*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I am Southern European, and some women from Southern Europe tend to be a bit hirsute. That means hairy. It's nobody's fault, but that doesn't stop it from feeling embarrassing.
Battling excess facial hair is hard enough without having someone mention it. Even worse is someone who mentions it under the guise of doing someone a favor.
That's why it was so upsetting when my boyfriend, who is now my ex-boyfriend, decided to ask me whether he should inform women about their excess facial hair. "Maybe they don't know how hairy they are," he said.
I couldn't help but think he was referring to me personally.
"So, I was wondering," he began. "If I notice that a woman is hairy, should I tell her? Like if she has facial hair, maybe she would like to know so she can do something about it."
I felt my heart sink into my stomach. I've always felt embarrassed about my excess facial hair and body hair, and it wasn't something I wanted to discuss with anyone, especially the man I was dating. I tried to remain calm and play along like we were talking about women in general, not about me specifically.
"Well," I replied. "If a woman does have facial hair, then I guarantee you she already knows. It won't do her any good to tell her about it. You'll just make her feel bad about it."
"I don't know," he said. "I think I should say something. I could be doing her a favor. Maybe she doesn't realize there's a problem."
"No," I said. "I'm sure she does realize it, and if she doesn't, then it's not your place to tell her. It's not your business."
He remained unconvinced.
I still wonder if he thought I was so obtuse that I didn't know he was talking about me.
"My friend's wife has a mustache," he continued, "and when it gets out of hand, he tells her. He says, 'Hey, Mary, I can see your mustache.' Then she goes and takes care of it, and she's grateful that he pointed it out to her."
There was no way I'd give into his line of reasoning no matter how much he tried. "I think that's awful," I said. "I would not want anyone to say something like that to me. I'd be really offended." And so I was, even if we were still talking in hypotheticals.
He tried over the next several days to convince me to admit a man should tell a woman about her excess facial hair as a "favor" to her, but I stood my ground.
"Just mind your business," I told him, and he did. But he still got his point across.
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