DEAR BB: #yesallarmpithair

July 22, 2015


Hi BB!
Ok so we all know that armpit hair is all the rage this summer, which I’m quite pleased about, but I’m wondering: is all armpit hair always accepted? My patch is quite a bit wider and thicker than all the wispy strips I see flaunted on Instagram. Trimming my explosive patch seems a bit contradictory, but I wonder if people are really ready for this?
Also, is it cool to have hairy armpits in the office? Or just grungy bars?
I would also like to know when you predict that exploding bikini lines will be a fad.


My dearest bear femme,

Your patches sound incredible. I am all for expansionary work when it comes to body hair; I feel like you should definitely rock your soaring pit canopies if it brings you joy. #yesallarmpithair. Particularly at work. When I am at my hairiest few things buoy me more than to wear dreamy floral camis and flash sub-brachial bracken at unsuspecting colleagues. What are they going to do, police my femininity to my face? I feel like even the boss with the MOST internalized misogyny would know that telling an employee that underarm hair is unprofessional is puerile. My prediction for exploding bikini lines is July 2017. But it could be sooner if we work together.



Hi dear bb,

I want to learn how to handle criticism better. I know that learning from your mistakes is a huge part of learning how to be a better person, friend, lover, coworker, employee, human, and I want to get there! But whenever I receive feedback that’s not 100% positive, it sends me into a depressive tailspin – I feel defensive, hurt, and then very sad. I can be hard on myself, and when I get critiqued, it feels like every negative idea about myself is being confirmed. I’m sure a part of it is also millenial-special-snowflake-syndrome. SO: how can I practice handling feedback and criticism in a productive way?


Wee special snowflake,

Firstly I just want to congratulate you on having the chops to realize that this is what’s happening for you! Self reflexivity is such an important skill and you’re demonstrating it, so way to go. I want to tread consciously here, because receiving feedback is a pretty loaded thing for people who get pooped on in systemic ways (WOC, queer, gender nonconforming, fat—and of course these people get doubly criticized for “not taking criticism well”). For the purposes of this answer, I’m going to proceed with the assumption that you’re adept at discerning the difference between receiving empathetic and constructive criticism and being oppressively policed by a big jerk, and that we’re working with the former and not the latter.

So! Defensive, hurt, and sad are all very real and very hard things to feel, and there are a couple ways that you can sit with them and not let them eat you up inside. The first is to trust the good intentions of the person who is giving you feedback. For example, if you’re cooking with a friend and they say to you, “hey, the way you’re chopping onions is wild, I bet you can do it way more efficiently if you do it this other way,” you’re allowed to believe that your friend is giving you that feedback with care. Your friend isn’t saying “you’re a big garbage mess and you’ll never be a Top Chef if you don’t chop onions the way that I, your saviour and superior, chop onions.” Your friend also isn’t saying “you deserve to be cast out to sea on a large log and pooped on by 100 birds for the way you are chopping those onions.” What your friend is saying is “I love you so much and I care so much about your bones, and your body and belly will feel 100% better for chopping the onions in a way that 1) doesn’t open you up to chopping off your other body parts and 2) feeds us faster.” You can practice trusting the person giving you criticism any number of ways: by laughing internally at the hypothetical hyperbolic things that they AREN’T saying, by thinking about how you would give the same advice to yourself super lovingly, or even by asking for clarification from the person if you’re comfortable doing so!

The second way that you can get comfortable with learning from mistakes is to give yourself permission to mess up, give yourself permission to forgive yourself, and give yourself permission to trust yourself in the future. Let’s slide back into the example above. If your friend says to you, “hey, the way you’re chopping onions is wild, I bet you can do it way more efficiently if you do it this other way,” you can tell yourself the following and repeat until you believe it:

1. I have a deficit in my onion chopping skills, and that is okay

2. I am allowed to forgive myself for having a deficit in my onion chopping skills, that is okay

3. I have the capacity to overcome my deficit in onion chopping skills, and that is okay

The great thing about those steps is that “onion chopping skills” can be substituted with anything: MS Excel skills, jigsaw puzzle skills, money saving skills, or anything else that you’re trying to learn.

Treat yourself with all the gentle firmness with which you’d treat a new puppy who is mournful at having peed on the floor, and you’ll get to a point where critique fortifies you.






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