Wednesday, 20 April 2016


My eleven year old has become obsessed with the question of lady whiskers.

MY lady whiskers.

I catch her standing in the kitchen doorway staring at me as I cook dinner. She looks decidedly queasy.

"You ok?" I say. "Something wrong?"

She is staring directly at my face. Clearly, my face is the thing that is wrong.

"It's a stubble isn't it?" I say, finally.

Her concern over my chin hair has become routine. Terrified that I might be morphing into Gandalf, she has taken to scanning my face for deviant follicles. I give my chin a quick sweep to reassure her.

"Nothing there", I say breezily.  "I plucked them this morning!"

I see her gag and little and figure that "plucked" is one of those words, (like "moist" or "Michael Gove"), that revolts people.

"It's underneath. In the middle!" she says, with rising hysteria. "It's sticking out loads. It's totally black".

"I can't deal with it now!" I say, a little shoutily. "I"m cooking dinner."

Afterwards I feel bad for raising my voice at her.  I have already embarrassed her enough this year by posting pictures of my armpits on Facebook during an outburst of feminist defiance.

"It's still there mammy", she says, as I'm settling her down to bed later that evening.

"I'll sort it in the morning", I say. "I promise."

"I want to do it now", she says. "Please."

I hand her my emergency tweezers. As she bends over me, I can smell the rhubarb and custard bath bomb her best friend bought for her; the more grown-up smell of chewing gum. I can see the concentration in her eyes, less blue than they once were; a serious, sea-green colour now. I am painfully aware that she is projecting all her anxieties about growing up onto my chin hair.

"It's gone all curly" she says, after a couple of attempts. "It's worse than before! LITERALLY!"

"Adele had a beard", I say. "When she was pregnant. Loads of women have facial hair. It's totally natural."

I want her to know facial hair doesn't matter half as much as she thinks it does - that you can be totes awesome WITH facial hair. (Although possibly not a humongous chevron moustache like our ex-neighbour Barbara). I want her to know that the people who love you, will love you anyway.

"There" she says, completely ignoring me. "I got it out for you."

She offers me the tiniest brown hair.

"What shall we call it then?" I say.

"You're super gross!" she shrieks, but then, a few minutes later, as I'm scratching her back, she turns to me giggling.

"Larry" she says.  "That's what Adele called her beard."

"Larry it is then" I say.

PS: You may have noticed that I used the words "moist" and "Michael Gove" in close proximity. This is pure coincidence and not an indicator of any weird sexual proclivities.

PPS "Secrete", "squirt" and "Sajid Javid" are also words people find repellent. Just saying.


  1. Lovely to see you - it's been AGES!!! My daughter had a blister once called Jeff.

    What is it with daughters and our appearance? I don't know if it's an endless quest to make us less embarrassing to be seen with or, if it's that they are terrified of ending up looking like us ... Miss Mac is always happy to point our my errant chin hairs and to keep me updated on the latest wrinkle to appear - fortunately my eyesight isn't quite what it used to be so I don't notice unless I'm wearing my reading glasses.

  2. Hi Sarah. It HAS been ages. I was trying to juggle two jobs, three kids, a dog and cat, and all whilst the OH was away. (Though I wasn't ACTUALLY juggling them. The cat in particular wouldn't fucking stand for it. )

    Incidentally it's a shame Jeff The Blister and Larry the Chin Hair never met. I should have kept Larry in one of those memory boxes normally used for cuttings from your child's first haircut. I think I just flicked him on the floor.

    Anyhoo, I'm back to one half-job now and the OH is back, so should be able to blog a little more .... xxx

  3. So glad to see a new post; your writing always brightens my day!

    My niece usually points out any imperfections in my appearance with startling precision. She has yet to name any of them yet, although I did have a persistent abscess in my shoulder which my husband and I named Terrance.


  4. Hi Sophie! Terrance seems like exactly the right name for a persistent shoulder abscess, combining seriousness and annoyance! I shall pop over to your blog asap to say hello! x

  5. Brill post!! My kids are only small but my eldest loves commenting on my joining eyebrows and fluffy private parts! Kids :)

    1. Hi! Yip, my monobrow is a source of morbid fascination here too. Ditto the 'fur' on my mini-twinkle. Btw, this morning I gave birth to Larry The Chin's Hair younger sibling. Dave the Tash Whisker. He's super cute! xx