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« Group Characteristics 3 | Main | Intro to Econ »

September 01, 2005

The Bush Ain't Back Yet

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Those who have been expecting that the bush would soon make a comeback have lost. The NYTimes' Natasha Singer reports that the pubic-hair-removal business is booming.

Here's an on-the-scene report from Karyn Grossman, a dermatologist in Santa Monica, CA:

"I do full-body exams to check for skin cancer, and I can think of almost no female patients who come in with natural pubic hair. Either they have nothing left, or they have a small patch that is two inches by half an inch, but the trend is toward having it all gone."

According to Singer, the taste for an ever-more-denuded female pubic zone got its start over ten years ago. That's one long-term fad. Are all young girls now growing up expecting to do a lot of pruning once puberty has been attained?

How do you react to the bald adult-female crotch? I find it off-putting myself. Something's missing; real-life women are having themselves Photoshopped. But then my tastes were formed back in the '60s and '70s. I sometimes feel sorry for today's women. It seems that every square inch of them is expected to be camera-ready, 24/7. Has life gotten easier for women since the bushy years? Or have the pressures and expectations only increased?



posted by Michael at September 1, 2005


This is an outrage! Where are the pictures?

I have a story.

Myrna and I played a biker bar gig a couple of years ago (back when my girl was still in this world). After the gig, we packed up the car, and a young girl jumped in the back seat.

"I've got a bald eagle," she announced.

"What's that?" I asked her.

She proceeded to pull down her shorts and show us.

I think that it's a pretty strange sight, in most cases. Stubble is definitely a bad idea.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on September 1, 2005 4:07 PM

I don't think it's sexy at all. Reminds me of changing diapers.

Posted by: Michael Snider on September 1, 2005 5:07 PM

Utterly shameful. I cannot understand why women don't want to look like women. As for men who prefer hairless women, well, I am in 100% agreement with the physician who referred to the pedophilia aspect.

Posted by: Peter on September 1, 2005 8:55 PM

S.T. -- Stubble or not, that must have been a sexy moment, no?

Michael -- Now that'll put you off your feed.

Peter -- There was a guy somewhere (a Frenchman, wouldn't you know it) who was so outraged by the all the excessive trimming that he put together a website devoted entirely to untrimmed bushes. Some of them were pretty exuberant. I'll see if I can find it again.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 1, 2005 9:30 PM

obviously it makes certain things easier. women may just be doing a cost benefit analysis.

i note no similar outrage over shaved armpits.

Posted by: obvious on September 2, 2005 12:32 AM

I am surprised that no one has mentioned Arm Pits. I have no idea how long girls have been shaving their under-arms, but it has been a pretty long time. Granted, arm pit hair became somewhat public many many moons ago.

Now, with the internet and mass media, girls are able to compare one style of grooming with another.

Posted by: Ian Lewis on September 2, 2005 9:05 AM

Ok, I'll bite on the armpit hair (and I do). I'm not outraged about shaved pudenda, I just find them a total turn off. Shaved armpits don't affect me that way, probably because I grew up not knowing that women shaved there — I thought it was just one more way women were different until I was a teenager. On the other hand, I do prefer hairy pits.

And on the other hand from that one, Michael B also asked about the pressure some women may feel to shave or not shave this or that. Only obvious has addresed that even remotely, though I'm not sure what things are obviously easier. Wearing a skimpy bikini? Doesn't that just push the issue back to pressure to wear the skimpy bikini? Is that a male imposition? Or competition between women? Both? My wife sometimes shaves legs and pits and sometimes doesn't, and she says the only people who comment either way are other women.

Posted by: Michael Snider on September 2, 2005 10:03 AM

Body hair goes global! I wonder if/how/when people -- OK, gals -- in other countries and cultures will start imitating porno-Western styles in body hair. Has it started already?

My own small hunch or feeling is that America's weird in its attitude towards what's sexy. We like flawlessness and pristine hygiene; we're suspicious of the dark and the humid. I see this all the time when I look at magazine covers. Here are all these healthy, pretty American girls, projecting "I'm healthy! I'm feeling good about myself!" And the whole package is about as sexy as toothpaste to me.

