How I Came To Terms With Being A ‘Firecrotch’

I don’t know how old most people are when they realize that they will, in fact, grow pubic hair, but I was nine. It was the summer, and my cousin Lauren was staying with us for the week. For better or worse, I looked up to her for all the reasons that prepubescent little girls look up to anyone: because she was pretty.

At age 13, Lauren embodied every aspect of what I wanted to be. She was thin, had straight teeth, and, thanks to the Florida sun, her skin had tanned to a buttery brown. She almost shimmered.

As a redhead, I fell on the opposite end of the spectrum. That summer my pale skin became chalk-white from the SPF 50 I shellacked on. And my ginger hair, which was naturally curly, morphed into frizzy lightning bolts that shot off my head from the humidity. I was an overweight (“prime for adult diabetes”, as my paediatrician told me) short kid, with shiny metal braces. Which kind of answers the question of whether or not I was popular in school.

Our routine during these visits tended to be wake up, eat breakfast, then spend the rest of the day by the pool. So after breakfast I waited for Lauren to finish getting ready: she put on her bikini, tied her hair in a cheerleader-esque ponytail, and proceeded to prop one leg up on the side of my bed. She then pulled out a disposable razor and quickly began to run it across her bare leg. I don’t need to tell you that as an unpopular nine-year-old, I was more than a little confused.

“What, uh, what are you doing?” I asked.

“Shaving my legs,” Lauren said, without pausing.

“Well, my hairs are blond,” I said, thinking this might somehow make me cool. And it was true: the hair on my arms and legs was practically invisible. “I’ll never have to shave.”

Then I remember Lauren turning to me, with the kind of maniacal grimace I’d see on my brother right before he’d give me a rug burn. “When you get older,” she said, “you’re going to grow red hair. Everywhere.” She pointed to the bottom part of her bikini, “Even here.”

I looked at her bikini, then down at my own. I was horrified. Hair…down WHERE? “I will not!” I shouted. I’m not totally sure why – maybe because I hadn’t been given the whole puberty talk, or my tomboyish nature, or because I could tell she was trying to upset me – but, regardless, I was unsettled.

Throughout the rest of the day, I thought about what she’d said about growing more hair…down there. And the fact that it’d be red hair. I couldn’t picture it. I tried to, but I couldn’t imagine how the same color I had on my head would just suddenly appear on my vagina. That seemed completely bizarre, like an episode of the X-Files, only worse. So I did what any modern kid would do: I crept into our study later that night, locked the door behind me, and typed “redhead vagina” into our computer’s search engine.

Needless to say, that was the day I not only learned about pubic hair, but also discovered porn. Hundreds of sites dedicated to redheads and their nether regions popped up, and like any good sleuth I clicked on all of them. I saw what Lauren had promised – red hair down there. I felt awakened – sexually, spiritually, physically, all of the words that end with -ally. People didn’t just like red pubes; they liked red hair in general. It was something to embrace and be excited by. I could see it on the sites, and in the way the women weren’t embarrassed of showing it off. Lauren had been so wrong. I didn’t need to worry about hair growing anywhere – I would eagerly look forward to it.

And speaking from experience, it all worked out just fine for me (and my ginger pubes).

Read Ginger Parrot’s review of The Big Redhead Book
 


Erin la Rosa is a writer living in Los Angeles. As a writer for BuzzFeed, she frequently writes about the perils and triumphs of being a redhead. She is the author of The Big Redhead Book: Inside the Secret Society of Red Hair, which is available on Amazon in the UK and US

 

 

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