At the very end of March, I shaved my legs for the first time in two years. When my friends saw it, I replied, “Oh, it’s been two years, I just thought it was time.” This statement was, and is, certainly true. But there is also part of it that stems from getting assaulted in my car the night of March 21st. I retold the story to dinksdinksdinks last night over pleasant dinner and drinks conversation, and I realized I still haven’t said the full story out loud to anyone. I’ve told most of the story to a few people, but my written journal has the most detail.
It occurred after a date with a law student, cis-man (what kind of man does this make you think of?). It turned into five hours of genuinely great conversation. I left the bar, walked to my car, which was parked right in front of the bar, and he got in my passenger seat. I thought he was going to chat, or try to get a kiss, even though I had been laying my boundaries out very clearly. This grown ass man slapped me, with what felt like all his strength, hard across the face, crushed his forearm into my throat and choked me with that arm, while pulling my shirt open, my pants down with the other. I have literally never seen anyone move that quickly, although the slap across the face had me reeling and dazed.
I was screaming as best as I could, biting and tearing at his arm closest to my face, and just weeping. He stopped; and I am pretty sure he is a psychopath.
And almost immediately after, as soon as I could get to a shower, I shaved my legs. It was bizarre; I hadn’t shaved in two years.
It might be a stretch — but the next week as people were seeing my bare legs for the first time, I started thinking about why I grew my hair out in the first place. I was projecting a certain kind of woman to the world, no bullshit, fierce, unattractive to a hetero cis man; I was tired of the gaze and the way people spoke to me as a femme.
I suppose I finally realized that my body hair can’t protect me. It’s not a shield from the attackers.
I shaved again this morning. I told this story last night. I’ve got a lot on my mind this Tuesday morning and it’s flashing through all the hands that have hit me, and all the hands that have held me down.