Men Who Shave Their Legs

By STEPHEN REGENOLD

It was the summer of 1990, and Stephen Bullard had become a dedicated triathlete, fit and fast for swimming, running and cycling after five years of regular competition. He was a burgeoning young buck, eking up in the local ranks and looking the part — all hot pink and Spandex and mirrored sunglasses — save for one fuzzy detail: He had hairy legs.

So it was one bright spring evening when Bullard, now a management trainer in Minneapolis, took blade to skin and began the deforestation of his lower leg. “It was the thing to do if you were serious about triathlon,” he said.

Bullard turned 50 this year, still a committed triathlete, cyclist and Nordic skier. It’s been 18 years since his virgin shave, and Bullard’s legs have been shiny and smooth ever since.

Shave Legs Cartoon.jpg

Beyond aerobic sports, in no other part of mainstream Western society does the male species commonly take wax or blade to leg hair. But among the Lycra set — particularly cyclists, swimmers and triathletes — smooth legs are touted as a rite of passage and a performance-enhancing procedure.

Bullard, who shaves twice a week, up to 45 minutes at a time, said hair-free legs identify a man as someone who takes his sport seriously. “It’s a badge,” he said.

continued on next page. . .

Posted by Hammstah - 09/12/2008 09:27 AM

Gearjunqster — SPOT ON article. True. Funny. Engaging. I recall years ago that some Californian university student did a study on the hydrodynamic gains in the pool. Results: negligable.

Posted by andym801 - 09/12/2008 10:11 AM

I have very hairy legs, and wearing spandex bike shorts pulls and smashes the hairs in the wrong direction! It hurts after awhile! I’ve also shaved my lower leg for years, because my ski boot rips the hairs out if I don’t, even through thick wool socks.

Posted by VT - 09/12/2008 08:33 PM

Having been a runner for over 25 years I know massage is an essential tool to aid recovery. My massage therapist takes $20.00 off because my “smooth” legs are far easier to work with….reason enough for me!

Posted by Todd - 09/14/2008 10:46 PM

Guys who shave their legs are simply feminie – pure and simple. Probably gay, most likely bisexual. The guy who says it puts him is warrior mode is a true puss. Want to get into warrior mode, hit the leg sled, do squats, etc. Funny how all these guys whine about “drag” but yet none of them shave thier heads – where the most hair actually is. What a bunch of posers.

Posted by NW - 10/17/2008 02:38 PM

I am a female and love that my boyfriend shaves his legs. It is so sexy! Fun rubbing suntan lotion onto his smooth legs rather than rough hairy ones.

Posted by David - 02/19/2009 01:16 PM

Todd,

Skullcaps. Beanies. Helmets. There’s a LOT of things that you can use to cover your head with that won’t bother your scalp.

Not so much with legs.

Btw, leg sled? squats? Those are workouts. How working your lower body puts you into “warrior mode” (which is all mental), or is somehow manlier is beyond me. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and not a cock in the mouth.

Posted by Peter Kane - 04/09/2009 05:35 PM

Strong male skiers all shave their shins, other wise the hair is like sandpaper inside the boot.

Posted by kit - 04/09/2009 06:20 PM

I hear the road rash argument. The rest of it is kool aid drinking. I LOVE cycling, but I think some of the lycra army need to chill out with the intensity and enjoy the ride.

Posted by John Wayne - 05/05/2009 10:52 PM

I shave my legs, arms, pubes, except under my arms. Why? (Same reason I shave my facial hair). Simple as that.

Am I gay? I MUST BE (according to most men!)
Grow up people! it’s preference! If you want to – go for it! If you don’t, then don’t!

