My nephew has started to get hair on his legs. I first noticed this last winter as we were lying on my sister’s couch watching ‘Dancing with the Stars’. I was bald from head to toe and was completely obsessed with hair. He was eleven, and completely obsessed with watching Karina Smirnoff performing the Paso Doble.
Soon after that, the hair on my legs started coming back, and over the next few months we sort of went through puberty together. Our leg hair got longer and other hairs came back as well. Arms, head, and a light shadow over the upper lip (me, not him). What didn’t come back was the hair under my arms. I checked in every few days to see if there was any growth but I was as smooth as a baby’s arse.
How delightful! Canceritis sometimes offered a silver lining and this was it - and as an extra special super bonus, I was completely odour free. I surmised (unscientifically) that this was due to the fact that I’d had a bunch of nodes removed from both sides. It made sense that if the surgeon was digging around in there, under several layers of skin, there would be a few modifications. Some delicate tubing must have been cut, particularly the one that pumps out scent, for instance. And hair.
With confidence, I have been living without deodorant. Summer came, a few hairs burst through my radiated skin, but even on the hottest days I could go completely au natural in the armpit department. Puberty was over! Caleb may still have a few things to deal with (think Peter Brady) but I was clearly done.
Or so I hoped. Recently I was in the car with my sister. She was driving, I was passenging, and Caleb was in the back where children belong. It was an unseasonably hot day and we were all wearing too many layers, which I was removing as we drove. ‘Something smells funny,’ I said to my sister. ‘Open a window,’ she said. So I did, but the funny smell persisted. I looked back to see what Caleb was up to – as he is a prepubescent boy and I like to blame everything on him. ‘Don’t look at me,’ he said.
So I took off my jacket, and ignored the musty odour. I repeated that something smelled really icky, and he piped up, ‘Maybe it’s you.’ Oh - From the mouth of babes. Disappointment seeped in as I realise that my puberty was not over. No silver lining for me; I was as smelly as a teenage boy. It had been 14 months since I used deodorant and it seemed as foreign to me as a ponytail. Odour had returned, along with a very unwelcome chin hair.
So I have officially trumped my nephew at puberty. My legs are hairier, I’m kind of sweaty, and I smell as though I’d just done the foxtrot with Chaz Bono (just before we we were unceremoniously mocked by Bruno, and kicked off the show)
Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.