

Ha no I really don't care ! If it bothers people then fuck em haha ya I have a feeling we will being go through the deodorant because it's gonna be hot !!

Hahahahahahaha I LOVE IT.

Classic example of me over-thinking everything. HAIRY CASS FOR THE WIN. <3


PIT KITTENS PREVAIL:




Well, we'll see what bride 2 says.


I really do appreciate everyone's feedback. Like some of you have mentioned, I really was just curious to hear what people thought about it. Just an interesting predicament that I thought some of my permies friends would *get*.

So yeah, I enjoyed reading everyone's comments. Maybe I'll post one of the pictures from the wedding here.





 
Karen Donnachaidh
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Little smiley one, you was a'sweatin' it for nothing. The next wedding, being a good friend, should be even smoother. Don't worry.

(Julia Winter, thanks a lot. I had "Map of Tazmania" stuck in my brain for days.)
 
Dawn Hoff
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Colin Nelson wrote:
Paul Busey wrote:
Colin Nelson wrote:The people who are most critical of body hair on women are women, from my experience.


Wow! Sorry Colin, but I really have to disagree. Not with your perspective, which is unique and true to your own person. But as somone who is very well traveled in the world, I see just the opposite being true. Also, women's fashion and grooming trends are currently set by men (pretty much globally). I have never met a woman that would shave legs, pits, privates/bikini if it were not for social pressure and male expectations(just ask a few).

So cudos to you Cassie, and again, sorry Colin, not trying to pick on you, I just really felt the need to try and add balance to what you wrote.


We probably run in different circles. I've got a lot of hippie-like lady friends, but I grew up in a female dominated southern conservative family (many catholic school attendees) and never heard anyone belittle or make fun of women with hair like I have heard from the females of said upbringing. I'm pretty well traveled myself, and find a lot of US views on women and their suffering pretty humorous when compared to the constant sexual harassment of women in Europe and India, or the oppression they face in Africa and the Middle East. That stuff is a whole different discussion, and those places really have a lot of male based oppression of females, cultural and institutionalized oppression...real serious, not even remotely humorous, stuff.

But here in the US...women are really mean to one another in many ways, on different levels. It's really weird, actually, how focused they are on other women. Social conventions on style and "hygiene" are focused on to a scary degree. My best male friends are very opposite of me...they like conventional American women and the standards of grooming they have been held to since the early 1900's, but they don't really say mean things to or about women with hair. None of them have ever said anything to me about the women I date, though females have multiple times. Maybe its because my close male friends know I'd just dismiss the criticism, and the women think I care what their opinions on it are. I don't.

No hard feelings or criticism taken for your reply.

I'm curious as to what Cassie's decision is, or if she talked to her friend.

Remember that shaving is a fad, sold by marketers, just like the clothes with holes in them and frankly things like the pledge of allegiance...none of them are old, none of them are the cornerstone of our society, it's just new age propaganda that's been profitable for the last 100 years.

I flag the "shave club" sponsored ads on social media as offensive, because I never met a man or woman who was less valuable to society due to the hair on their body.

(I actually have beef with Joel Salatin over his required grooming to work with him, but I digress...he can demand whatever he wants on his own farm.)

p.s.
Be careful blaming men for the marketing of women's fashion. The people who market that stuff are not speaking for any significant minority or majority of men, they are simply selling things without regard to the impact it has on society, because they are horrible and disgusting people who sit in ivory towers and never really have to face the results of the poison they distribute to people. They are rich, sheltered, people who do not see you and I as humans, they see us as profit. (and tons of them are women..also, no offense to rich people because I love rich people, just not those rich people that don't have to live with the impacts of their choices.)

Just my 2 cents.

There has been a lot of good advice on this thread but I still think the best advice is "talk to your friend".

How are European women more oppressed than women in the US?
 
Dawn Hoff
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Congrats Cassie, being open and honest with your cusin was the right answer.

I am European. Most women my age shave, but we are the first generation to do so (something something about body ideals imported from across the pond). Elderly women in Spain, BIG mamas sit on the beach in their bikini and certainly not all of them shave (they wouldnt have had the time back in their day). I remember being appaled by my mothers hippie friend who didnt shave for her own 25 wedding anniversary - and I thought it was some kind of political statement... but I also remeber, at the same time being surprised that half my boarding school could be gossiping about the fact that I went to breakfast one sunday morning not wearing a bra... (half of them had gone to american schools prior to being sent home to the fatherland to learn "culture" and "values"). My american friends tell me that European women have a much more body positive view of themselves - little children even bathe naked on the beach and no one bats an eye...