I prefer getting rid of the hair, and it’s much neater. Also, I don’t shave as often as girls, since I’m a boy and I’m lazy. So I shave my legs every two weeks, and my arms every 3 or 4 weeks. (Hell I just grab the electric clippers and off I go)
Pubes – every time I have a shower.
But yeah, how can I be gay if I like the look of sexy legs over hairy ape ones? ;-)

Posted by Mike - 05/17/2009 01:04 PM

A significant portion of men and women feel that guys who shave their legs are gay or bisexual — but that’s a perception. I shave my legs during the pants season and trim them during the shorts season. I definitely prefer the smooth feel of perfectly shaven legs but I just don’t want to deal with others’ perception and shaved legs often elicit comments. I’m married with kids and my wife wants me to do whatever I want to do. I’m sad that in a country of such freedoms we actually are fairly rigid about so many things. What’s the deal with accepting a guy with shaved legs anyway? Why are some so judgmental? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and if you don’t like shaved legs then you don’t have to. But no one should look down on someone else who does. Lastly, you cannot equate shaved legs with being gay. Most gay men don’t shave their legs so clearly there’s not a 1-to-1 relationship. Michael Jordan shaves his legs and he’s not gay. The list could go on. Finally, sexual preference and identity is a continuum and everyone falls somewhere on the scale. No one is exactly like you and to others you might be considered too feminine or too masculine. We should all focus on something more constructive and shave whatever we want whenever we want. We should also be mindful of others because what we do is reflected back on us.

Posted by J - 06/12/2009 08:22 AM

I am 29 years old and have shaven my legs for about 9 years now and shaven everything below the neck for about 5. I don’t ride bikes often and am not a body builder, although I have worked out on occasion. Truth be known I do it solely for aesthetics. Unlike others who only shave once a week or so, I shave at least every other day, if not more. I like the way it looks and feels and my wife likes the way it looks and feels. Am I gay or bisexual no, it is only preference. If you like to be all hairy then go ahead, there are women that like that too. On the same hand there are gays out there that like hairy men as well; maybe you can get with one of them, ha. Another fact is that hair doesn’t determine weather you’re a man or not, or how “manly” you are. I agree with most of the comments on this page, Shave what you want to shave and be who you are.

Posted by Joseph Scannell - 06/12/2009 05:30 PM

David, thank you for replying to Todd. As I get more serious about tri, I will shave as I have no insurance and the first aid will be up to me. I am hard core, was Air Assault Infantry, if you think I am gay I think you are looking for a date.

Posted by DK - 06/19/2009 01:27 PM

David, again thanks for replying to Todd. Methinks Todd needs to get out more….I’m a cyclist/runner and been shaving my legs ( and just about everywhere else) for 2 years now.. I love the smooth feel and look. My wife was a bit unsure at first, but quite likes the look too now.

Posted by Greg "Sleepy" Owens - 06/19/2009 01:49 PM

There is no feeling in the world like freshly shaved legs sliding between the high dollar bed sheets MY WIFE purchased last month. I am a hard core kayaker and can give you many reasons why i do, however do i need to justify that to you, NO. What a crock o crap to think that no hairless = being gay. I think TODD has some underlying issues. Hey Todd if your cute i do have a gay friend looking for company :)

Posted by NJP - 06/24/2009 01:23 AM

I have only recently started riding a road bike and am intending to shave my legs – as long as the missus sanctions it. With the sudden increase in muscle size my trousers actually rub patches of hair off already, so my previously hairy legs look mangey! I think it would better to have none at all. And no Toad, I am not gay.

Posted by CarrieE - 06/26/2009 12:18 PM

I am a female roadie and got my husband into cycling. It was quite a big deal for him to shave his legs since he comes from a traditional HS sports background and he was tentative all his buddies would tease him, but it got to a point that his cycling buddies were teasing him for NOT shaving his legs as his non-cycling friends were teasing him about WHAT IF he saved his legs. He decided that after upgrading to a cat 2 on the track, it was indeed time to go hairless. I was so surprised at how much more muscle definition he had than I had previously realized. It was a nice surprise. Also, it’s been a benefit for those road rash occasions.

Posted by Gary - 06/30/2009 03:43 PM

I shave my legs, underarms, face,and chest and love it. The smooth feel is awsome, and it looks so much better. Since when is doing something to your own body make you gay. I always thought that if you slept with the same sex you were gay. People need to really wake up.

