sad high school swimmer

Today’s question is from a high school boy who shaved his legs for swimming, and things aren’t going so well now…

Ethan writes:

I have a leg hair issue. I shaved my leg hair for swimming bcuz it apparently makes us swim better. Ppl are now making fun of me at school calling me gay and etc. I was wondering how long does it take for you to have your leg hair grow back… u have experience so i’d thought i’d ask. Truthfuly i really dont care about swimming a second better i just want my school problem to be solved.

Sorry to hear about your troubles Ethan!

To answer the easy part of your question, I think it takes my leg hair about a month to get back to normal after shaving. 4-6 weeks is probably a realistic estimate, but maybe even longer to really fill in.

In the mean time, do you have other friends on the swim team shaving their legs and/or a coach you can talk to for support?

I am far removed from the drama of high school, but I still have plenty of internet trolls stopping by to tell me how gay it is that I shave my legs. I find that if I am self-confident and comfortable with my masculinity, they get bored and move on.

Ethan writes:

I got the same response I got laughed at and according to others i have girly legs now and ppl just call me gay. There was another guy on youtube who shaved his legs… but he was actually gay so he got no insults. If it takes a month to grow back then darn it bcuz for 4 days ive been tortured by over 15 ppl. Also my friends who shave their legs… they have the same issue.

The coach for track shaves his legs and everyone calls him gay. Also since June is coming im going biking so i might stop by on facebook and ask u a question to learn how to better myself minus the leg hair stuff but im not going tour de france crazy for this so my legs will not be shaved EVER AGAIN.

When I started shaving my legs in high school, no one really bothered me. I was also fortunate enough to have a great coach and mentor that I could always go to if I needed anything.

I can answer quite a few questions pertaining to cycling, but for the first time in the history of the Ask Levi column, I want to call in another expert to help in this situation.

She’s the best mom that I know (other than my own, of course), and she always seems to have the right answer. Her name is Crystal DeTemple, and she authors the semi-famous parenting blog Bringing Up Butterflies.

Here’s what Crystal says:

Thank you for inviting me to respond to this inquiry.

First of all, sticks and stones may break your bones but… names really do hurt! I don’t care what anyone says about how names shouldn’t bother you. No one likes being bullied, no matter how confident they are. More than likely, you do not remember a single stick or stone you encountered growing up… but you remember the taunts and teasing. Unfortunately, just about everyone endures some name calling in their lives. It does help to have a good support system, especially when issues like this arise. If you have one, even just ‘one’ person you can talk to, but sure to utilize them.

The good news is, the hair on your legs will grow back. As for your feelings, consider this a learning experience and try not to stress about the bullying too much. Odds are, the less you are obviously affected, the faster they will tire of their antics; and before you know it, your trunks will be bushy again and the whole ordeal will be over.

If you live in a region where you can get away with wearing pants for a few weeks, just keep them covered. If teammates and the coach are all sporting smooth, hairless appendages as well, the only place your legs will be seen will be in the company of sympathizers. If you can’t get away with keeping your legs covered while in class, just keep repeating “this too shall pass.” Trust me, it will.

This is actually an unbelievably common concern for men and you’re bound to find all sorts of advice for speeding up the recovery of your masculinity online. A lot of it is old wives tales.

There are a few techniques that will help though:

1.) Exfoliate

During the ‘growing out’ process, be sure to exfoliate your legs in the shower daily. When the warm water is running over them, your pores will open up and the hair will soften. Whether you use an exfoliate (3 tbsp of sugar or sea salt, mixed with mashed banana is great for this), exfoliating body wash, or you simply use some good old fashion elbow grease, by scrubbing your legs down well with a wash cloth or shower pouffe… it is important to exfoliate. It will greatly decrease your risk of ingrown hairs (which are both painful and unsightly). This process will also improve circulation… which may speed up hair growth.

2.) Diet

Increase foods, in your diet, that are high in biotin and niacin… both water soluble B vitamins. Swiss chard is a top producer of biotin and great in salads. You can also consume more carrots, tree nuts, berries, eggs and halibut (which is very high in biotin). Niacin is present in all meat, peanuts, mushrooms, peas and avocados.

3.) Supplements

Take an over the counter supplement that contains biotin and niacin. You could take them separately, or as part of a B-max vitamin (all of which are readily available at any pharmacy.)

4.) Moisturize

Moisturize with a lotion containing vitamin E, or even consider massaging your legs with vitamin E oil (also available at the pharmacy). This too will help prevent irritation as the hair goes out, but it will also improve the health of your skin in general.

5.) Relax!

Worrying about your hair growing back out, won’t make it grow any faster. Relaxing won’t speed up growth either, but this is just one of those things that require some patience. There is no sense in exhausting yourself over it.

It’s unfortunate that you (or anyone) has to endure bullying over something as trivial as body hair. This is one of those issues that will correct itself with time though, unlike many other body image concerns. Hang in there, until you can let your legs hang out again!

Photo credit: TownePost Network

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  1. Great article Coach and Crystal!

    As an offensively hairy man, I find that most people are driven away from my fur, so I’ve frequently weighed the prospect of manscaping.

    Thanks to the entire staff for all their support!

    • As a naturally hairy boy at school, I would say I was not bullied regarding my hairy legs, although some of the other boys did tell me that I should trim them a bit I ignored them and was quite happy about being the boy with the hairiest legs in my class. I did a lot of cycling, always in shorts and had quite a lot of comments when I was cycling regarding my hairy legs, I never cycled in long trousers as that is very uncomfortable. If I had joined a cycling club I would have had to shave my legs but I never did that. My advice to other boys with hairy legs who do not want to shave them and are a bit embarrassed about it is to embrace your hairiness, be happy on how hairy your legs are and tell those other people who comment on how hairy your legs are to mind their own business, say to them “they are my legs, I am proud of how hairy they are”.

  2. @DaQuan Hanks

    We support all levels of bushiness (or lack thereof) here! No matter how offensive.

  3. You need to concern yourself with growing self confidence, not hair.

    Grow a spine and take ownership of your decisions.

    As you go through life, you will be lucky if you have 6 good true friends. High School is the time to excel and rise above the morass of peer pressure.

    You need to embrace your accomplishments and the truly important people and priorities in your life. This is the basis of self confidence. With self confidence, when some broken “little” person comes along to taunt you, the taunts will just seem childish and unimportant.

    People respect strength and self confidence. You have already shown weakness and indecisiveness. A true turnoff to the opposite sex. At this point the shaved legs have nothing to do with anything.

    Make your decisions, hold your head high, understand your priorities and true friends. Know where you are going and do not let the opinions of the little people hold you back. It won’t be easy but it will be rewarding.

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