Where do I want to go with this? I dont really know, just a tale of culthral differences i guess? I dont shave - but it isnt a political statement, more out of lazyness I guess. My husband once told me that he didnt care,  but if I wanted to shave it would definitely be prettier if I did it every day... no way Im going to spend that much time on something that brings me  no joy what so ever. But if I am wearing a really pretty dress, I might do it anyway, because I think it looks prettier. It really isnt that important to me.

As you did I would also ask the bride to be what her oppinion was , and then also think about the friendship afterwards if she knew how important it was to me and still asked my to do something against my deepest beliefs, just because of aestetics... and you asked and you confirmed that she did indeed not care one bit about your unshaven pits - she cared about YOU and you being in her wedding because she loves you and wants your support on this important day in her life. I think that is so beautifull 😍
 
Rebecca Norman
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Here’s my story, from the bride’s perspective.

When I got married some 20 years ago, the groom was from a different culture and wouldn’t have a clue, so I decided that we’d better have a best man and bridesmaid to help things run smoothly, even though our family doesn’t really go in that type of wedding. Well, my sister, who had never worn a skirt or dress in living memory, wore a dress that day. I still worry if she felt compelled to wear a dress, but she graciously claims she’d somehow decided to wear the dress herself.

She hadn’t realised she was actually the bridesmaid, because when I’d told her on the phone, I’d followed it up with a joke about requiring her to wear a fluffy pink dress, which was obviously preposterous. So when the time arrived a day ahead for the walk-through, my sister was on the roof with a hammer, and said she hadn’t known I was serious about having a bridesmaid, least of all her.

The next day, she was in a flowered summer dress like a typical wedding guest. I was flabbergasted. She didn’t wear a dress for her own wedding! I hadn’t even wondered what she would wear, and if I had, I would have expected pants: the whole event was a mishmash of cultures and costumes anyway. I hope I didn’t cause her to panic and get hold of a dress in a hurry the night before the wedding, and I hope she wasn’t uncomfortable in it!
 
Jim Fry
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I am surprised there is so much talk about this subject. It really is so simple, but folks seem to want to grind their corn finer and finer till nothing is left. Personal grooming isn't the issue. When you are alone you do what you do with your body, language or behavior because that is what you do. That's who you are to yourself. But when you are with other people, what matters more is how you respond to what is now a social situation. You don't wear clothes at a nudist colony. You don't walk down city streets without clothes on. You don't swear in Church. You generally don't want to stink of compost at a party. And you try ought to stay sober at a temperance meeting. ...Unless you really want to get noticed. If you think there is any chance your friend, or others, might notice or take issue with your grooming, wear a shirt/blouse with sleeves. There is no requirement that you make a social or political statement everywhere you go. At a wedding, it is the bride and grooms day, no one else needs to be the center of attention. Shave or don't shave, cover up or don't cover up. Those are personal choices. Trying to be appropriate at someone else's event is what actually matters. --That is, if you want to try to get along.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Response from bride number 2 has arrived!

I sent her the same message:

Hey you. I know this is ridiculous, but just something that I wanted to run by you. Do you care whether I shave my armpits for your wedding or not? You can be honest. Because I've thought about it and I totally will if you want me to, the day is about you lovebug. I promise I’ll wear deodorant either way. 😉

She said:


Holy crap! Sorry I didn't text you back sooner. I saw your text at work and then got distracted. You're so cute aha I love you! I really don't care ☺️ I would prefer it be where you couldn't see in photos but other than that I don't care one bit! You're perfect the way you are 😍😘


So...... She kind of said yes and no. Lolol.. I'll probably just shave it for hers then, just because I don't want to have to be like "um sorry photographer, I can't stand in the way you're telling me to because then my armpit hair will show and the bride said she doesn't want that." ahahahahaha


 
Thyri Gullinvargr
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Jim Fry wrote:If you think there is any chance your friend, or others, might notice or take issue with your grooming, wear a shirt/blouse with sleeves. There is no requirement that you make a social or political statement everywhere you go. At a wedding, it is the bride and grooms day, no one else needs to be the center of attention. Shave or don't shave, cover up or don't cover up. Those are personal choices. Trying to be appropriate at someone else's event is what actually matters. --That is, if you want to try to get along.


