Armpit hair or the Eurozone crisis? The writer’s dilemma


I met a girl once who let her armpit hair grow nice and bushy so that she could weed out the guys that were more interested in her grooming habits than her intellect. I thought of her yesterday as I was killing time flicking through the bestsellers in Easons. I’d picked up Caitlin Moran’s How to be a woman and happened upon a passage outlining the importance of maintaining a fine balance between the cultivation and removal of excess pubic hair. Apparently, girls as young as 12 are now seeking full body waxes. Furthermore, young boys’ exposure to porn means that they’re unfamiliar with the follicle reality of the female anatomy, which shocks them upon their first real encounter with it.

The things you learn.

I was conscious that it had been nearly a week since my last post and even though popular science dictates that the third week in January presents the greatest statistical probability of lapsing on your New Year’s Resolutions, I was determined to buck the trend and continue blogging.

So I thought about writing about bodily hair; about how I’ll be damned if I shave my legs in the winter, or about how I got my eyebrows threaded last June and that though it was very painful and my eyes were watering like a hose, when the beautician asked me if I was alright I answered that I was doing just fine and that the streaks of mascara decorating my cheeks were intentional.

But I thought the better of it. After all, there are more important things to be worrying about than the state of the nation’s armpits. I resolved to educate myself on a more sober theme.

As a result, I spent much of today in solitary confinement; having decided that I wanted to be someone who writes about the things that matter, rather than the colonies that fester in secret under our nation’s arms.

It didn’t take me long to find a suitable treatise.

With the stealth of a long-repressed id, the Eurozone crisis reared its ugly head from the back of my mind, where I had shoved it to avoid returning to the shameful and possibly unalterable fact that I don’t understand economics.

I began by googling promising terms like “Eurozone crisis”, “structure of European banking system” and “austerity”.

I decided it would be only right to set myself a plausible-sounding essay title to focus my enquiries.

I came up with “Outline the causes of the Eurozone crisis and discuss potential outcomes of Government measures to tackle the crisis”, which I thought sounded promising.

Like most academic titles, it was embedded with the code “Write anything you know about this theme and don’t forget to reference several bizarrely named academics to make the whole process a bit more bearable”.

I skimmed through a few generalities and familiarised myself with key Eurozone celebs like Hosé Manuel Barosso, Christine Lagarde and Evangelos Venizelos. I even recorded the duller-sounding names in a notebook for future perusal.

image source: guardian.co.uk


I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I happened upon the BBC’s Crisis Jargon Buster. I rushed downstairs to make myself a cup of mint tea, took a deep breath, then spent the entire day reading the list of terms and taking notes, which I intend to copy into the desktop folder I have called “My general betterment”.

As it turns out, the crisis is not without its gratifying terms. So much so, that when LSB picked me up this evening, we whiled away a pleasant half hour making economy-related puns over our cappuccinos.

I asked him if he could guess what my new favourite cereal was. Though he’s a savant, he was stumped. He knew that it used to be Aldi’s own-brand strawberry crisp but I told him that was old news.

My morning victual of choice was now … “Credit crunch”.

His groan was nothing on the one I had let out when I reached the letter “H” in the jargon buster glossary. Wedged defiantly between “Glass-Steagall” and “Hedge fund” was the word “haircut”.

And it didn’t refer to armpits.

Such are the dilemmas I’m facing as I embark on another year of blogging. Do I write about my savant boyfriend, who generates hundreds of hits, or about the war in Iraq or the meaning of “art” , which fewer people want to read about?

Should journalists give the public what it should want, or what it does want? Is it more important to inform or to entertain?

What do you think?

