Ever since our road rides last year, Mark has been bugging me to shave my legs. I have refused, even though his zealous nagging is similar to a dealer pushing dope.
Yesterday Fat Cyclist posted some Q&As about cycling, and leg shaving was the first item. After some discussion in the comments, I decided I should post about my anti-leg-shaving position.
I have to take a stand against leg shaving as I feel it's part of a larger issue.
As men we have it pretty good. We (generally) resist prettiness and the associated maintenance that comes with it. We’ve got better things to do like climb mountains, hunt, surf, explore jungles, run rivers, build business empires, and ride our bikes. Our message to the ladies is: “What you see is what you get”. OK, we may occasionally bathe, comb our hair, or wear clean clothes as a token gesture while dating, but we only extend ourselves so far. We like our low maintenance lifestyle. But this position only works if us men are united.
I’m troubled by certain trends that threaten the idyllic manly way of life. Metrosexuals are a dire threat. These pretty-boys are using the arsenal of beautification weapons employed historically by women. Many women like this pretty-boy look. If too many guys go metro, critical mass will be reached and we’ll all have to “pretty up” or never get a date.
Sure, leg-shaving is miles away from full-blown metrosexualism, but it’s a step in that direction. You disagree? OK, would Dirty Harry shave his legs? John Wayne? The Crocodile Hunter (Steve Irwin, RIP)? Need I go on?
So just like every raindrop adds to the flood, each shaved leg erodes manliness and moves us one step closer to the metrosexual apocalypse. You have been warned! Repent all ye shavers of legs!Why Shave?
Fat Cyclist answered this question well - here's what he said:
OK, So Why Do Cyclists Shave Their Legs, Then?
Well, there are several reasons most cyclists will give you. They will say that it makes them more aerodynamic, which would be a good reason…if it were true.
They will say they do it because it makes it easier to clean road rash out of their legs. To which I answer, if you’re so confident you’re going to be crashing, maybe you need to look into a different sport. Like chess, for example.
They will say they shave their legs because of tradition. This reason actually does have merit, but it’s tantamount to proclaiming that you’re a lemming.
There are two — and only two — real reasons cyclists shave their legs:
- Vanity: You’ve worked hard to get the legs you’ve got. Why hide them under a mat of hair?
- To impress other cyclists: Once you’re on the bike, there’s not much you can do to hide whether you’re the alpha rider or a domestique. But at least while you’re hanging out at the bike shop, shaved legs say, "I’ve joined the club; I’m a serious cyclist. I am so confident of my manliness that I can wear a bright jersey, tight lycra shorts, and have shaved legs without feeling ridiculous in public."
You see, when you shave, the hair that hides your muscle definition is gone, making it easier for you to admire those quads in the mirror, and for other cyclists to admire your calves on the bike. And since you’ve worked so hard to get those muscles, you feel it’s your right to show them off in all their glory.
Some cyclists, when they're finally being honest, say they like how shaved legs feel - especially as they slice through the air while riding. Feeling good is OK, but since male cyclists usually focus on pain and suffering when talking to other male cyclists, I can see why this reason doesn't get mentioned much.
In a similar vein, many leg-shavers say their significant other likes the smooth legs - OK, but it sidesteps the fact that they started shaving their legs for cycling (which brings us back to the question of why) with the appeal to their partner as an unintended side effect (and more along the metrosexual line of thinking).
Akin to the road rash reason is the massage angle: the post-ride massage feels better with hairless legs. Is that really a reason to shave you legs? Seems like baby oil prevents hair pulling during a massage well enough. And, really, how many cyclists are getting post-ride massages?
So let's cut to the chase: Cyclists shave their legs because they like how it looks and/or feels. Is that so hard to admit? For a lot of men it is. They don't want to admit that hairless legs look good - because, that's why women shave their legs. They don't want to admit that shaved legs feel good, because that's not manly.
So will I ever shave my legs? 99.99% no (the .01% is the chance that I stupidly make a bet and lose). I don't want to shave my legs mostly because I'm lazy. I don't want to spend the time shaving - it's a hassle. It's so unnecessary and a waste of time. I've got enough to deal with in my life, why add something I don't have to? And I don't want to deal with nicks, cuts, razors, or stubble. God (or if you prefer, evolution) made me with hairy legs and that's fine with me.
See my follow-up post for more.