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Hair Week

Diary of a Hairy Twink

Welcome to Hair Week on INTO! This week, we’ll be exploring the thing we love to hate the most: our hair. Queer hair is a whole thing, and everybody’s queer hair journey is different. Today, INTO contributor Jude Cramer writes about his journey through binaries, boxes, and body hair. 


To shave my legs, or not to shave my legs, that is the question. Oh, and my chest. And my armpits. And my ass — actually, let me back up a second.

I’m a hairy guy. Point blank, period. I’ve always had mixed feelings about my body hair. As it grew in, I alternated between disgust and pride in “becoming a man.” It almost felt like a party trick — I could pull up the leg of my jeans, and people would be amazed at how much fur I was hiding.

Because someone like me isn’t supposed to be hairy. I’m a man, yes, but a feminine man. I always rock a heel or a platform, I don’t leave the house without statement earrings, my midriff is never not exposed in the summertime (hairy tummy and all). A few weeks ago, my great uncle saw me from afar and said, “I don’t know who that is, but she needs to shave her legs.”

I’m a hairy guy. Point blank, period. I’ve always had mixed feelings about it.

Getting candid here — I was never sexually active in high school, or most of my first year of college. When I finally was comfortable putting myself out there, I didn’t know how to market myself, for lack of a better term.

The gay hookup scene does feel like a market, after all — the way you present yourself has everything to do with who’ll approach you, whether in person or online. And somehow, we gays have perfectly replicated the hetero gender binary a million times over. You have to be a top or a bottom, a bear or a twink, masc or femme — the list of boxes we force ourselves into goes on. Why? Whose brilliant idea was that?

Well, like it or not, it’s the culture I entered. And though we as a queer community are working on recognizing and breaking down those unnecessary binaries more and more, I was still lost. I’ve (embarrassingly) googled “Can twinks have hairy legs?” more times than I’d like to admit. And “Can otters be femme?” And “Do guys like body hair?”

Shocker: none of those questions have real answers. No matter how many forums I scrawled through for the ultimate solution to my dilemma, I was still confused, and I was still hearing different unsolicited opinions from every guy I hooked up with. Some people loved the hair, but only on certain body parts. Some people loved every inch of it. Some people were disgusted by it.

I’ve (embarrassingly) googled “Can twinks have hairy legs?” more times than I’d like to admit.

I wish someone had told me from the get-go that despite how it may seem, no one’s sexual preferences can be easily deduced from which so-called “tribe” they identify with. And beyond that, I needed to hear that I should always prioritize the way I want my body to be, not change myself to fit someone else’s fantasy.

That’s a lesson I’m still learning. Can’t lie, I’m definitely insecure enough to still apologize for the “undesirable” parts of me. I don’t even know if I like my hair. It’s certainly not perfect; I have a veritable carpet on my calves, but I can’t muster anything even close to a beard. But if I take the leap to remove my body hair, it’s gone, at least for a while. I don’t want to regret that decision — and I don’t want prickly legs, either.

Somehow, I managed to complicate things even further for myself by getting involved in drag. You might expect the pressure to be hairless would increase when you’re trying to present as a woman, but I actually found it liberating. Suddenly, being hairy was even more of a paradox, even more taboo, but in a scene that celebrates rebellion and counterculture. My body hair itself was queer, so for someone like me who tries to embody queerness in all that I do, drag helped me appreciate it from a new perspective.

I’m still figuring out how I want to present. Who knows — check back in this time next year and I might be perfectly smooth, head to toe. But from now on, I’m trying to make that decision for me and me alone. If guys are into it, all the better! But ultimately, the one opinion that counts is my own. 

As a culture, I hope that kind of individualistic attitude is the wave of the future, because when we’re free from trying to fit into stereotypes, we can all let our hair down. And it feels damn good.♦

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