There are tons of interesting and sometimes thought provoking questions on OKCupid, everyone’s favorite free dating website. But then there are questions that are difficult to answer. Here’s a recent example that’s been frustrating me:
Do you think women have an obligation to keep their legs shaved?
My direct answer to this is: no, of course not. However, at the same time, I would prefer a woman who shaves her legs. By selecting no, it’s more likely that I’m going to matched with a girl with hairy legs, which is a big turn off for me (and probably a lot of other men).
Just to clarify my position on women and shaved legs, let’s look at the issue here. Shaving any body part is a hygiene choice and therefore personal. Women have no obligation to shave their legs, armpits, chest, arms, whatever any more than a man does to shave his face or trim his sideburns. Do I find it more attractive when a woman has shaved legs? Yes. Do I feel like a woman is doing something inherently wrong by not shaving her legs? No. Good for her, it’s her choice. Further, I have absolutely no right to tell a girl that she has to shave body parts or wear makeup or confirm or do anything else that I think makes her look pretty. In return, if I choose to grow a beard — though my beard doesn’t exactly grow in the way I’d like it to — I don’t think a woman has the right to tell me I’m obligated to shave (the exception to this, of course, is if I’m offered a spot on the Yankees). I’m also not obligated to brush my teeth or shower, though I imagine most women would prefer this. Similarly, most men probably prefer a woman with shaven legs. Though, this whole shaven legs thing is actually a style that’s less than 100 years old.
But, again, here’s the problem with this question: I don’t want to date a girl who doesn’t shave her legs. I once actually dated a girl who didn’t shave above the kneecap and it was a huge turnoff for me. I don’t know why, I can’t explain it — for men prior to 1920, this was normal — but I didn’t like it. So part of me is inclined to answer “yes” just to be sure that every girl I’m matched with is shaving her legs. Of course, that also means that every girl that I’m matched with might also think women are obligated to stay home and take care of their families, or think that Saudi Arabia is on to something when they forbid women from driving cars. The small subset of women who have their gender philosophies dwelling in the past like that are also turn-offs for me.
So how do I answer this question? I don’t. I skip it. I could answer it privately but then most people will assume I answer that women are obligated to shave their legs — and I don’t want them to think that!
It’s a vicious cycle.