Dating with Hirsutism: This Is What It’s Like
I know it’s just hair, but even after 30 years on the planet and all the self-love Instagram accounts in the world, I still can’t get myself to love the coarse hair in places on my body where it doesn’t belong. I hate the way it looks, I hate the way it feels, I hate that I have to deal with this. And I especially hate how my hirsutism has affected my life.
I never feel pretty. I feel ok at best. As soon as a thought like “Oh. This looks nice on you.” comes up, I make sure to remind myself that it really doesn’t matter, because I’m still hairy af. I’m 30 and single and while I don’t think hirsutism is the reason for this, my dating life has been a nightmare ever since my teenage years.
This isn’t going to be a rant about men. Many of the guys I’ve dated over the years were lovely and understanding human beings. The core of the problem is how hirsutism makes me feel about myself. If I don’t love myself, why should anyone else?! These insecurities paired with all the secretive hair management have made it hard for me to open up and really let someone in. To this day, I’ve never told a guy about my body hair. All I know is: I’m terrified. Scared of judgement, scared of rejection? I’m not even sure.
Dating With Hirsutism
Dating is already hard to begin with. Does he like me? Do I like him? Should I try for a first kiss? Is it ok to have sex on the first date? Now add: Does he feel my stubbles when we kiss? How can I keep him from touching my face? How do I explain that there’s no way I can have sex with him tonight, although I kinda really want to? It’s exhausting. I often feel like my hirsutism is making the decisions for me. When I was in my early twenties I used to shave my chin and sideburns. After a few hours, the shadow would be obvious and my face would feel stubbly. During my party years, we’d often go get breakfast after a long night of drinking and dancing at the club. I’d bring a razor, but still always felt like the bright light in the morning made my problem obvious to everyone. Did they not notice? Or just not say anything? I guess I’ll never know. When Gilette came out with that “razor to go” a couple of years ago and a friend asked me “What woman would suddenly have the urge to shave her legs on the go?!”, I said nothing. Three days later I bought the new razor. Not for my legs. For my face.
Whether or not I’d hook up with someone was really a matter of whether I’d waxed less than a week ago or not. Sex in general is a bit of a struggle. (God, how does that even sound?!) Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy sex, but I find it hard to let myself go. I don’t let guys go down on me because I’m worried that they’ll feel the stubbles on my inner thighs. I have hair around my nipples, so I try to keep them away from that area. And my chin. Well that’s a constant struggle anyways.
My facial hair makes me self-conscious. Even when I’m just out on a coffee date or having a drink with someone. I always wonder if they’ve noticed, if they’re judging me. If they’d ever wanna be with me despite my hairiness. Why would anyone love me, if I didn’t love myself?
Relationships and Hirsutism
Sometimes I met guys who’d be into me. Happy times, but also times of stress. Stress because my “hair game” had to be on point, and stress because the thought that they just hadn’t noticed yet and would leave me once they did. It’s hard when all you want is to be loved, but somehow you can’t let it happen.
In my late teens I was dating a guy, my first love. We were young and broke and had saved all our money to go on vacation to Greece together. I remember jokingly saying something like: “Well, eventually you’ll leave me for one of those pretty Greek girls!” His response? “No, I don’t wanna be with a hairy Greek girl! Never ever!” I laughed. And cried on the inside. Had he really not noticed? What if he ever found out. This innocent banter led me to stepping up my hair removal routines. Razor burns, cuts and little red bumps were a daily occurrence after that. I really had no idea what I was doing. All I knew was that the hair needed to go. Eventually he moved away and we broke up. That short conversation however has stayed with me. I’m sure he doesn’t remember it and I know he was just trying to be funny, but that little comment had lasting impact on me.
Fast forward to a few months ago: My boyfriend at the time was a doctor and worked at a hospital outside of town. His shift would usually start at 7am, which meant he’d get up at around 5am to get there in time. I had an office job and things at work didn’t really get busy until 10am. Yet I usually got up at 4:45am. What a great girlfriend, supporting her partner you might think, but the truth is, I needed the 15 minutes of extra time before he woke up in the morning to “manage” my facial hair. I’d pluck and shave and put on some foundation – anything that was needed to pretend I was… well.. normal, desirable, pretty, not gross. We broke up and here I am again, dreading the dating game and wondering if I’ll ever meet someone that would love me for who I am. Hairiness and all.
Learning to Love Myself
I know that many women with hirsutism have loving relationships and truth is: I want that too. Over the next few month, I plan to take a break from dating and focus on learning to love myself. I’ve also decided to get IPL on my chin, which almost feels like “cheating”. Am I cheating? Maybe. But at this point in time, I’m craving love. Not the love of a guy, self-love and if this is what it takes, I might as well give it a try…
Follow me on my journey, that I’ll document here on this blog!
What is your experience with dating and relationship? Let me know in the comments!
Sarah has idiopathic hirsutism. She is 30 years old and lives as an expat in the UK. She writes about her daily life with hirsutism on this blog. She loves her cat Sumo, waffles for breakfast and the parks of London.