A Hairy Armpit Almost Got Me Canceled

I almost got locally canceled last week. I say ‘locally’ because there’s no way, no fucking way, that this would have gone viral, as anyone with functioning ears and a pulse would have heard my story and realized that they’ve got the wrong guy. I swear, sometimes the people in my community are too busy eating peanut butter and crack sandwiches to think logically. There was way too much overthinking and overanalyzing for what should have been such a simple conversation.

The gloves are off now.

But before I begin, I just want to make one notion VERY clear. It’s very important you understand this, as this is how you can determine the justice of my situation for yourself. Alright, here it is: I do not like armpits. 

Yes, I’m aware that it is a completely irrational fear considering that I, as well as every other limbed human being on earth has an armpit. More specifically, I don’t like other people’s armpits. I’m fine with my own, but I really just don’t want to look or think too hard about anyone else’s. Whether it’s the smells they can produce or the unpleasant hair and little white balls of dried deodorant mixture that I have to look at when I guard someone on a basketball court, I just don’t like armpits. When I was younger, I would get drilled and pinned down by my cousins, or my crazy uncle, at like Thanksgiving or any other family gathering (I always seemed to be some sort of prey-like-target) and all they had to do was rub their armpits on my face to get me to tap out. They all knew that move was my kryptonite. I’d tap out in five seconds before either throwing up or starting to cry. Even just me typing out “armpit” right now gives me the creeps. All I can picture is a hot sweaty pit of vile smells and a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to have steamy passionate asexual intercourse. Some people don’t like feet, some people freak out over hands, I’ve even heard of fears of belly buttons. America’s Got Talent star Howie Mandel won’t even touch his own kids because he’s afraid of germs… so I think I am within my irrational fear of rights to dislike the human underarm. 

So here I was at work, just doing my job, saving the restaurant industry from a coronavirus outbreak, scrubbing one table at a time. I was on lunch break. I was really looking forward to the free reuben sandwich the chefs just whipped up for me. Across the sea of tables, I saw this lady and her friend sit down at a table nearby. She was wearing a yellow sundress. Yes, it was December, and no, I don’t know what point she was trying to make by doing this. 

She was telling a story to her friend. I couldn’t hear what they were talking about, but I could tell it was a super animated story. She was doing a lot of hand movement, arm waves, and various facial gestures. Honestly, it looked like one hell of a story. Well at one point, she either referred to a field goal that was GOOD or was reminiscing on her best memory of dancing to Village People’s “Y.M.C.A,” because she put both of her arms straight up in the air. And then I saw them. Jesus Christ. She had hairier underarms than I did. The way her thick dark hair contrasted against her pale white skin, a blind man couldn’t miss them. 

So right then and there, my lunch break was ruined. The reuben was a wash. It could have been my first steak dinner from Ruth’s Chris upon me being rescued from a desert island, and I still wouldn’t have had an appetite after seeing those hairy underarms. I was disgusted.

NOT because of any social norm I’m used to. I’m not writing this because I feel that there are specific character attributes and stereotypes that women should always follow, such as shaving one’s underarms. That’s not what this is about AT ALL, as there’s nothing political or deep about this. I freaked out and had to go take-5 in the men’s room because I simply don’t like armpits. I saw the armpit, and then I saw the long dark black hair, which I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting, and then it didn’t take long for me to lose my appetite. 

The hair is what got me. Hair is so tricky. Regardless of gender, hair is one of those things that can look absolutely phenomenal on certain areas of your body and then look outright disgusting on other places. Not to mention, hair from someone’s head is also a conditional allowance. I feel like the minute it leaves someone’s head, it instantly becomes a nuisance. Oh my god, how about pulling out a nice three inch piece of hair from your mouth after you took a bite of food? That’s one way to cancel lunch. If you see hair on the bathroom floor or see it caught in the drain of the shower, that can literally ruin your morning. It doesn’t have to be just pubic hair for that to be gross either, as seeing hair of any type where it shouldn’t belong can absolutely derail your vibes. Hair is a tough subject because it can literally be a night and day psychological nightmare depending on its location. The grooming company Manscapped knows this, and now they’re making a fortune because of it.

So back to me. I already despise armpits… but now you throw some dark hair in the mix. Good God. To me, that’s like adding blue cheese dressing to a pile of catshit. 

Bon Appétit. 

So later on, I’m with some of my girlfriends and I tell them about what I saw at the restaurant. Usually if I tell a story to them, even if it’s not funny, I’m met with relatively decent reviews and an overall generous crowd. Remember, they love eating peanut butter and crack sandwiches. (I’m foreshadowing that they are actually idiots) As far as I was concerned, they also knew the extent of which I hate armpits, so it was safe to say that I was already anticipating some laughs and counting my chickens. I should have waited for those eggs to hatch. I didn’t get one laugh. In fact, one girl said, “That was insensitive of you.” For the purpose of this exercise, we will call this girl ‘Missy’, as I not only want to preserve the identity of this girl, but I also want my readers to associate this girl with the bitchiest name I could think of. As far as I can remember, I have never, never in my life, had a conversation with a girl named Missy that I actually enjoyed.