Posted by Jon - 07/23/2009 03:28 PM

So are women who don’t shave all lesbians? Are women who express any interest in athletics (marathons, 5k walks, even going to Curves) a bunch of closet case lesbians who would rather be giving each other shoulder massages with no tops on (and before you get any visuals, I’m talking about 55+ year old women who weigh over 200 pounds with chopped off haircuts).

It really shows how much society hates women and hates gay men. Racially we are falling at any straight black man’s feet and are so far up his rear end we’re coming out his mouth because we’re kissing up to the ‘elite black man athlete’ crap so much but we still hate gay men so much that these articles make it sound like it’s worse to be considered a gay man than it is to be considered a rapist. I feel sorry for a lot of you who obviously were born in the cornfield of Hee Haw or the set of Mama’s Family…keep your Dixieland values where they belong, in Mayberry or Hazzard County and stay out of the lives of those of us who have money, live in urban America and are actually going somewhere in life.

Posted by Norm - 07/24/2009 04:18 PM

Interesting discussion. For several years in the 1980’s, when I did a lot of road racing, I shaved, but it’s always been problematic. I’m a pretty hairy guy below the waist, and shaving made me look like I was wearing hair shorts when undressed. Not a cool look.

Now I don’t shave, but I do use clippers to keep the hair very short. I can do that all the way to the waist, there’s no cuts or ingrown hairs, serves most of the purposes of shaving (much less hair to get into road rash), and looks good (from a distance, anyway). Anyone who doesn’t like it from a style point of view doesn’t have to ride with me.

By the way, it isn’t tribal to shave because the other guys do. It’s herd behavior.

Posted by John Ford - 07/27/2009 03:16 PM

“Cycling is a very tribal sport,” Madden said. “You take cues from the leaders — the pros — who all shave.”

Sounds like a bunch of air heads with a pack mentality. Can’t these so-called men think for themselves? All but the most elite athletes need to shave their legs to cut a few seconds of of their times. The average Joe has no reason to shave his legs unless he is gay or a metrosexual!

“More practically, cyclists shave because cuts and road rash can heal faster after a crash. “Hairless legs are easier to clean and bandage,” Madden said.

Can’t these guys bike without falling down or taking regular spills? Why not shave your leg(s) after a serious crash rather than before? Most of the injuries are from road rash or bruising, not bloody gashes. The time saved from reduced drag is marginal, and all but competititive athletes have a legitimate reason to shave or wax their legs. Believe it or not, you can put bandages on hairy legs and still make them stick just fine…

“In any competition, Williams continued, there’s a field of athletes attempting to read where each person ranks. Having clean-shaven legs — thighs flexing, contoured muscles sparkling in the sun — immediately identifies one as core. “Like mirrored sunglasses or carbon-fiber spokes, clean legs promote a slight mystery about you,” Williams said.”

The only real mystery is the guy’s true sexual preference.

“In any group of cyclists, a serious Roadie can instantly spot the not-so-serious Roadies. The telltale sign: hairy legs. A cyclist makes a strong statement about his dedication to the sport when he goes against the societal norm and shaves all the hair off his legs.”

That is a bunch of BS since I have passed “serious cyclists” on the road despite my hairy legs and lack of pro cycling apparel. Half the guys who buy all the gear and the expensive bikes are “weekend warriors” who are not that hot on the road. I have seen high school students wearing jeans and riding Schwinn’s pass “serious guys” on the road and bike paths.

“Smith, a shaver for 22 years, said male legs are the first thing he looks at when showing up for a group bike ride. “A quick glance determines where you are in the sport,” he said. “I know who the serious and safer riders are from their defined tan lines and clean legs.”

Like another guy in the sidebar said, he does it to get into touch with his “feminine side” and it shows with his shiny girlie man legs! It is more socially acceptable to shave or wax your chest & back, especially if you are buffed. Guys with shaved legs look gay…

Posted by SF - 07/27/2009 03:56 PM

I’m 41, a beginner roadie, after years of MTB riding. I’ve gone on group rides with the local cycle shop. I’ve signed up for my first race in a couple of months. That said, I’ll never shave my legs, nor arms nor chin.