Given that she's a bridesmaid at both weddings, she might not have as much choice as normal about what she wears...
 
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I didn't realize Casie was wedding party. Um, keep arms down during the photos, ask about using a thin small shawl or scarf around shoulders for the pictures (the art of coverup). If it's dressy enough or right style, get some cheap lace fans for all the attendants and for the posed pictures, a bit of strategic blocking/coverup. There are many ways to deal with arm kittens other than mowing.
 
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I'm really late to this party - maybe too late for the wedding, but thought I'd share anyway.    I would think about two things,  first whether my attachment to not shaving is an unwavering political statement and value, or just a casual rebellion because you think shaving is a stupid waste of time.   If it's political, then you have to decide if it's so important that you can't compromise for a day for someone else's pleasure.   I consider shaving in the same category as any other personal grooming choice.  How often you wash your hair, do you style it, brush your teeth before going to work, don't fart in front of others.   One can be rebellious and say "I shouldn't have to do those things just because the social norm says I should".   That's technically true - but to be stubborn about those things also says you don't care if you offend others.   I wouldn't bother asking those girls because they'll be nice and say it's up to you even if they would prefer you shave.   I would also take into consideration what kind of wedding it is.   If it's a formal wedding with the bridesmaids all in cookie cutter dresses and hairdos and nail polish and jewelry, then you're already bending to her wishes for the sake of her big day so what's one more thing.   All bridesmaids grumble about style and cost, etc. but do it to be nice.      I like the other responses that shaving might be a sweet gift to give your cousin and friend.   It's such a minor thing for you to shave for a day and as someone else said, if you're already feeling anxious about this then you won't have fun at the wedding if you don't shave.   I was also a braless women's lib gal of the 70's but now it just doesn't seem that important - there are bigger battles to fight right now.
 
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If you were my cousin and came to my wedding with fluff sticking out from under your pits I would be very unhappy and probably never forget. Since the vast majority of adults think pit hair on women should be eliminated, I think for once you should try to please the establishment. Then, you can return to your Tarzan/Jane lifestyle. You don't have to prove to her friends and the rest of the family you prefer a la naturale. And after you graciously make an appearance, I reiterate, go back to what makes you happy. If you choose not to shave, at least wear something that covers up what others might see as crude. Could you manage to put on a dress (sleeveless if you prefer) and wear a stylish, sleeved bolero over it?
 
Simon Malik
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I imply no judgment in this, and only want to inject a counter perspective.. I think there's a wisdom not in mindlessly conforming, per se, for the sake of conforming, but in tactically allowing oneself to temporarily conform to some norms or customs as a comfort to other people,  when it comes to major rites of passage events like weddings, funerals, graduations, etc.

Personally, speaking only for myself, the one main law or rule I follow is to comfort others in their ceremonies and formal social contexts, as long as doing so doesn't cause grave or mortal offense to my ethical standards. If I'm uncomfortable wearing something or doing something socially, but it doesn't absolutely violate my ethics and mores, then I believe in doing so if it comforts another socially, when I am a guest. If it does deeply violate something I hold dear then I won't show up. If I'm host then I expect the same, but forgive others if they don't see it this way.

At a neo-pagan friend's handfasting I will wear whatever they request, which the last time I attended one was simply "Don't dress up like a stuffed penguin, come as you are" So I was informal for their sake.
At a family member's funeral where I was a best man that involved me wearing a suit, tie, and pair of shoes of a color that I found absolutely atrocious, I did so without complaint.
At a more traditional family member's funeral I absolutely will wear a black suit.
At a Jewish friend's son's bar mitzvah I will wear a kippah in their temple.
At a Muslim Janaza funeral I will stand in line, and say the Janaza prayer with them.

These celebrations, really, are the modern remnants of crucial social rites of passage. They are social rituals, whether secular or religious, the context is still ritual and violating the unspoken norms deeply upsets what's effectively a ritual space. Even if the participants aren't aware of this, it's actually at the threshold of their consciousness, which is why they react with such great offense when someone does violate a norm that they couldn't even articulate, if they tried.

At weddings, funerals, birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, it becomes more about the other person, not the self. Every culture has social standards, non-conforming to some may be admired as courageous, and non-conforming to others may be deeply upsetting.