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10 thoughts on “Armpit hair or the Eurozone crisis? The writer’s dilemma

  1. I love your more ‘educational’ blog posts, but I love it when you talk about your boyfriend and it makes me want to meet him and fire sums at him. Maybe there’s a bit in between that is educational, and heart renching/warming – maybe social reporting more than political/economic. Like why little Johnny goes to school without any breakfast. I don’t know, just an idea. When it comes to cereal I’m with you, Strawberry, and the pecan crunch – but I’ve lost teeth to it in the past! My teeth are as much use as a window made of clay. As for the hair, being a straight man and having seen ‘both-sides-of-the-coin’ in female hair terms, I can’t help but say – the feminist in me sobbing – that I really don’t like much hair on a woman. Maybe it’s because we associate hair with male bodies? It’s naughty I know because like you say it gives women an un-natural ideal. Then, I hear a lot of women going on about where men should and shouldn’t have hair, so is it just the way we are nowadays? Hairless-future-beings.

    • That in-betweeny bit is exactly where I want to go. I want to write about how policy affects the old lady down the road, or the kid with learning difficulties or the stressed-out parent.

      YES. the pecan crunch is amazing! It can be a little hard on tender morning teeth, but I tend to eat it all throughout the day. I’m also a fan of the freeze-dried raspberry variety but it’s hard enough to come by!

      You’re totally right – women are JUST as demanding when it comes to pruning. Some of it might be conditioned – I mean I remember when I was as young as seven or eight hearing people talk about the “horrors” of continental women who didn’t shave. But yeah, maybe the whole ‘animal’ thing turns people off.
      That said, I like that the girl I met just couldn’t care less. It’s one thing if you choose to be delightful and silky smooth but I wouldn’t take well to a guy telling me I had to be. 🙂

      Hope my reply got to you by the way!
      Hope

  2. What do I think? I pronounce Katzi’s current serendipitous mix to be a happy mean, a ‘via media’ [Latin for ‘the route into journalism’?].

  3. Connecting hairy armpits to haircuts in economics is one of the unexpected delights that reading your blogs brings. High entertainment value.

  4. Same as Papsi, I think so far you have been doing a happy medium. So all is good. That said, I do have one topic which I am not sure if you might be keen to write about – why do so many people feel the need to change their life or make changes to their life radically in Jan?
    Eurozone crisis is indeed interesting. Not what is happening next, more of what led to our present state? Many have been surprised about what’s happening(how could it possibly happen?!) – but it’s the shaky foundation established at the start that has returned to haunt. Before I start to go into the intricacies, I shall stop here but no worries, I could(if I may) send you little spurts of suggested topics from time to time(if that helps).

    And Kate, you are doing extremely well for 2012 so far, with a brand new self-owned url, you have just started on the right note! 🙂

  5. Kate, I struggle a lot with the same questions as regards my (currently incredibly neglected) blogging habits. For me, I’m just generally so impressed that I have managed to write ANYTHING of even vague merit that I go ahead and post it with little regard for theme or structure or content.

    That said, I don’t think you have that problem. Your blog strikes a lovely balance between the personal and the political. You have a keen eye for resonant grounding little details in sweeping global debates. I definitely don’t think it’s an either/or question, but I will say this; there are a lot of densely sociopolitical blogs out there. Your voice and the things you notice, the things you find interesting are totally unique. I would say continue as is! More armpit hair AND more economics!

    On that note, I have many opinions on all the bits I am expected to keep hair-free. This feels like appropriate fodder for guest post sleepover!

  6. Hi Kate, as a German-Irish hybrid perhaps you can explain to me and the rest of your readers why an Irish relative of mine is absolutely convinced that every economic policy out of/supported by Germany to save the Euro is dictated by an innate German need to dominate Europe along the lines of “well it didn’t work by military force so now they are trying it by economic force”. Is this belief widespread in Ireland?
    Just an idea that could lie in-the-middle-ish.
    Grüße aus Berlin!

  7. So you’re back to work I guess? I was getting used to daily blog posts while you were off. I’m a university employee so I’m still off till the new semester February 6th. Using my time well – that is – as long as all this sleep means I can stay awake for the rest of 2012 and do loads of cool stuff. Hope you’re still enjoying January, which is latin for ‘The month that stinks’!

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