The Grooming Discussion

How’s this for afterglow? Me: Crying. Him: Laughing.

Pretty much the nightmare post-coital situation. And all because I got a Brazilian wax.

I’d been dating the same guy for years and I thought I’d surprise him with something sexy and new. After all, every woman’s magazine and every other “Sex and the City” reference had been hinting at the power of the Brazilian–the must look of every season. So I went out and got myself some designer pubic hair.

And he laughed.

Why was I so certain that he would love this new look; convinced that I had to do it, even? I fell victim to pop-culture peer pressure, and I’m not the only one.

Ever since Pam Anderson bared all in Playboy, some sick force has slowly been pushing this over-bronzed, impossibly proportioned, tweezed, hairless ideal on women. And, ladies, we’ve been suckered in to it!

A friend of mine talks about Brazilians like they’re no big deal: “Guys my age just expect it. They grew up with Playboy and the Spice Channel and Maxim. They think women just come hairless.”

This is a big deal. When did things get so out of hand? Just a few generations ago women weren’t shaving above their knees. Now we’re all-but-expected to wash, condition and exfoliate our pubic region, then obliterate all signs of hair life?

The problem here isn’t only what men are demanding of women; it’s that women and men don’t talk, period. It’s easier for us to assume that what’s good for super-groomed starlets is good for us—a requirement even. But, gals, we’re not taking the time to ask our partners what they really want, not to mention actually considering what we, ourselves, feel most comfortable with.

If I had simply asked my guy if he prefers triangles to landing strips, I would have saved myself a lot of pain and embarrassment. His exact words once he stopped laughing: “I’m a man of the ’70s, baby. I like to know I’m with a woman.” Though that was a relief, I am notsomuch a woman of the ’70s, so I settled on a style I’m comfortable with. News flash: It’s my choice!

I’m not saying the Brazilian is evil (though if pain is any indication, the devil is definitely behind this) or that you should stop your waxing rituals if you’re in to it. But we need to stop letting porn dictate our grooming habits and decide for ourselves, like adults. We need to know why some men are obsessed with a Barbie-like pubic region while others worship natural bush. And what about men’s pubic hair? Can a girl simply look her boyfriend in the eye and ask him if he’d consider taking an electric razor to his scrotum?

Most of us can’t. I, for one, was mortified to revisit the topic with my boyfriend after our hairy (or, I should say, hairless) little incident. But as it turns out, it’s a lot easier to talk to guys I’m not sleeping with about it—all in the service of you, dear reader. (Even this wasn’t as easy as I make it sound here with my breezy little tone—it took multiple phone calls and emails to cajole details out of them.) But I finally managed to rally an adequate sampling of guys to talk this through. I can never quite look at these men the same way again, so please appreciate their wisdom. (Even so, also remember: You’re gonna have to ask your own guy what his preferences are, and know your own—this is just a starting point here.)

One male friend seemed stunned at the idea that women go through all this trouble just to please men: “No one’s ever asked me what I prefer,” he said. “Honestly, you guys are spending way too much time on things. It’s just hair.”

In fact, most of the men I talked to admitted to liking a “nice and neat” area to work with, but specific qualifications (such as the size and shape of the groomed area) is pretty insignificant. “Things should be clean-swept, but not demolished,” another guy said. “A periodic check-in is a good thing. Spending every afternoon on your hands and knees pulling up ‘weeds’ from your garden goes a bit too far.”

And as for their own nether regions, it seems guys are just as willing to try something new if their partner poses the question, though sometimes a little incentive helps: “I’d sculpt the hair down there into a replica of the leaning tower of Pisa if it meant getting more frequent visitations,” said one guy. “Any man who claims otherwise is a liar.”

The fact is, they’d rather be getting some than replaying last night’s “Daily Show” on TiVo in the living room while you’re tweezing stray hairs between wax appointments again. “Ladies, you’re spending hours down there, but how often do you actually show it off? We’d rather see it more often in all its unkempt glory than once a month in the shape of a lightning bolt.”

Bottom line? “At the end of the day,” says our favorite guy of all, “most of us are just happy to be there.”

And that’s probably something your regular waxer can’t say. Unless you tip really well.


