To shave or not to shave, that is the question:

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To shave or not to shave, that is the question:
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of Leg Hair…

Brilcream Spokespear, 2012.

I’ve been asked a few times lately if I am going to shave my legs. People look at me, and the hair on my legs, and they think, you can’t be serious about cycling with all that fur on your body.

You knows what’s serious? Viking Lumberjack Dudes. Totally serious.

Totally not gay.

If you have never seen the proud timber, my glorious thatch, my O.E. leg warmers, think Neanderthal. You’ll be close enough. A girl once asked me if I could tell if I was shaving my ass or my face?

She totally didn’t get a Christmas card this year.

I have not taken a razor to the legs in years. Years. In fact, upon reflection, I honestly don’t know how long it’s been. At least seven or eight summers past. Somewhere just shy of a decade. A big, hairy decade. Long enough that the reasons I ever bothered with such silliness have dissolved into the fading wisps of memory.

That, and I’ve got early-onset Alzheimer’s from all the canned beer.

He drinks his vodka neat.

About those legs. I just can’t seem to commit. I can’t stand shaving my face more than a few times a week these days. And, yes, I can tell the difference between my face and my ass most mornings! (Full disclosure: I have never shaved my ass. Count me among the minority here at DC in that regard.)

I cannot think of one possible benefit I’d realized from shaving my legs. OK, one. When I was smooth as a babies bottom, I noticed that crashing upon smooth legs made for a less gruesome wound and faster healing. Either that or I was high and didn’t know what the fuck was happening. Nevermind.

The pros and cons of this cycling specific oddity has been long discussed in various important forums. This one comes to mind:

Stand-out quote: “It always just seemed stupid to me.” —Multitime Leadville Trail 100 winner Dave Wiens.

When Dave Wiens talks, people should listen. Dude has more class in his big toe than Lance Armstrong has in his entire body. (Oh, snap.)

Another problem for the hairy folk out there (i.e., your humble author) is that where does one stop with the razor?  At some point you have to stop grooming and just let Mother Nature reign free. There will be hairy bits, hopefully well ensconced within the safe trapping of multi-colored lycra. (Which is really like throwing a plastic tarp over a crime scene, isn’t it?)

Jokes about shaving my ass-face/face-ass aside, have you ever witnessed the glory which is Hair Suit?

Gay bear style, son.

When you got it, you flaunt it. Right? I mean, why keep all this to myself? I gotta share it with the world.

Or something. Here’s the problem: When you look like a friggin’ bear, you pretty much have to shave everything if you’re going to shave anything. Otherwise you end up with a jarring line of demarcation where the razor stopped doing it’s magic. It’s like a wall of fur about four inches above the tan lines on your thighs. I mean, it’s ridiculous. Non one should have to live like that. Not you, not me. No one.

The alternative? Keep heading north with the razor until you hit your forehead. What’s the problem? You end up shaving your entire friggin’ body because there is a seamless carpet of hair which covers your entire friggin’ body. It is a binary choice, my friends, either a zero or a one. The one represents the thin blade. And I chose zero.

If you walked away from this information overload totally confused, you are not alone. I woke up confused and will undoubtedly go to sleep tonight confused. Ask anyone, I’m dumber than a box of hammers.

It’s a thick wicket. Sorta like my leg hair.

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

15 Replies to “To shave or not to shave, that is the question:”

  1. I inherited a sweater from my father and wear it proudly 24/7/365. What I think is sad is people who can’t grow a proper beard or mustache but sport it anyway. I don’t shave my face all winter and appreciate the insulation. I work blue collar though, and appearance is not too important. One of my favorite blog posts ever was How To Avoid the Bummer Life and Stevil’s celebration of mustaches in cycling.

  2. Unless you are a pro who is getting free massages every day and are in danger of getting f’d up up in a nasty crash every day during the racing season, there is no reason to shave other than cosmetic – which is weak ass.

  3. ‘When you look like a friggin’ bear, you pretty much have to shave everything if you’re going to shave anything. Otherwise you end up with a jarring line of demarcation where the razor stopped doing it’s magic.’

    The struggle, the contemplation, the decision. Great words.

  4. Clippers in the summer to minimize tick exposure? That’s a yes for me. I live in tick country.

  5. I haven’t shaved for nearly a decade. Back when I was thin and fit (and racing) it seemed like the thing to do. Psychologically, it made me FEEL faster, but I’m sure that would fall under the placebo effect. At this point, I’m fairly certain that no one over 190lbs (and I’m 205lbs) should shave, especially if they aren’t racing… unless it’s their fetish. In which case, do what you do. I won’t judge you.

  6. I gotta say, saved gams do better under massage, if you’ve got that as part of your plan. However old cyclist who don’t ride and still shave make me sad.

  7. I used to shave because of all the little cuts I would get in my legs from all the glass and sharp gravel on the roads. Then I got fenders and learned to make effective mud flaps from milk jugs and I don’t get cuts on my legs from road debris anymore. I stopped shaving after that. And I don’t shave anything between 10/31 and 3/1 the next year, because even in TX it gets cold in the winter, well in this part of TX, anyway.

  8. I only shave my gems so that I can rub out that easy one into a tubesock right before a race.

  9. I don’t shave my legs either. I did for a couple of months 5 years ago and hated it.
    I’m with Big Jonny on that fact that I even hate shaving my face and only get around to it about 3 times a week.

    Shaving to make road rash heal faster seems like a reason to shave but keep in mind that Lycra won’t save you from road rash so if you’re going to shave your gams then you have to shave every part of them, including the sides of your hips.
    Because I don’t know about you but that’s where I get the worst of it when I crash.
    No shaving for me!!