This may be the weirdest problem I've ever had…….

posted 4 months ago in Etiquette
Post # 107
Member
482 posts
Helper bee

Weddings are generally the most formal occasion that most people ever attend, so they dress accordingly.  Weddings are not the time to break out your favorite dominatrix outfit, just as it is not the time for guys to show up in baseball caps and Hawaiian shorts.  Women spend extra effort on hair, make-up, shoes and clothes for formal occasions, just like men spend extra effort on shoes, clothes, ties, and at least looking neat and tidy with their head and facial hair.  It’s called dressing up for a wedding!  Armpit hair isn’t a formal look in either gender.  It looks even more out of place and slovenly on a woman because our society expects women to shave.  Not every culture or country expects that, but we live in one that does, while also recognizing that people can do whatever they want even though no one else has to like it.

Post # 109
Member
6547 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

Right or wrong, body hair strikes me as intensely PRIVATE. Armpit hair strikes me as something others should not see as much as pubic hair does, and it provokes the same kind of internal feeling in me; that I’m seeing something I am not supposed to (nor do I want to) see. Pubic hair is also “natural”, yet we don’t go flaunting that.

On a beach I can accept that people are basically almost naked, as it is public bathing in a sense. A person knows that going in. But seeing someone’s body hair in a nice restaurant or at a fancy occasion seems wrong, and it provokes a visceral reaction in many. It isn’t the fact that you HAVE body hair, it is the fact that you are SHOWING it – and again, this applies to men as much as women for me.

Again, I would never say something to someone in person, nor would I confront someone about it. Societal expectations keep seeing body hair in check for most people. But flaunting one’s refusal to accept societal norms, especially at someone’s wedding, seems intentionally provocative (meant in the first definition in the OED, not the second) to me, especially when short sleeves would eliminate the issue and the attention it might draw.

Post # 110
Member
467 posts
Helper bee

ecrisrien :  Glitter is the herpes of the craft supply universe – once you get it, it’s never going away.  Come Christmas, you’ll still be picking it out of your arse crack.

I vote for those tiny little tinkly bells.

Post # 112
Member
2983 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

 AnonBee2019 :  “ … I work in a fairly liberal workplace and the women who don’t shave wear spaghetti straps and other sleeveless outfits in the workplace way more than anyone else”

That’s interesting. Are you thinking they are deliberately/consciously choosing outfits that display their pit hair in order to garner attention? I know that sometimes is the motive for other “outside mainstream” or extreme (not that this is extreme per se),  appearances….. Not always of course…   Personally, as said previously,  it looks hideous to me,  I wouldn’t like to see armpit hair on a man at a wedding either. 

OP, I would spring for a short sleeved top/dress. So many bargains out there now with change of season upon us. Your call though.  Best wishes. 

Post # 113
Member
482 posts
Helper bee

ecrisrien :  “I think that if this wedding had specified “formal” or “black tie” on the invitation I would definitely go out and buy a dress with flutter sleeves or something…”

That’s the thing.  It may not have said formal on the invitation, but the bride’s mother was essentially telling you it’s more formal than visible armpit hair.

Post # 114
Member
175 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2015 - City, State

I think the bride handled the situation perfectly and the “tying down” was meant purely in jest and also as a recognition that she is personally not a fan of seeing pit hair.  You seem offended by her reaction because the idea that people would be turned off by your pit hair bothers you.  But, while other people don’t get to tell you what to do with your body, you don’t get to tell other people how they should react to your grooming decisions.  I am in the camp of considering body hair to be gross.  Arm pit hair is there primarily to diffuse sex pheromones. (See this 2007 study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1885393/) And it is smelly; excerpt from the study says, “Hair provides a warm environment where the action of commensal bacteria can volatilize the precursor molecules released from apocrine glands. The responsible odorants have still to be demonstrated, but both androgen-based volatile steroids and MHC constituent can be found in axillary secretions.”  So yes, I don’t want to smell most people’s sex pheromones, odors, and secretions thank you. If you see pit hair there is a high likelihood that you will also get to smell it or at least be reminded of how those pheromones, odors, and secretions smell. You are entitled to do you, but this is why a lot of people are turned off by body hair in general. ecrisrien :  

Post # 115
Member
138 posts
Blushing bee

I believe this is becoming much more socially acceptable anyways. I was riding on public transport this week and witnessed two different young women with completely natural, unshaved legs wearing shorts and capris. 

Post # 118
Member
175 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 2015 - City, State

lunaghost :  Deodorant is less effective with armpit hair because it cannot get as close to the skin.

ecrisrien :  Well not straightening you hair can hardly be classed in the same category as not shaving your pits.  Sorry, it’s just not the same thing.  Again, pit hair is more than aesthetics–it’s a mechanism for sending biological signals through smell and pheromones that washing and dedorant cannot fully control. It’s not even in the same category as leg hair.  There is a reason why we have leg hair as children but not pubic hair and pit hair.  Pubic hair and armpit hair is a sign of sexual maturity because it aids in the attraction of a sexual mate through scent.  I think that’s why people have a more visceral reaction to it.  It’s not a reaction to the natural state of your body; it’s what that state represents that causes the reaction.

Post # 119
Member
2005 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

ecrisrien :  I’m so curious. You’re OP mentions you don’t remove hair anywhere. Does that include plucking brows? It sounds like it includes leg hair, but your thread is focused on the armpit hair. Are you wearing an ankle length dress, so not worried about leg hair and how your aunt will react? It just seems like if if you were getting the bride’s opinion on your body hair it would include the legs, as well as the pits. 

Post # 120
Member
53 posts
Worker bee

I don’t typically shave but I would shave in this instance or try to cover it up. 

 

As messed up as it is, most people in society still expect women’s underarms and legs to be shaved. Thus, it would likely be a topic of conversation among people viewing the photos or even at the event. I wouldn’t want to draw attention away from the couple that way. I don’t think it’s the time or place to be making a statement. I would wear a normal (non-sleeveless) top and slacks (and, in fact, that’s what I do for weddings, even in the summer.)

 

 

PS: I have no problems with odors, to shut down that conversation. Yes, I do have people in my life who would be honest about that. People’s hair has different density. Mine isn’t very dense and I don’t sweat a lot anyway.

PPS: I wouldn’t care at my own wedding, just to be clear. But knowing other people might, I’d try to avoid it.

 

 

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