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The Contemplations, Rants & Reminiscences of DavidB327

Something Sensational To Read On The Train

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Body Painting1

A year or so ago I mentioned an (article about being hairless) that I had published in the magazine Body Art.  I have finally dug out the article, which I have reproduced below.  This was in Issue 19 of Body Art Magazine, which if I remember correctly was published in 1993.  The article was entitled ‘Hairlessness’, under my pseudonym ‘Narcissus.  The text was accompanied with the photograph below.



“Ever since puberty I’d fantasised about being hairless.  I was initially influenced in this respect by images from science fiction of hairless humanoids and space-age humans.  However it was when I saw (for example) photographs of Rudy Gernreich’s shaved models and the “snake-woman” in the film Vampire Circus that it became clear to me that there were real people that were hairless.  Unfortunately, this was in an era where virtually everyone had long hair, and I was growing up in a northern industrial town, where any sense of individuality was frowned upon. 


In the summer of 1975 , after reading an article about Grace Jones, I finally plucked up the courage to shave my head for the first time.  Despite the fact that I loved the effect, I was (in my naiveté) shocked at being stared at in the street, and receiving verbal abuse (then, as now, I get shouts of “Kojak” fro yobbos in vans or on building sites).  Moreover, my family and friends were mystified as to why I should want to shave.  As a result I reluctantly let my hair grow back, and it was not until 1978 that I began to shave again.  This was during the punk era, when individuality in appearance was more or less accepted.  As I began to shave my head regularly, I also began to shave other parts of my body, until within a couple of months I began to shave completely, and have continued to do so ever since.


For me, there are two aspects to the appeal of shaving.  Firstly, appearance: In general, hairless bodies appear androgynous, graceful, streamlined, and less primitive than hairy bodies (and, as regular readers of this magazine will have noticed, a hairless body presents a wonderful canvas for body painting).  In fact, it was in response to my desire to reveal more of my body whilst nightclubbing that I initially started to shave other parts of my body – Psycle Sluts apart, there cannot be many people who consider that hairy legs and fishnet tights a desirable combination!  Which brings me to the second aspect, namely texture.  Smooth, hairless skin (on whatever part of the body) is so much more pleasant to touch than great hairy clumps.  There can be few tactile experiences as exhilarating as caressing a freshly shaved body to which moisturising cream has been liberally applied. 


I have met only one other person who is so dedicated to being hairless as myself – my partner SG.  We are both currently undergoing a course of treatment in electrolysis to have all of our body hair removed.  This will be time consuming, costly, and somewhat painful, but we are both determined to achieve our ultimate goal of having smooth, completely hairless bodies – permanently!“

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You actually got called "Kojak"? It's maddening but also funny when people yell stuff like that because you KNOW they're snickering thinking they're the first person to ever think of that. "Duuuuuh, there's a bald guy, bet noone's ever compared him to this other bald guy!" Yobbos, indeed.

Well ‘Kojak’ was the most common, but also ‘Skinhead’, ‘Skinhead Queer’, ‘Baldy’ and lots of times shouts across the street like ‘Hey where’s your hair gone?’ – the latter of course a rhetorical question. In the early days it happened almost every day (sic), and I eventually developed a very thick skin. Even at the time most people would not believe the extent of the verbal abuse I got, until they witnessed it for themselves.

It wasn’t just me that had to put up with this though. In the very early days of punk, I recall one occasion when was shopping in Manchester city centre, and I was walking a few metres behind a couple of young punk women, one of whom was wearing plastic clothes and had blue hair. The reaction of passers by was ‘rubber necking’ and whispered comments and giggles. However one not so old woman was visibly disturbed by this. She said quite loudly to her friend something like ‘That’s a disgrace. Who on earth does she think she is?’ It would have been wonderful to look back from 30 years later and be able to state that society is more accepting now. But no, and in many ways it’s much worse. I dare say the later but great Quentin Crisp was equally disappointed looking back to his experiences in the 1930s from old age.

The not so old woman's response reminds me of when one of my other friends shaved her heads and a woman working in a thrift store was giving her the third degree about it (as related by said friend to me later, since I wasn't there). The woman wondered did she have a boyfriend? Perhaps a nasty breakup (the uspoken question being was she a dyke)? When she said she just wanted to do it, the woman behind the counter shook her head and said something to the effect of, "I just can't understand why a young girl would go and do something like that..." I like to think that if I'd been there I could have had the wherewithal to say something like, "And I can't imagine why a GROWN woman would feel it's her place to judge and pass comment to her."

I admit, sometimes I see people who maybe are wearing things I personally find tacky or ill-fitting or they have a haircut I don't like or hideous tattoos (I like tattoos, but there are some real crap ones out there), but dear Lord, I just shrug and walk by, and I would NEVER think to stop them and verbally abuse them on the street. Just who does that help? It only adds more ill will to the world.

Aaaaanyway, thank you for posting your article for all of us to enjoy.

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Undergoing electrolysis in itself was not a problem for me. I seem to have quite a high pain threshold, which is just as well because it was painful. However when I originally wrote the article I was far too optimistic about the cost and the amount of time it would take. Although I was pleased with the results, after having a 2 hour session once per month it became apparent fairly soon that I would have to devote a lot more time and money to get the job done. So at the moment the electrolysis is on hold, but not forgotten.

Consequently for the foreseeable future I have my head and body. I don’t have a problem with cutting myself as I always use an electric razor. I’ve got sensitive skin, and when in the past I tried to use wet razors I had real problems with cuts on my face and neck. The modern electric razors shave pretty close. It is rather time consuming, but for me it’s worth it.

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