Y’all, everybody’s talking about Halsey’s armpit stubble like it’s the end of Western civilization.
ICYMI, Halsey is an indie pop singer (“Now or Never,” “Bad at Love”) who made the cover of Rolling Stone recently. Some days she’s blonde, some days brunette—she changes up her looks, like many 24-year-olds. But people aren’t talking about the hair on her head. Nope, they’re talking about—well, it’s a little lower.
On the RS cover, she’s in a sleeveless top with her arms raised and she has patches of black stubble in her armpits. Like maybe she hadn’t shaved in a few days. And people are losing their minds.
First of all…. Halsey, I know you’re trying to be edgy, but it’s been done before and better. Google Patti Smith’s 1978 album, “Easter.” The cover photo shows a pale, skinny woman in a wrinkled wife-beater, pinning her hair up—and flashing major pit growth. Yaks have less hair than her armpits did. You could knit mittens out of that hair.
Smith—a raw, unapologetic punk rocker--had zero hoots to give back then, and 41 years later she hasn’t found any new ones. She’s hoot-free, and still a powerhouse in rock and roll.
“Easter” was a commercial success because listening to Patti Smith made you feel like you had a shot at being cool. I do remember guys being grossed out by her pits. At a fraternity party, one brother said, “I can’t even listen to her music because I start to gag thinking about her underarm hair.”
I wanted to say, “Somewhere a bar is playing .38 Special, go find it,” but I didn’t because a shy Delta Zeta pledge didn’t say such things. I did wonder if he also refused to listen to Van Morrison, who was/is a weird-looking leprechaun with tiny feet, or Mick Jagger, whose mouth takes up 97 percent of his face.
Widdle is the one who mentioned Halsey’s Rolling Stone cover, because musically he’s much cooler than me; I’d never heard of Jack Johnson or island rock before we met. Anyway, Widdle said a lot of posters thought her pits were gross. (I know I’m going to be criticized for saying “pits” repeatedly, but we’re all adults and I’m tired of typing “armpits.”)
Why are adult women supposed to be smooth and hairless? Why are people so verklempt over a little stubble? Stubble on a man’s face is sexy. Stubble on a woman’s pits is disgusting. I don’t get it. Before you ask: Yes, I do shave under my arms but not every day; I may have some stubble action happening this very minute.
As for legs----ohhhh, the regret! When I was 14, with downy blonde fuzz on my legs from knee to ankle, I begged to be allowed to shave my legs.
“You don’t need to,” Mother said. “Just wait.”
So naturally I locked myself in the bathroom and did it anyway with a Daisy disposable razor. Not only did I cut myself twice, I sentenced myself to a lifetime of shaving, because the old wives’ tale is true: The hair grew back thicker, longer and darker. What I’d give to return to that adorable peach fuzz.
I try not to care what people think, but even I can’t walk around with unshaven leg hair flapping in the breeze. It feels weird and besides, Widdle’s not a fan. Meanwhile, he’s got hair on his knuckles--but do I freak out? Noooo.
But I’m going to lend him my Daisy razor.
Julie R. Smith, who tried waxing once and swooned, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.