If that means I’m not fully part of the roadie tribe, then I’m cool with that. My gosh, I’ve already quit wearing my Camelbak when I’m on my road bike. What more do you people want!?!

Posted by pat j - 08/19/2009 09:10 AM

reading this article makes me realize just how stupid people are…
shave your legs, fine!
dont shave your legs, fine!
but to bitch and whine one way or the other is truly the lame thing. what the fuck do you care if someone shaves their legs? be a douche bag over something worth being a douche bag over…

Posted by Tim F - 09/08/2009 04:25 PM

The reason why I shave my legs, is mainly b/c of rashes. I have excema and when I’m sweating, either at the gym or work, it causes me to break out. And A breakout is friggin annoying and makes it look like you have an STD. Every person who does has his or her personal reason. Equating that to sexuality is purely juvenile.

Posted by Mike - 10/05/2009 05:13 PM

I was reluctant at first to shave my legs, but once I finally did I discovered how much more comfortable and better looking it is. I’ve chosen to wear tights due to bad varicose veins that is hereditary in my family line. I’ve enjoyed the benefits from both shaving and wearing black tights for health and comfort. It’s got absolutely nothing to do with being “gay”. I’m married with a kid so that debunks the stereotype. My wife prefers my legs shaved. The perceptions implanted by society need to be questioned as to how valid they actually are.

Posted by Alexandre Hamel-Lesieur - 10/05/2009 08:27 PM

What a nice introspect inside the ritual of leg shaving. The main reason from my point on vue : to look dedicaded and mainly for easier clean after a crash. A few years back i use to shave but stopped(took to much time). This year i crashed pretty hard and i remembered how easy taking off a band-aid was wit shaved legs.

Great post

Posted by Sandra - 10/06/2009 02:20 AM

A man who shaves – fine
A man with hairy legs – fine
as long as he has something between his ears (brains), if not he can look like a god and I wouldn´t be bothered.
For women there’s a lot of societal pressure in shaving the legs (or waxing wich is more effective). Men do not have that pressure, so why do it if you don’t really have too?

Posted by brian - 03/27/2010 07:15 AM

Shaving my legs makes me feel clean,smooth and sexy.I am not gay my girl likes it.She says I have better legs and ass then she does.But I like to be smooth like her.We shave both our privates .We shave eachother in the shower.

Posted by Rob - 03/27/2010 12:28 PM

“Why not shave your leg(s) after a serious crash rather than before? “

Taking a razor to a bloodied leg/thigh? Are you crazy?

Posted by James - 04/01/2010 01:52 PM

Ok, so yes, I am gay and shaving my legs as a cyclist has not dictated my sexual preference, it looks good, but not a contributing factor.

Cycling is my passion and having had an infected in grown hair, well, have had 1 too many thank you.

As J says, be who you are and be proud.

Posted by Rick - 04/10/2010 03:50 AM

I am a masculine fit active guy, I like to keep my body fit, clean and smooth. I shave all my body smooth from noes to toes, its not a gay thing, its a personal preference. When did body hair become a sexual determination if you are gay or not.

Posted by adam - 04/26/2010 07:05 PM

so funny thing happened to me…i went to the hospital because i thought i had a bite on my upper thigh…turns out after they shaved the hair off my leg…it was a blood clot…and i have varicose veins that i didnt know i had because of my hair…and im 23 – how sweet is that? (cough, sarcasm)of course since i had only one leg shaved i had to do the other…they feel great now that i shaved-its a new experience!

Posted by Franco - 05/18/2010 04:03 PM

Why is shaving legs gay? I find shaved legs a great thing. In America if your not a big, strong, hairy, gas guzzling hill Billy then your not a man. I grew up in America and now live in Italy. I am an amuture cyclist and I shave everything but my head. In Italy shaving your legs is not gay at all. Shaved legs is a necessity in cycling. To all the people who think shaved legs are gay. Grow up!!!

