Last week I discovered my first gray pubic hair. I knew it was going to happen. I just didn’t know it was going to happen at 40.
Beyond the fact that the REAL message of this discovery was that I was long overdue for a pussy waxing, my one shining silver pubic hair was a surprise reminder that our bodies are always in transition. Always changing.
I remember the day about ten years ago that it first really struck me that I was aging. I could no longer deny those tiny (but growing) lines around my eyes. I realized in that instant that I had somehow thought aging wasn’t going to happen to me. I mean, I’m a nutrition nerd, I work out. I’ve always looked younger than my actual age (a phenomenon that was devastating as a 13 year old being offered the kiddie menu, but that I certainly learned to work to my advantage in adulthood). “Not aging” was a completely irrational thought that I didn’t even know I was carrying in my body! Everybody ages. We are embodied beings and that’s how bodies work.
I thought I had come to terms with that reality and had committed to noticing and accepting without judgment (if not celebrating) the subtle shifts in my body over time. A little more gray, a few more wrinkles, changing skin texture, more visible pores. I thought I was doing pretty well, taking it all in stride, until the day I realized that my vulva “looked different.” I don’t even know if I can explain to you HOW it looks different, it just does. Would it be weird if I said she looks a little less perky? The outer labia just not quite as “full” as I remember them being? I had never heard anyone talk about this, and I was not happy the day I put this all together. Not her, too! Would no part be spared the relentless forward march of time?? I’ve spent a lot of time with my vulva and had no problem telling her (and anyone else who would listen) how pretty she was (is). I think accepting that her appearance would change over time was harder to accept than my face showing my age. The latter I expected. The former—what the fuck??
I’m celebrating it as a sign of maturity (get it?? I did that on purpose there) that discovering my first gray pubic hair didn’t inspire the slightest bit of emotional upheaval or existential crisis. Maybe in part because people had TOLD me it would happen. But honestly, I found it hilarious and got immense joy out of telling everyone I could about it. I sent text messages. I left voicemails…and now I’ve blogged about it.
So from this 40 year-old queer femme with one gray pubic hair to you, whatever change you’ve noticed in your body today or last week or this year, and whether you celebrate it, resent it, or aren’t sure what the hell to think, I’m here to remind you that we’re still sexy, and there’s so much more to come. Meaning good stuff. Sexy stuff. But also yes. More gray pubic hairs.