A cross-cultural perspective. When it comes to shaving it doesn't even have to be about gender. In North Africa, where my wife is from, everyone shaves. Men and women.

It's considered to be more hygienic, given the climate and the propensity to sweat, there's something to that. Shaved armpits will tend to smell less strong because there is less surface area for bacteria to grow. In Maghrebi, North African, cultures the European custom of not shaving is often seen as crude and uncivilized. Sort of like only using toilet paper and not washing when you go to the bathroom. Which is something that befuddles Algerians and Moroccans, they are like "why in the world would you not wash down there, and certainly why don't you shave?"

Cultural attitudes differ. In North America, when a female wears a top which exposes the upper arms, not to shave is seen as crude. But for men to shave their armpits in general is often seen as effeminate. Now I grew up in a family that, well, shaved. I as a young man shaved my armpits and elsewhere. This is because even though I'm American, in my specific family that is what I was taught and seemed normal. It's never been an issue because male fashion tend snot to lend itself to displaying the armpits, unless one's shirtless at a beach.

For some people shaving their armpits is an objectionable social custom, perhaps sexist or unnatural, and part of a double standard that they find offensive. The problem is that when it comes to events like weddings which are all about highly ritualized displays and conducts of certain social norms (and weddings, like funerals, most certainly are communal rituals) one has an event that is really about communal social celebration of a threshold event in another person's life. For me the thought of causing them offense during a highly emotional collective celebration and ritual observance of norms that they find comfort it unsettles me. It feels like a rejection of *them*. If that's the case then I simply, personally, wouldn't attend s wedding that required me to violate a deeply held ethical belief. But that too would cause offense, explaining to them that I didn't attend a celebration of a vital event in their life because something about it offended me and my sensibilities.

So then faced with that, my general attitude - and I speak for myself only - would be to "suck it up and go with the flow."

Cultures differ, and as individualistic as American society is I'm amazed at how much non-individualistic cultural negotiation really is needed. Take me as a cultural perspective, I'm an American by birth and rearing, but grew up in a family where, likewise, shaving your armpits and pubes was considered to simply be hygienic and sensible. Gender didn't enter the picture. So, having done so through my teens and early adult life it was some time before I became aware that the idea was controversial. I find not shaving, for men and women, to be slightly gross but my attitude is "whatever works for you."

For my wife, however, and it sounds horrible, but she finds people not shaving to be absolutely filthy. It's difficult for her to even understand why someone would do that. However not to shower for a few days on your period is no big deal, because in her culture it's believed that a woman bathing or showering during her period is potentially unhealthy.

Most Americans would find that gross, however. So one sees, cultures and their standards and norms really do differ. For my wife throwing away perfectly edible rinds of certain fruits or vegetables is absolutely sensible, but leaving a water tap on for a moment longer than needed is an almost unforgivable act of wastefulness. And breadcrumbs or kitchen waste must always, always, be fed to the birds or squirrels.

I hope that nothing I wrote came across as preachy, judgmental, or offensive.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Simon Malik wrote:

I hope that nothing I wrote came across as preachy, judgmental, or offensive.


I don't think it did at all! And I think the points you brought up were extremely valid and helpful!

It was part of why I brought this up, was because I was conflicted about whether to just suck it up and go with the flow, to honor my friends, or to not. So in the case of the one who seemed like she genuinely didn't care, I will not worry about it for her wedding. But for the other one who seemed like she might care a tiny bit, I will likely shave for hers.

I definitely want to honor and lift them up on this extremely special day for both of them.
 
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Cassie Langstraat wrote:
Simon Malik wrote:

I hope that nothing I wrote came across as preachy, judgmental, or offensive.


I don't think it did at all! And I think the points you brought up were extremely valid and helpful!

It was part of why I brought this up, was because I was conflicted about whether to just suck it up and go with the flow, to honor my friends, or to not. So in the case of the one who seemed like she genuinely didn't care, I will not worry about it for her wedding. But for the other one who seemed like she might care a tiny bit, I will likely shave for hers.

I definitely want to honor and lift them up on this extremely special day for both of them.


