For the first time in my life I have a bush. It was a decision that came as a result of a conversation about pubic hair that erupted within the studio. More specifically, a result of realizing I was within the minority of my coworkers who favored a full Brazilian groom. When confronted with the request for a reason, I couldn’t provide one, other than it was a choice I had made based on previously instilled beliefs that full nude was what I preferred – and what I assumed my partners did too.

The truth is, I had never really thought about what I actually preferred, and more importantly, why. But I needed to confront my own notions of the subject upon realizing the women I look up to in the studio (all of whom are in their 30s) were taking a stand by embracing their own pubic hair and being open about it.

As the conversation progressed, I realized even the most liberal groomers in the studio grappled with their perception of the bush. Sure, everyone was all, Hair is natural! All hail women! But they also said, “Ew no I don’t leave everything un-waxed” and, “I have a triangle of hair to remind me of my womanhood but that’s it.” So I was conflicted… and it seemed like some of my coworkers were too. And I couldn’t help but wonder if the conflict stemmed from the social constructs that shaped my perception of certain things, specifically surrounding beauty expectations. Like this idea that it’s not normal to be natural – that it’s unclean and unattractive. But there’s something really upsetting in realizing that I’m making personal choices based on extraneous opinions.

Confronting anything, whether it’s an idea or something physical, forces you to dig deep in order to get to the root of the thing – no pun intended. So I retired my razor and went MIA on my waxer. And while it feels good to go natural (like actually, the avoidance of having hair ripped out of my private parts feels really good) (ok, I still got one grooming bikini wax), it’s something I’m still getting used to. Not so much when I’m alone but when the presence of other people is on the table, whether in intimate settings like the bedroom, or in a bathing suit on the beach (not that I’m going to the beach right now – it’s March).

Ultimately, I want to be comfortable in my own skin, because there is nothing cooler, sexier, or more inspiring than seeing a woman embrace her true self, bush and all. So I’m trying out this new natural me, at least until I figure out who I really am, you know, down below.

PS. The opening image is from Sonia Sieff and her new book Les Françaises, which we’ll be sharing more of with you soon!