Yesterday morning, the women all gather around me and talk about my beard. I am used to this. In Portugal, the women in my family are all accustomed to seeing women with lots of facial hair. They tell me I shouldn’t shave it because it will grow back thicker (something someone should have told me when I first started shaving at around 14 years old). They show me the wax they use. They tell me I need to use wax because when I shave it looks bad.
Venezse is sitting with me in the courtyard this morning. I’m reading and tanning my legs while my upper half lays in shade. She scratches my psoriasis-affected scalp (another thing that I am embarrassed about myself), letting the flakes fall to the ground, grooming me. We talk about our day and how hot the sun is. She graces her fingers over my chin and I tell her how embarrassed I am about it; that people in the USA don’t like women with facial hair.