Posted by jamie - 06/09/2010 10:44 AM

i am 30 years old and have taken up bike riding
with my new girlfriend she suggested shaving legs chest and arms she says my muscle definition is so much more defined well I am now like a smooth baby and tanned and love the feel I am now going to get rid of my hair with electrolosis
my girlfriend is over the moon at least i have one happy bunny

Posted by jonny - 07/01/2010 12:00 AM

I don’t know if it’s a gay or not gay thing. But I’m tending to say it is bisexual.

I’m married and the idea of making love to a man seems completely natural. I should double check this, but my wife indicated that it would be sexy if she found out I as having a sexual relationship with a man.

As I increase my physic, I were less clothing and shave more hairs off my body. I now occasionally enter states of hyper sexual self obsession. When I go running I dress more and more skimpily and feel more confident in doing so. Irregardless of sex, I feel more attractive to anyone with similar sensibilities, which thankfully, is very common in my very liberal town I live in.

I’ve received nice smiles from both sexes as they catch me running by in my femine outfit – very short cotton/spandex boy shorts and a tight fitting tank.

As an added benefit – I don’t want to stop exercising and getting more physically fit. To me it is exhilarating. I hope it never ends.

Posted by GymRat - 07/10/2010 09:58 PM

All you people that think when men shave there legs is gay or bisexual are screwed in the head. Do you ever think there might be a reason for it, First off it feels fucken awesome to have shaved legs, second you dont sweat half as much from you legs, ive been training at the gym for 5 years, when your training your legs/calfs you can actually see and tell if your muscles are contracting or not when you do your excercise,with unshaved its hard to see past that big black bush of hairs on your legs, and if any of u freaks who say shaving is gay have actually ever worked ur legs out the much that the next two days ur in pain and cant walk you can actually rub deep heat into them without getting half of it soaked up in ur leg hairs, thats coming from a gym perspective and im sure there 100s of more reasons out there why guys shave their legs. And personally i dont give a shit what any man or female may think, my calfs are bulging out and i think that looks fucken good. p.s Maybe people should start a forum about chicks not shaving their mo’s, now thats fucken disgusting!!!

Posted by ZiLLa - 07/15/2010 11:13 AM

When it comes to the removal of body hair, I’ve shaved & have not shaved, both, for years off & on & back & forth. Shaving hair off legs aids in the healing process of road rash, etc. Period. If ya wanna grit yer teeth by withstanding a bit of pain ‘cuz ya wiped out & wiped the planet with your skin, then don’t shave. If you prefer not having to experience that extra bit of pain involved when leg hairs, etc., become one with the scabs, then shave. Now, shut up & RIDE!

Posted by Dugbert - 08/14/2010 09:30 PM

I get the “right of passage” and “badge” thing, but I’ll always prefer winning (or placing respectably high) over markers like this. My usual thing to say is “there are only two reasons to be a man anymore: peeing standing up and not having to shave my legs,” but let’s face it . . . If you have shaved legs and you beat me on race day (or even up the mountain), I’m not saying anything. If not, don’t be surprised if the hairy-legged guy mutters “tater nuts” under his breath . . .

Posted by Hey Todd - 08/19/2010 11:24 AM

Posted by Todd – 09/14/2008 11:46 PM Guys who shave their legs are simply feminie – pure and simple. Probably gay, most likely bisexual. The guy who says it puts him is warrior mode is a true puss. Want to get into warrior mode, hit the leg sled, do squats, etc. Funny how all these guys whine about “drag” but yet none of them shave thier heads – where the most hair actually is. What a bunch of posers

You are a closet homosexual. It is ok.

Guys named Todd..George carlin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oo8CrY_ZfFk

Posted by HairyRider - 09/02/2010 11:02 AM

I agree that shaved legs are a badge of honor or mark of a serious cyclist. Should they be? No. I ride plenty, hold a straight line, and function well in a group, but don’t shave my legs. I understand shaving for healing time after a crash. Go for it. I dislike labelling someone as either serious or not serious by their hair. Let their performance in the peloton or on the road speak for itself.

