My one-year-old daughter is totally into bears right now. Out of the ten or so words she knows, it’s definitely her favorite topic of discussion. She sleeps with a bear while wearing bear pajamas. Many nights she won’t actually sleep in the pajamas, because she just wants to hold the shirt, gaze at the bear’s face lovingly and say with a reverence normally reserved for the pope and Ryan Gosling, “Bewr, bewr, bewr.”
If we are out in the world and she sees a bear — not an actual bear, we live in Los Angeles, not Alaska, but, say, some graffiti of a bear — forget about getting where you are going. You must stop and consider the bear.
Occasionally she calls things that aren’t bears “bewrs.” Certain Sesame Street Characters, the occasional Muppet, and some unidentifiable characters in her board books have all been likened to the giant mammal. I’m not about to argue; I don’t know what the hell they are either.
The other night I was drying off after a quick bath when she hobbled into the bathroom to investigate. She stood up and peered closely at my unkempt lady business. Her face exploded into a huge grin, and she pointed while excitedly shouting, “Bewr! Bewr! Bewr!”
That’s just about the best thing ever: my daughter’s first association with my vagina, and by association her own, is that it’s a wild and potentially very dangerous animal that no one had better fuck with.
Recently I’ve been very happy with my decision to let my bush go rogue. Years ago, before marriage and kids came along, I’d handed over what little extra cash I had to a stoic Eastern European woman to mercilessly rip all the hair off of my genital area. It didn’t make my life one bit better. It was just another errand I had to run, money I didn’t have to spend, and, as you might already know, it hurts like a mother.
Someday my daughter is going to grow hair on her vagina, which is hard to believe, since, at thirteen months, she has about three hairs on her head. But when the day does come, I don’t want to be sporting a perfectly manicured minuscule triangle, on an otherwise hairless muff. I imagine that conversation being awkward.
“Mom, something is wrong with me. I have hair. Down there.”
“Oh honey, that’s totally normal. It’s a beautiful, natural part of becoming a woman.”
“Then why don’t you have any hair down there?”
“Uh, well, actually, I get mine waxed off.”
“I don’t know exactly. It used to be something only porn stars did, and then it crossed over to popular culture and regular women started doing it and um…”
“Does Daddy like you better if you do this?”
“Do I need to do this so boys will like me?”
I’m getting sad about the world just typing up this pretend conversation.