I will start by saying that this story didn't take place on the first day of school, but it was early on in the school year and it is basically my only memory of the one year I spent there. I was seven-years-old, in second grade, I guess. I was one of those little girls who had a lot of hair on her legs. It was blonde, but it was there and apparently more noticeable than I thought.
I was attending Holy Cross Lutheran School in North Miami. I'm not really sure why, as we weren't Lutheran. We didn't even go to church. I just googled the school and found some pretty interesting statistics: it is a private school serving 300 students, grades K-8 and it is situated in an inner city neighborhood; it has a 7% White student ethnicity rate. I have no idea if the neighborhood was considered "inner city" when I was there. I know my parents didn't have much money at the time. They were divorced and I lived with my mother and younger brother, and spent every other weekend with our dad. These stats have nothing to do with my story, I just found them interesting.
I remember sitting in chapel one morning wearing my new jean skirt. If you remember the 1980's, denim was all the rage, so that was a pretty big deal. Even bigger were banana clips, I was definitely wearing one of those. I heard a couple of kids giggling but wasn't sure why. As we were walking back to class, a little boy, I can't remember his name, starting making fun of me calling me a gorilla because of the hair on my legs. I was mortified! There I was, seven-years-old, thinking I looked like hot shit, and some little ass wipe was making fun of the hair on m legs. I wanted to hide under my desk the rest of the day, or stretch my awesome new skirt down to the floor to cover my monkey legs.
That night I was in the bath and I spotted my mother's razor on the edge of the tub. It dawned on me that I could shave my legs! It was perfect, no more monkey legs, no more ass wipe making fun of me. So I did it. I was very carful and went really slowly, dragging the blades up my shin and over my knee. I didn't cut myself, at least not that I can remember. Feeling very proud, I stepped out of the tub and pulled out the drain. As I stood there drying off, I noticed all the hair clinging to the side of the bath. I started rinsing it off, not wanting my mother to know what I had done. Oh my god! My mother was going to be furious!
What was I going to do now? My mother was sure to notice my sleek, smooth legs the moment I stepped out of the bathroom. I looked around and found the biggest towel I could and wrapped it around me. It went down to my ankles. Phew! I walked out of the bathroom and into my bedroom. My mother was sitting on the couch talking on the phone. When I got to my room I realized I didn't have anything long enough to cover my legs. Jeans were out as it was Miami, and hot, not to mention I was supposed to be getting ready for bed.
I went out to the living room and asked if I could borrow a pair of my mother's leggings because, 1980's. She said yes as she eyed me curiously. It was the towel, I knew it. she was growing suspicious. I scurried into her room, almost tripping over the towel, and dug around in her drawer. All of a sudden I heard her say:
"I'll call you back in a few minutes."
Oh no! She's coming! I have to get these leggings on!
As I turned around I saw my mother standing there, watching me.
"I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to tell me the truth." She said.
"Um, okay." I replied.
"Did you shave your legs?"
"What? Shave my legs? Psh...no, why would I do that?"
"Tell me the truth, did you shave your legs?"
"No! I didn't! I don't even know how!"
"I'm only going to ask you one more time, did you shave your legs?"
I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes and my cheeks getting more and more flushed by the second. All I a sudden I burst into tears.
"WAAAAAAA!! YES! I DID!" I managed to choke out between sobs. When I told her why, she was understanding, but I was in big trouble for lying.
I think I was around twelve-years-old before I shaved my legs again. By that time I was at boarding school in England and we lived in Spain with my stepdad and his kids. When my mother found out, I had been doing it for so long, she couldn't really say anything.
I wish I could say I learned some great lesson about not listening to what other people say, or not lying to my parents, but I didn't. I went to school the next day, even more aware of my legs because I knew that kid was going to notice the hair was gone. He still called me a hairy legged gorilla, but after some time he got bored of that and turned his attention on to someone else.
When my daughter was seven, she was in the shower when I heard a bloodcurdling scream. I ran in to see her holding her thumb. Turns out she was curious about my razor but cut herself before she had a chance to try and shave anything.
My daughter is nine-years-old now and still asks me, from time to time, if "grown up girls have to shave their legs."
To which I reply:
"You don't have to do anything you'r not comfortable with, and don't let anyone try and tell you differently. Ever."
Do you have any embarrassing school stories?