PG

Author: Heather Wood Rudulph

Heather Wood Rudúlph is the co-founder of SexyFeminist.com and recently FeministMommy.com. She's a seasoned editor and writer, most recently for The Huffington Post, AOL, DAYSPA magazine and Movies.com. She’s written and edited stories about entertainment, beauty, healthcare, fashion, travel, teens, spirituality, women's rights, civil rights and environmental practices. Her work has also appeared in Seventeen, Elle, Details.com and The Los Angeles Daily News. She teaches nonfiction writing for Gotham Writers Workshop and is co-author of the book, SEXY FEMINISM, to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in March, 2013. She has a journalism degree with a sociology minor from Syracuse University and lives in California with her husband and son.
About Heather Wood Rudulph

Heather Wood Rudúlph is the co-founder of SexyFeminist.com and recently FeministMommy.com. She's a seasoned editor and writer, most recently for The Huffington Post, AOL, DAYSPA magazine and Movies.com. She’s written and edited stories about entertainment, beauty, healthcare, fashion, travel, teens, spirituality, women's rights, civil rights and environmental practices. Her work has also appeared in Seventeen, Elle, Details.com and The Los Angeles Daily News. She teaches nonfiction writing for Gotham Writers Workshop and is co-author of the book, SEXY FEMINISM, to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in March, 2013. She has a journalism degree with a sociology minor from Syracuse University and lives in California with her husband and son.

Comments

  1. Meagan says:

    You know, I’ve heard from some younger people the argument that not shaving makes you look “unhygienic” – to which obviously comes the reply, well men don’t shave and they’re the ones we’re trying to impress…
    But I think there is some merit to that argument… that within the eyes of a certain part of society hair makes an area seem less clean, smooth, alien… and I’d say you’re right in saying that that society is fueled by the porn-addicted ones who either want to look like the porn stars or be with one of them… and it’s not fair…

    None of my boyfriends have ever cared whether it was fully waxed, partially waxed, shaved, trimmed, or wild… my boyfriend now (who is only 21 btw) is totally into my body whether I shave or not. And I realized that he has more confidence in my naked body than I do…!

    To experiment with this self-image idea, I’ve stopped shaving my armpits, just because I know that I am an attractive young woman and for american girls and guys to see such a thing, I think will challenge them, and perhaps inspire confidence among other women.

    On the other hand, I do have my nether regions waxed (periodically) simply because I prefer the bare feeling. – Which 3 years ago would have been me trying to fit into a preferred look, but now since I have tried all kinds of styles, is simply a matter of comfort.

  2. dfvs says:

    Unhygienic?
    That’s ridiculous because if a woman is in good health a washup or a shower is all that’s needed.
    Since I came of age in the 1960′s my first pleasant memories were with women as God made them…natural.
    Therefore it should come as no surprise that I, like many who are my age, associate the soft fluffy triangle with fond memories and therefore it is our happy place.

    There’s nothing wrong with keeping a chaotic or unruly bush under control.
    And, men do understand that it’s impossible to wear certain swim wear unless some trimming is done.
    But to obliterate it altogether just doesn’t make sense.
    To me, it’s just another form of female genital mutilation albeit much less severe.
    I can understand women preferring to shave their legs if they have significant growth, but if you have barely visible peach fuzz with little or no color why bother? If shaving your legs makes you happy, by all means do it.
    I can understand shaving armpits because it keeps BO under control.

    But please, don’t feel obligated to shave the kitty unless it’s something you prefer, or you’re with a youngster who is scared of them.

    For the most part I happen to think they’re quite pretty.
    Don’t be afraid to ask your man about his preference.
    You might be surprised by what you hear from older guys.

    And after all, in the end it is YOUR choice anyway :-)

  3. greg says:

    I have manscaped for many years, originally just trimmed and cleaned to now a full shave, I do this for a few reasons, I did it originally as my wife mentioned in conversation that when she goes down on me my pubes tickle her nose, get in her mouth, etc. so as a surprise I shaved and when we were playing I asked her to look what I did for her, she did, and was so appreciative :) I also found that when you trim the hedges the tree looks so much taller, and the best benefit was to me, while making love the area just above the junk can now FEEL more, it’s not hair against hair thus no feeling, I can feel her as we make contact, and that feels great…so 2 valid and 1 fun reason for a guy to shave. I also know if I get in an accident and go to the hospital the nurses will always remember me.

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