Posted by armyman - 01/05/2011 05:43 PM

Its hilarious how men try to blame other men who shave their legs for their own in-masculinity. Its not gay, its not bisexual, the fact being that is your only excuse shows your level of maturity. 8 years ive been in the army, and they have sent me all over the place, many of the locations being sweltering and unpleasant. Iraq for example, i asked a local man (shariff was how you said his name) how they stayed cool in the heat, he simply replied by showing me his legs..which were smooth and hairfree. I pondered this the rest of my patrol, and figured wtf i’ll give it a try. So for the rest of my 2 years in that heat trap, i shaved my entire leg (both of them) and trimmed my pubes, arm hair, underarm hair, and chest and back. The result? Incredible difference in how much i was sweating, showers were faster with less hair, meaning more water for more people were water wasnt as readily available as it is here in the states.

Call us “shavers” gay if thats what makes you feel like a man, we all have our own reasons for being hairfree, but if you think that having hairy legs is the only thing that makes you man then you are still a child and haven’t fully matured yet. Grow up people.

Posted by Keith Riedel - 01/15/2011 03:06 AM

I am a male. I shave my armpits, chest, and legs. I love to shave my legs because it feels better, cleaner, and looks good. I wear short shorts in public to show my shaven legs. Women see my legs and compliment me on how they look shaven. Alot of women say they love to see me in short shorts because they never seen a man with shaven legs before. They say my legs look beautiful when they are fresh shaven. Sometimes I put baby oil on my legs. It makes them look even better. That really turns women on.Do any of you women want to see my shaven legs??

Posted by Keith Riedel - 01/30/2011 12:24 AM

You women please tell me what you think of a man who shaves his legs!It makes me more horny.I put baby oil on my shaven legs.You would not believe how much baby oil brings out the tone and every thing of my legs. I am very horny! Please tell me what you think of my shaven legs. If you would love to, I will show you women my shaven legs.I am very proud of my shaven legs. Please any women get a hold of me. My address is kriedel@midrivers.com I am very horny. I have an erection of 6 inches. I need to shoot out my sperm. Please call if interested at 406-489-1237 after 7pm mountion time. I beg you to call!! I am very hor norny. I hate to shoot out sperm alone. Can you help me??

Posted by barberblade gillette - 10/07/2011 06:57 AM

I personally prefer men with hairy legs. Some of you might be cringing at the thought, but hairy legs (not the very beary ones) do look good on men. Women should of course shave their legs, but I don’t think it is necessary for men to shave their legs. If you do want to shave your legs, try out gillette mach3

Posted by lol - 01/15/2012 09:27 AM

dont shave ur legs wit a mach3…

Posted by Bob Fairlane - 03/18/2012 03:22 AM

45 minutes? hahahhaa. I knock all the fur off with an electric shaver, usually a beard trimmer or one of those grooming type clippers made for cats. Take all the fur off in no time, then do the fine work with one of those Norelco type face shavers. Women’s screen-blade shavers work well too. Some women must have some really coarse hair! The fastest thing I ever tried was an Epilady. FACK that thing hurts! It has a coil spring which rotates and yanks every hair out at the root at the rate of about 3000 hairs per minute. OWWWWWWWWWWWW. But if you like pain or are perfectionist, that would be your ticket to shiny legs.

Posted by tim stubbs - 08/04/2012 04:12 PM

im a boy, i shave my legs, if you got a problem with it ill kick your ass. i dont say much i just work out, make money, and give a good beating to douche bags when i need to.

Posted by bmichelem - 02/13/2013 12:48 PM

“…You’re GAY if you do THIS. You’re GAY if you do THAT!”
WTF…??? Sounds like some really stupid people need to take up a fucking hobby, instead of criticizing everything!
Try SHAVING!

I shave everything also…even my balls. Does that make me gay?
BTW…I’m not an avid bike rider.

Posted by henry - 04/10/2013 05:08 PM

U have no right to judge people like that Todd. That means women that hairy legs is a lesbian, right.

Posted by Mike - 06/25/2013 11:27 PM

When that my thighs are shaved smooth, is it wrong to want to wear my shorts shorter?

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