The Day It Arrived.

1961_Gillette

We had a word for it in our family. Not a particularly nice word. It was a word associated with laughter and piss taking.
Up until the summer of 1972 it had always been directed at other members of my family. The older male cousins, oh and occasionally old Aunty Nelly. But that’s another story altogether.
I knew one day my time would come. But not yet, surely. I was only fourteen and blonde. Very blonde.
But in August 1972 it happened. It just came out of nowhere.
I opened my eyes and stared at the ceiling. Something felt strange. I looked at the clock beside the bed. 10.30am.
My body felt different. But I couldn’t say why. I stood up and put on yesterday’s jeans and T- Shirt.
I walked to the bathroom and splashed cold water on my face. Then I saw it. I looked in the bathroom mirror and saw it.
Bum fluff had arrived!
It was everywhere. Under my nose, below my ears, clumps of it on my chin and neck. Soft white hair that looked utterly ridiculous.
Panic set in. It was a Sunday and I knew everyone would be downstairs. There was no way I could escape without being seen. I thought about leaving by the bedroom window, but that was a no go. My room was above the kitchen and they were bound to see me fall and also hear me scream as I broke both ankles.
I thought about creeping down the stairs and making a dash for it out the back door. But once again not a good plan, dad would be in the garden by now digging something.
No. I had to man up. I had to face the consequences.
I walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. Mum was at the sink washing dad’s pants. She didn’t turn round when she heard me enter.
“About time you got up. Give me a minute and I’ll do you some tea and toast.”
I sat down.
“Thanks mum.”
She finished wringing out a pair of faded Y fronts and turned round. She looked at me. She saw it straightaway. A smile appeared on her face.Her eyes lit up like a cat about to pounce on its prey.
“Is that bum fluff?”
I said nothing. She came closer and put her hand to my face.
“It is. It is. It’s bum fluff.”
She ran out of the kitchen, shouting.
“Ed, Ed, quick, quick. He’s got bum fluff.”
Within seconds, they were both back and staring at me. Dad was the first to speak.
“Yep, that’s bum fluff.”
He sat there just looking at me. Then mum stood up.
“Okay then. I’ll get tea and toast.”
Dad turned and looked at her as though she was insane.
“Tea and toast? Are you crazy? This MAN deserves a proper breakfast. Do him eggs and bacon.”
He emphasised the word MAN and gave me a wink. Mum went to the fridge and got the bacon and eggs.
I ate a hearty breakfast while they both continued to stare at me.
When I’d finished dad took me to one side.
“Listen son, you know all about the ladies monthly’s?”
I nodded. I’d seen packets of Dr Whites in the bathroom for years. When I was 11 I asked my older sister what they were. She sat me down and gave me all the gruesome details. Obviously I thought she was joking. I couldn’t believe that every month women bleed from their private parts yet carry on as though everything was okay. It made no sense. But she assured me that it was true. She even swore it on Mums life so I had to believe her.
Dad continued.
“Well now, us MEN have our own curse. It’s something that we have to do every day. And as soon as you start, it never stops until the day you die. In fact as you get older it gets worse. It doesn’t just grow on your face. Oh no. It starts to grow out of your nose and ears!”
I was horrified. I knew that one day I’d have to start shaving but how the hell could you shave inside your nose and ears. Dad stood up.
“Come with me.”
I followed him up the stairs and into the bathroom. He opened the door of the cupboard under the sink. He took out a small box and opened the lid. Inside was an old stainless steel Gillette razor.
He handed it to me.
“This is for you. I’ll show you how to change the blades, lather up and use it. Best get rid of bum fluff straightaway before everyone takes the piss.”
And that was it. That was the summer I lost my shaving virginity…

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3 Comments

  1. The site looks really slick. I always enjoy your nostalgia pieces. Inspires me to write my own. I shaved my arms as a teenager because I’m dark skinned and hairy like my dad. A decision I live to regret. Bic-diculous girl.

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