One of the twelve year old boys in my house (we have 2) came and said, "Look. I have an armpit hair". He raised his arm and showed me the solo folicle and I reached out and pulled it out for him. I then said "Oh man that was close. If you don't get them early they spread everywhere". Having two young men in the house with cracking voices, body erupting with funky smells and arm pits that look like a flower bed in the spring just at the verge of blooming has made me long for a time that I didn't have to shave. One of the best parts about working from home is that for 3 plus days per week I can have a questionable personal hygeine regiment and live strictly in my pajamas. No one except for my family seem to mind so it is really a win-win for me. For twelve year old boys having their body change in such a dramatic way is exciting to them. However, if they really knew what was ahead for them I doubt they would greet this new experience with such celebration.
When I was on my mission I was like any other 19 year old kid. Lean, in decent shape, and not afraid to walk around without a shirt on. However this is not really appropriate behavior for missionaries. Swimming, sun bathing, and any other fun, outdoor activity requiring anything short of a shirt and tie were few and far between. Like 2 years in between. From the time I landed in the Phillippines most of my apartments did not have very big mirrors. In fact, I used a small round 6 inch mirror for shaving. This allowed a view of my face and not much else. I did not see any problem with it. I could shave, style my hair, and pop the occasional infected facial pore. That all changed when I moved into a nicer than ususal apartment in Taytay Rizal. We had a full sized bathroom mirror. The first time I used it, it caused me to literally take a step back and gasp. Keep in mind it had been almost 18 months since I had seen myself without a shirt on. I had lost weight, I had a really, really dark face compared with my borderline albino body and most shocking of all is I had chest hair. And a lot of it. I remember saying outloud "Banal na baka saan na nanggaling?" or for you Tagalog deprived types "Holy cow where did that come from?" I was completely speechless. It was like waking up in someone else's body or having a huge pimple on your face that everyone else could see but no one told you. Ya it was more like the pimple example. It made me wonder what else has changed? I turned and did a quick inspection of the rest of and me and some of my chest hair had migrated to the top of my back.
In this paragraph I was going to go an and talk about back hair but my wife thought it would be in bad taste. I do have to say that there is a dude I saw white water rafting the Dechutes River a few years ago that honestly looked like he had a sweater on under his life jacket. He was a body waxer's dream client (keep in mind a nightmare is also a dream). It was one of those I-can't-help-but-stare moments but nobody noticed because they were all staring too. This is one of those people you can look at and say no matter how bad my sitiation gets it is not as bad as his.
So now as I have to shave every day and fight a losing battle to keep my ears from looking like I have custom earmuffs, I can't help but think of my son and nephew who are just now starting this journey and wonder if I were to do it again, I would buy the bulk pack of razors from Costco. Either that or ask for electrolosis as a graduation gift instead of luggage.