It goes both ways, as I have a go-to guy’s name for this same exact scenario: Trevor. I know a lot of Trevor’s in my life and some of them are my friends, great friends, but I have never in my life said, “Wow, Trevor that was a really insightful thing you just said. Thank you,” or anything CLOSE to that regard. 

So Missy was pissed and told me that I was being insensitive for showing my distaste about the woman’s armpit hair. Being the socially conscious soul that I am, I quickly recognized where the misunderstanding sourced from and I immediately said that it had nothing to do with the woman’s choice of letting her underarm hair grow, but rather that it was ENTIRELY based around my irrational distaste of underarms, as well as hairy underarms. 

Missy didn’t buy it. She then said: “Typical of a privileged white man to say something like that. You think just because you grew up a certain way, that makes it superior? That everything revolves around your norms and your culture? You have no idea what she’s going through.” I then saw a flurry of nodding heads, all in agreement with Missy’s claim. I mean that just escalated quickly. Not a million years did I ever think I would get this series of responses. I mean I was damn-near caught in a scene of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I was Larry David. Fucking screwed.

So this is when I slowly put my hands up and said, “Hold up.” In this moment of surrender, I had an incredible moment of clarity. I knew I was completely justified and in the right, but in order to prove myself I was gonna have to continue to piss these ladies off. I had a choice: either stop talking altogether all together and cut my losses, or go down swinging. I decided to go down swinging.

What made me do it was Missy’s newfound heroics. I’m not gonna lie, I took offense to how quickly she stereotyped me. I feel like she’s the textbook bitch and I’m much more like Shrek. Like Shrek, I like to think that I’m like an onion: Layered. Missy, on the other hand, is the typical white girl who’s got everything in her life covered. Unlike me, she most definitely did NOT participate in any civil rights marches, protests, or donate to any movement fighting for equality… but you can be damn sure that on June 2, 2020, otherwise known as Blackout Tuesday, she put a black square on her instagram feed and changed her bio for FIVE MINUTES so she could spell out “BLM.” I’m convinced that when she did that, she probably felt like she was Malcolm X. In reality she’s just a fraud. Everything I just said is exactly who she is, and that is why I did not fold and cut my losses. She needed a life lesson.

 But what really set me over the edge is when she said, “You have no idea what she’s going through.” This was just lunacy. Plain lunacy. I then made it very clear to Missy that no one will ever know what that woman is “going through,” but at that moment in time, life seemed pretty fucking great to her. While I was bussing tables, making minimum fucking wage, she was having an expensive lunch and was using a lot of limbs to describe what appeared to be the story of a lifetime. So if she was going through something regarding her armpit hair, I don’t think she would have worn a sundress in DECEMBER!

Second, I then made Missy aware of her comments regarding cultures. Even if my distaste towards her hairy armpits had to do with my cultural upbringing, which it didn’t BY THE WAY, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being uneasy about something you don’t understand. I made the argument that it’s alright to be uncomfortable by seeing someone else do something different or look a certain way that perhaps is beyond one’s level of understanding: such as watching someone eat fire, or when someone gets those earrings that stretches out your earlobes by four or five inches, or even someone getting a face tattoo. You don’t have to HATE, but you are allowed to be confused and perhaps even a little uncomfortable by something you just don’t understand.

Upon hearing this, Missy and her accomplices all wore confused and stubborn looks. So I had to break it down for them EVEN MORE. I asked them how they felt about the practice of incest. There was a group consensus that it was a gross and disturbing practice. 

I then said: “Great. In some cultures, to this FUCKING day, incest is not only legal but routinely practiced. You are all disgusted by this, and for good reason, because you don’t totally understand incest. That doesn’t mean that you are looking down at their culture, you just don’t understand enough about it. That can be uncomfortable, and it’s FINE to be uncomfortable about something you don’t understand.”

Then Missy decided to double down.

Missy’s response to my analogy was: “Well, incest is illegal and deemed morally wrong because of the health implications involved.” Again, following Missy’s declaration, her friends supported her through a series of nods.

This is the moment where I realized maybe I shouldn’t be hanging out with Missy and her friends anymore. 

“Alright, Missy, so you’re saying that if incest wasn’t unhealthy, you would have sexual intercourse with your brother?”

She had no response. I then left the room before there were any responses and by the devastatingly long silence I continued to hear upon exiting said room, there were STILL no responses. I just had a lecture on equality from an absolute airhead and her entire supporting cast, all because they failed to do ONE thing: Listen. They physically heard me speaking, but they just didn’t listen. That’s the problem. I feel like good men and women nowadays are getting SMOKED for something they said all because the audience failed to LISTEN. I don’t like armpits, plain and simple, and this distaste has no prejudice. Regardless of your race, gender, sex, age, politcal party, Star Wars faction, Game of Thrones house, if there is an armpit in my face, my most recent meal will be yarfed on the ground.

Written by Henry Marken

I lost my pinky finger at age 4, but then found it again at a soup kitchen when I was 15. Survivor of a wild turkey attack (2008). I went to the University of Phoenix before it was cool to do college online. Currently in a lawsuit with Crayola after a devastating purple crayon incident.

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