If I curl my upper lip just right, I can feel them as they touch the skin just beneath my nose. The caress of the facial hair is not unwelcome, I find. It is much more pleasant on my sensitive skin than my husband’s five o’clock shadow can be.
I have peach fuzz. Not an all-out mustache, but peach fuzz.
The skinny light brown hairs first drew my notice as a pre-pubescent girl in Puerto Rico. It didn’t make me feel too odd, though, as we Hispanics are a hairy people. Also, I saw light moustaches on very attractive women (as well as some good looking guys), so I didn’t feel like an oddity.
As I grew, so did my other woman parts. So did the rest of my looks and self-esteem, thankfully.
I joined the Navy at the age of seventeen; I appreciated the attentions paid to me by my numerous male counterparts. They seemed to not care about my peach fuzz. Consequently, I ignored my hirsute mouth.
The years passed. I had a couple of boyfriends. I had a kid. I had a husband who thought the world of me. The distractions of my post-Navy existence and full-time housewife life began to consume my thoughts. I put on some pounds. We travelled and transferred time and again. The peach fuzz was the last thing on my mind.
Then life changed in the drastic way that it sometimes does; one day everything was alright, and the next day it was not.
The loss of a family member gave me a lot of time to grieve and a lot of time to think. I began to grow concerned about my appearance again, so I ran, swam, visited the hair salon regularly, and even got braces to perfect my smile.
With time, my body was the way I wanted it to be; still, the peach fuzz mocked me from the other side of the mirror. I had to do something about that, I thought. During a visit to my sister in Chicago, I accompanied her to her favorite threading parlor. I dazzled over the way a simple piece of thread quickly cleaned up the errant hairs on my sister’s lovely brow. On a whim, I had my eyebrows and peach fuzz threaded, too.
Dear God! The pain was awful. I’d had my eyebrows waxed before, (as well as my bikini line), but nothing compared to the line of fire and itchiness that took residence on my brow and my upper lip. Within an hour of the threading, huge red hives replaced the diminutive peach fuzz that had previously occupied that region of my face.
Upon seeing my blooming upper lip, my father told me that I finally looked like the native-looking Puerto Rican son he’d always wanted. Thankfully, the joke was funnier than the insult delivered.
I learned my lesson then, or so I thought. I found a way to navigate through my ever-changing life. I made time to do other things such as going to college, getting a great job, and having another child. But the weight came back. But I was okay; I made peace with the weight and with my happy home. Then another hardship came about that had the unintended (but very welcome) consequence of removing thirty pounds of unwanted weight from my body. I made the decision to keep the weight off my body and stuck with it, thankfully.
Still, the peach fuzz remains. I stare at it in the mirror sometimes and wonder if it is as glaring to others as it is to me. My husband says that he doesn’t care one way or the other, and that he’d be supportive of any permanent hair removal method I’d want to undertake. I’m not so sure, though.
I think that my peach fuzz acts as a shield of sorts. It protects me from obsessing about my looks too much; if it were to disappear, things would happen. Who knows what aspect of my appearance I would attack next? Will I look more closely at the greys on my head? Will I think about how sparse my eyebrows are? Would the sagging skin under my chin engross me to the point of distraction? I don’t know the answer to that, which is for the best. My peach fuzz reminds that I cannot stop nature from taking its course. All I can do is enjoy what I have and manage what comes my way the best I can.