Awhile back, I was in a bad relationship with a guy I ultimately lost my virginity to. It was awkward and not something I look back on very fondly, but I've come to terms with it and moved on. But recently, I heard that he told everyone that I don't shave...down there.
I can deal with my non-virgin status and the fact that it's now public information (not that anyone is really taunting me or judging me for losing my virginity), but I'm receiving a fair amount of discomfort and ridicule about my hairiness. So please, clear the air—what is the "rule" on shaving? Is there even any such "rule"? Or is this just a strange west-side of the continent custom that can be ignored?
At the moment, I'm fielding the jokes with ridiculous retorts such as "Why, you wanna see?" "Well, too bad, you can't get at this" and etc but I'm not sure that's the best way to be handling the situation. It's earning me a rather promiscuous reputation and to be honest, this sarcastic "whatever-you-say" act is a little taxing. I'm hoping it'll all blow over soon but in the case it doesn't, I'm moving to Canada and changing my name to Betty. And since I really like my current name, please reassure me that I won't be having to change it anytime soon? People can be cruel, and while I take pride in my general ability to disregard unnecessary and unkind comments from petty high schoolers, everyone has a limit and I think I'm reaching mine soon.
I've said it before, but it bears repeating: growing hair on your nether-regions is a natural, normal, happens-to-everybody result of going through puberty. And while you certainly have the option to shave it, trim it, Nair it, or have it ripped out by a masochistic aesthetician who then festoons your aching bits with tiny rhinestones, you are by no means required to groom your pubes. (For more info, see the entire column we did on this earlier in the year!) And the only guys who think that women should be utterly bare down below are, in a word, losers—and losers who are more likely than not getting all their information about the female body from internet porn rather than interaction with actual naked women. Which is to say, being mocked by these douchebags for your failure to shave your bits is like being mocked for your fashion sense by a guy wearing gold lamé parachute pants and a beer helmet.
In other words, these are not people you want to impress.
Which is what you need to keep in mind each and every time you find yourself fielding yet another stupid joke about your purported hairiness—not because there's a magic bullet that'll put the taunting to rest, but because a healthy sense of detached superiority will make it seem like just so much noise.
And detached superiority is what you need. Going blow-for-blow with your sarcasm on full blast can be great, if it's genuine, if it's natural, and, most importantly, if it makes you feel better afterward. But if you're not feeling it, then it becomes just another desperate defensive action—and to dedicated bullies, defensiveness is like blood in the water. They know they're getting to you. Which is why the secret of effective deflection isn't how you react to the attack; it's about how you view it in the first place.
And this is the part where you remind yourself that the people teasing you are gnats. They are scum. They are malodorous but minute dog turds on the sidewalk of your life. And you? You're Mick Jagger. You're Batman. You're the Queen of freakin' England, and you don't give so much as one-quarter of one f*** about the babbling blither of idiots.
And once you've got your mental armor in place, the best way to handle the teasing is in whatever way gets you through and makes you feel best. It's up to you to figure that out, but possibilities include:
The Preemptive Strike
Interrupt your tormentor mid-taunt and say, "Look, I just don't have time for this. Whatever you've heard, I'm sure it's all totally true. Okay? Bye!" (Then walk away, or turn your back and start a conversation with someone else as though nothing happened.)
With mild detachment, say, "Whatever, I'm just not a fan of looking like a seven year-old girl. But if that's what gets you going, I'm sure you and some second-grader will be very happy together."
"So you and I won't be getting it on, then? Wow, I'm devastated." (The more deadpan/sincere your delivery, the better.)
Stating the Obvious
"As classy as it was for Exboyfriend to make it a schoolwide topic of conversation, I just don't actually care what you think of my vagina."
Going for Laughs
"Hair? I'm just surprised he didn't tell you about the teeth/tusks/family of badgers living under my left labia!"
Experiment, and see what feels right to you. The goal isn't to get them to leave you alone; it's to make yourself feel as great, as golden, and as above-it-all as possible until they decide to stop on their own. Which they will, eventually... but you'll be so busy not giving a damn, you may not even notice.
But seriously, y'all: do people at YOUR school actually care this much about what fellow students are doing with their pubes? Tell us! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.