My armpit and the hairs that call it “home”

I have been neglecting my baby, The Embiggens Projects, as of late, so I have decided to try an experiment.  I am going to see if I can examine a new topic every day, instead of intermittently tackling three.  Bear with me.  Each day will be very different from the previous one.  Don’t ask me why, but I have decided to kick this new idea off with armpit hair.  It’s something we all have, but rarely talk about.  So, here is my diatribe dedicated to the follicles that try to live in the pit at the base of my arm.


In case you haven’t heard–which I hadn’t, but I live under a rather large slab of granite–women have taken to growing out their underarm hair for charity.  Yes, men have movember.  And women have Armpits4August.  Yes, luxurious locks are sprouting under an arm near you in support of the little known condition called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  One of the symptoms of this disease is excessive hair growth.

armpit hair

The Great Underarm Campaign:

North American women have only been shaving their armpits en masse for about 100 years.  Yup, Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennet, Catherine Earnshaw, and all of our other favorite literary heroines likely had armpits like brillo pads.  And they probably smelled like horse.

In 1915, Harper’s Bazaar featured a shocking photo of a woman wearing a sleeveless dress that revealed a smooth and silky underarm.  This was followed by an advertising campaign by Wilkinson Sword to convince women that it was non-hygienic to have hairy pits.  I’m sure that sword sales were waning.  The sales of razor blades doubled in less than  two years as women become self-conscious of having manly underarms–heaven forbid.  I wonder when mass-produced deodorant came onto the market?

“Mum” was the word and Pens saved our armpits:

So, mystery solved.  The first deodorant was invented in 1888 and was called, Mum.  Strange name.  In the 1940’s an intelligent woman–is there any other kind?–joined the team and stole the roller-ball idea from the production of pens to create a roll-on.  This deodorant was called Ban.  Who knew?

Armpit juice of the 1950's.

Armpit juice of the 1950’s.

A 1933 armpit hair removal device.  Yikes.

A 1933 armpit hair removal device. Yikes.

laser hare



Well, now you know a wee bit more about your armpits and the hairs that call them home.

Do you think long armpit hair on women is natural, sexy, or does it send you screaming in the opposite direction?  Inquiring minds want to know.  

And, in case you want to read more riveting armpit facts, here are some fellow  Wordpressers that have something to say on the topic.

A Kaur’s Thoughts:

…Said the Blind Man

Tanya’s Armpits4August 2013

Images:  arm pit hair (, Harper’s Bazaar (, BAN (, 1933 device (,  laser “hare” removal (, deodorant misfits (, octopus (

A giant boot, A guy called Foot, And the One-Armed One-Legged Man

There is something that has disturbed me for years and I can no longer be silent.  Why do so many articles of clothing wind up in the middle of the road?  Seriously.  In the last week, I have encountered what looked like a pink skirt, a brown glove (especially strange in JULY), a sock, and several lone shoes.

Why do people feel the need to peel off their clothing and throw it into the street?  Okay, if I was wearing brown gloves in thirty degrees Celsius, I would shed the gloves too.  But why would I be wearing them in the first place?  And why was there only one glove?  Perhaps, it belonged to a one-armed man that gets really cold in the morning.  Maybe he also had only one foot, which would explain the whole one shoe thing.  But why so many single shoes spread out over such a large area at different times?  Do one-footed people make up a larger part of the population than I thought?  And why do they keep losing their shoes?

The skirt had me really puzzled.  To me it indicated that someone had been driving down that very street naked.  Which leads me to wonder if nudists drive nude?  Or would they stick to the pleather?

If you have ever felt the urge to rip off your clothes and throw them out your car window, I want to hear from you.  I want you to make me understand what compels a sane person (assuming that you fit this category) to abandon one shoe or glove on the yellow line.  Are people driving so fast that their clothes simply fall off?  Inquiring minds want to know.

1)  This made me sad.  The world’s largest shoe tree (not the kind you use to stretch your shoes, but a tree that many people have–for some reason–hung their footwear from) once proudly stood 125 miles east of Reno, Nevada.  This cottonwood tree had reason to be proud.  It had become a quirky destination for lovers of oddball roadside attractions.

And, then, some disturbed individual(s)–perhaps, envious of its many shoes–chopped the tree down.  According to authorities, a fresh pool of sawdust was found at the scene next to the victim.

This story made me feel sad for several reasons.  First of all the cottonwood didn’t ask to become a “Shoe Tree.”  It’s fame–like the shoes–was foisted upon it.  Second, it was a cool piece of Americana.  And, third–loads of people sacrificed their Nikes to make this piece of art–only to have it cut down in its prime.  Worst of all, it just goes to show that someone always has to spoil the fun for everyone else.

I hope the perpetrator(s) suffer corns and bunions for the rest of their days.

2)  In Canada, we have a winter boot company called Sorel.  And one of Sorel’s models is called the Glacier and is designed for weather as cold as minus 100.  Seriously.  (Unlike the stereotypes, we do not experience anywhere near -100 anywhere other than the North Pole.  While no country actually can lay claim to the “physical North Pole,” the “magnetic” North Pole is in Canada.  Does this mean Santa Claus is Canadian?” )

Anyway, these honkin’ massive boots are available in a men’s size 17.  Yup–size seven PLUS ten.  Those are big feet–even by North American standards.  I have always wondered what the overseas manufacturers think when they make a behemoth pair of boots. “Holy Crap!  Canadians are giants.”

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the average shoe size for an American man is 10.5, while the female average is 9.  Meanwhile, according to a website that specializes in helping Westerners who live and work in China, many have had difficulty finding footwear larger than a man’s size 9 or a woman’s size 7.5.  It seems we are a gigantic race.

Enormous puffy black winter boots in a whopping size SEVENTEEN would, without a doubt, cause quite a stir in downtown Beijing.  Heck, I would be fascinated by them and my husband has size 13s.

3)  I wonder what it’s like to have a last name like Boot.  Or Foot.  Especially with the first name Harry.  I imagine Harry Foot would look like the guy pictured here.

According to the U.S. 2000 census, there are 449 people with the last name Foot, 16093 with the “e” to make Foote, 701 Boot’s, 297 Boote’s, 946 with the surname Shoe, 274 Sandal people, 614 with the name Sandall, 212 people who go by Toe, 292 people called Sock, and 264 people named Pump.  So, if one of the 179 people named Jam married one of the Toe people and hyphenated their name–EW–Toe-Jam.  I apologize if your last name is any of the above.  But if there is anyone out there who chose to go by Toe-Jam, what were you thinking?

Now, back to the whole abandoned clothing in the road thing.  If I owned these articles of clothing, I would not only throw them out my car window, I would drive over them several times.

Photo Credits:  Shoe Tree(,  clown sweater (, white clingy top (, beard hat (, Uma Thurman disaster (, short overalls ( straw sipper with ugly sweater (, Hawaiin explosion (