Next week I fly to one of my favourite spots on the planet, to greet my beloved and three of The Handbags. They’re off to Queenstown over the Southern Alps of New Zealand for the annual 1000km charity ride. Having supported a few causes over the years, they’ve chosen Chain Reaction this time around.
He says he’s ready, fit from morning outings with The Handbags and a few sweaty pedals up ‘Mont Ventoux.’ But there’s an elephant in the room, a hairy one, and last night I chanced to throw it a banana.
“Do you have to shave?” I venture, after the boys had eventually gone to bed, what is it with teens – GO TO BED! He pauses Fox Sports 5 and turns to me, dubiously, “Do you want me to?”
Oh good grief, how do I answer that question? “Do I want the gravel to snag in your hair and rip chunks off your legs if you hit a pothole and fly over the top?’ No.
“Could you be loosely defined as a metrosexual, or a hipster, or any other trending brand hashtag to support the smooth, nude male look?” Urm, no.
There is no right answer for a cyclist’s wife to address the prickly question of ‘to shave or not to shave one’s legs.’
As my internal debate rages, I become conscious that he’s staring at me trying to decipher the look on my face as I grapple with the question, his inner man dreading which unspoken wifely rule he has broken this time. It’s ok, it’s my thinking face not my Paddington Bear hard stare.
Well, here’s the thing.
One fundamental issue prevails with the shaving of male legs. Notwithstanding either the aesthetic or safety issues, deforestation is a significant undertaking, at least in my family it is. The first time we tried, when he joined our friends at Tour de Cure, we carved through four to five razor heads per leg before the sink plunger was deployed to unclog the plughole. I’m not keen to go there again and I doubt he is either.
There is another way however. In fact there are two.
Outsource – the Footballer Wax
Footballers and ladies worldwide are nodding knowingly, already resistant to the searing rip of hot wax and hair from the protesting follicles, wheresoever on the body. Footballers claim hair-free legs make them harder to tackle but I’m not convinced, and you NFL players have no excuse since you wear tights anyway.
If you’re lucky enough to score a kind therapist for the wax-on-wax-off torture, she’ll slap her hand post-rip onto the newly nude spot with precision timing to numb the yelp. A sadist on the other hand, will cackle, “toughen up Maaaate; ready for the next?” Come on lads, legs are a doddle compared to what us ladies go through, yet I do concede that men’s hair follicles are bigger and more stubborn, of course.
insource – the Wahl, aka the horse clippers
This time around, if he doesn’t opt for trying the wax, I’m going to employ the trusty Wahl, sworn enemy of all types of hairy jungle. I used to own a 17hh Irish Draught/Thoroughbred horse, that’s about 3/4 tonne of horseflesh for you non-horsy types. Using a Wahl to clip large areas of coarse hair on a moving target with teeth and hooves was an unfeasibly tough task, especially since I was far less than one tenth of his weight with a significantly lower power:weight ratio. It’s all about technique, apparently, and a degree of hoping for the best.
But I digress, my husband is a man not a horse, so I needn’t go off down another power:weight rabbit hole, that’s for a Strava story instead. No doubt there will be some power:weight stats swapped next week as they make their way over the mountains and eagerly download the numbers at the day’s close. Oh plenty of material to write about, you can’t wait can you?
The Wahl meanwhile, sits peacefully in the bathroom drawer, ready for emergency action in the event of nits, mostly. Come on, we live in a hot climate and have three kids, what do you expect?
In the event of the shave being inevitable this week, it will be deployed for the first round of deforestation before the job is finished with the Gillette. If you’re reading this, Gillette/Procter and Gamble brand manager, some samples would be very handy thank you, while I grease up the Wahl ready to go……
If you’d like Love Letters and other musings straight to your inbox just pop your email address in the box on the right and hit send. Easy.
Stay safe out there won’t you?