I remember being shocked when I first looked at Euro men's mags, for instance. The girls in them ... Well, you could make out "flaws"!!! Gadzooks: little fine hairs on their thighs, little goose-pimply bumps here and there, even a bit of evidence that they didn't automatically grow pubic hair in a perfect triangle but had to do some maintenance to get it into that shape. You could almost -- egad -- smell them. And, as far as I could tell, the Euros thought all this ... this ripeness and "imperfection" was sexy and desirable.

Quite something for a vanilla American boy to wrestle with! After a weekend of treatment in the emergency room, though, I semi-converted to the Euro point of view on all this. American views of sex started to look insipid. Perfection and flawlessness -- and all the stress, anxiety, and strain that goes into maintaining the illusion -- started to strike me as blah, exhausting, and, honestly, not very sexy. I started digging the little goose pimples.

It was like being raised on Velveeta and then discovering real cheese. (Oops, not a very gallant comparison, but you know what I mean.) At first, the real stuff can be overwhelming in its pungency, almost frighteningly so. But you go back to Velveeta and you find yourself thinking, Y'know, it really is like plastic. Then you start thinking about what it is to be a Real Man ... Does a real man prefer it plastic? Does he want his woman to stress herself out pretending to be an ideal? Or does Real Man appreciate and get off on Real Women? I came out of that little crisis thinking, Bring on the Chevre and the Roquefort!

That said, I'm still American enough to prefer shaved 'pits and daily bathing, and to be grateful when gals make the effort not to descend into total slobhood. Other than that, though, let's get into the moment, baby.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 2, 2005 10:11 AM

Hey, how come no gals are participating in this important discussion?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 2, 2005 10:15 AM

"Hey, how come no gals are participating in this important discussion?"

They're all out at the laser hair-removal salon :)

Posted by: Peter on September 2, 2005 12:39 PM

Think hairy,
Think hirsute,
Get back to our earthly root(s):
Au Natural should not be scarey!

Posted by: ricpic on September 2, 2005 5:57 PM

Maybe it's just the fashion of the moment. I hope it is. You reckon it is?

It disturbs me, though. Grown women have pubic hair and little girls do not. Us females tend to spend a lot of energy on trying to rid ourselves of every trace of the extra abdominal, hip and thigh padding that we're supposed to have. Another indicator of adult womanhood that's viewed as unacceptable by current standards of "beauty." But most of us do shave our pits and legs. It's simply expected.

In spite of fashion and internet porn, I think of the pubic area as a totally private place. How you maintain or decorate it (or not) is nobody's but you and your sweetie's business. So why am I sitting here writing this? I don't know, it just feels like something's not right. Like adult women are being "allowed" less and less to look grown-up. And this does seem like one case where we woman are imposing these stringent standards on ourselves much more than men are. What's going on? Will there come a time when cosmetic mastectomies will be all the rage to affect the totally flat-chested 9-year-old look? I hope it's just the fashion of the moment. Maybe by 2010 we'll all be putting Minoxidil on our nether regions to see who can grow the biggest sporran. Ah, I see another stringent standard on the horizon.

Posted by: Flutist on September 2, 2005 10:09 PM

Hi! Nice day

Posted by: Emil on September 24, 2005 9:01 AM

Hi! Nice day

Posted by: Lilu on September 25, 2005 2:36 AM

Hi! Nice day

Posted by: Emil on September 25, 2005 12:18 PM

Hi! Nice day

Posted by: Niko on September 25, 2005 8:02 PM

Hi! Nice day

Posted by: Lilu on September 26, 2005 8:24 AM

I find that we live in a world now that almost "forces" people into fassion! For example, if suddenly models decided to cut off thier fingers, people would copy! And thats what your pibic hair is, its like your fingers! An all natural way to decorate yourself! And woman should be proud of thier pubes. End of story.

Posted by: sugar~spice on September 28, 2005 11:40 AM

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