Not a judgement at all but from your perspective, is not shaving your armpits a situation where you really feel that you're standing up for something, or is it more a matter of it's just easier not to and you don't see a reason to, so you don't?  It seems some people actually feel strongly that they are giving in to something if they shave, and I'm curious what that thing is that they are giving in to, or giving up?  Maybe just not wanting to give in to societal pressure or ?  I'm very curious because to me shaving or not is so non-important.  I don't say that to downplay anyone's feelings on the subject that feel differently, its just an idea that is really foreign and hard to grasp for me.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Todd Parr wrote:

Not a judgement at all but from your perspective, is not shaving your armpits a situation where you really feel that you're standing up for something, or is it more a matter of it's just easier not to and you don't see a reason to, so you don't?  It seems some people actually feel strongly that they are giving in to something if they shave, and I'm curious what that thing is that they are giving in to, or giving up?  Maybe just not wanting to give in to societal pressure or ?  I'm very curious because to me shaving or not is so non-important.  I don't say that to downplay anyone's feelings on the subject that feel differently, its just an idea that is really foreign and hard to grasp for me.


It's partly me being lazy and not wanting to shave because it hurts and takes time. It's also partly a conscious decision to reject the societal norm (in america at least) that tells us that natural body hair is inherently *gross* and *unattractive* for women to have, but normal for men to.

Because it's not *inherently* gross or unattractive. Somewhere along the way, someone started telling us that. It's fine if someone thinks it's unattractive in their own, individual opinion, but I just think it might be important for them to examine that opinion and think about *why* they think that.

Is it because they genuinely think it's a hygiene issue for men *and* women? That's fine. (As long as there is no double standard there. I have heard the "it's a hygiene issue" argument used about why women should shave and I'm like "Oh is it? Interesting how men have managed to not shave since the beginning of time and *not* have it be a hygiene issue for them..") 

Or is it just because that's the way they've seen *attractive* women presented to them their whole lives? 

Just things to think about.

So, I got a bit off topic from your question. But the answer is this. Yes, it's the societal pressure that I am rejecting. No, I don't feel like it's the end of the world if I do shave. I am not that militant about it. It's just something I personally don't choose to do, and something I think worth considering on a bigger picture every once in a while.

 
Dawn Hoff
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Cassie Langstraat wrote:
Todd Parr wrote:

Not a judgement at all but from your perspective, is not shaving your armpits a situation where you really feel that you're standing up for something, or is it more a matter of it's just easier not to and you don't see a reason to, so you don't?  It seems some people actually feel strongly that they are giving in to something if they shave, and I'm curious what that thing is that they are giving in to, or giving up?  Maybe just not wanting to give in to societal pressure or ?  I'm very curious because to me shaving or not is so non-important.  I don't say that to downplay anyone's feelings on the subject that feel differently, its just an idea that is really foreign and hard to grasp for me.


It's partly me being lazy and not wanting to shave because it hurts and takes time. It's also partly a conscious decision to reject the societal norm (in america at least) that tells us that natural body hair is inherently *gross* and *unattractive* for women to have, but normal for men to.

Because it's not *inherently* gross or unattractive. Somewhere along the way, someone started telling us that. It's fine if someone thinks it's unattractive in their own, individual opinion, but I just think it might be important for them to examine that opinion and think about *why* they think that.

Is it because they genuinely think it's a hygiene issue for men *and* women? That's fine. (As long as there is no double standard there. I have heard the "it's a hygiene issue" argument used about why women should shave and I'm like "Oh is it? Interesting how men have managed to not shave since the beginning of time and *not* have it be a hygiene issue for them..") 

Or is it just because that's the way they've seen *attractive* women presented to them their whole lives? 

Just things to think about.

So, I got a bit off topic from your question. But the answer is this. Yes, it's the societal pressure that I am rejecting. No, I don't feel like it's the end of the world if I do shave. I am not that militant about it. It's just something I personally don't choose to do, and something I think worth considering on a bigger picture every once in a while.


LOL

When I was a boarding school as a teenager the rules said "for hygienic reasons boys are not allowed to have long hair or pierced ears" - I always wondered why the long hair was considered hygienic on girls but not on boys...
 
Todd Parr
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I used to work at a club that had a dress code of no tank tops.  In Phoenix.  Where it is over 100 for months at a time.  Of course, it only applied to men.  Women could wear shorts and a bikini top and it was fine.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Yup! Double standards abound!

It's important to be aware of them and call them out wherever they occur. Because they are fucked.
 
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