“I let it fly in the breeze and get caught in trees, a home for the fleas in my hair” The Cowsills, Hair
There was a time when hair was the subject of songs (and a musical). Those “flaxen, waxen” locks were like an allegory of freedom, a unifying force of the sexes. Both partners could let their hair grow down to their shoulders or hips, then stand naked in a pond at Woodstock, backs to the crowd, leaving everyone wondering who was packing and who wasn’t.
Hitchhiking out west one time, two guys in a pickup pulled over saying, “We’ll take the girl.” When they saw we were both guys, they muttered, “Never mind,” and drove off with squealing tires and beer cans flying.
It didn’t pay to pick up girls from a distance in the 60s.
Somehow, though, we’ve changed. Hair doesn’t unify us anymore. It divides us. You’re either for hair or against it. If your partner is against hair, you’ve got to decide. Will you bend to their wishes or draw a line in the carpet, meaning your carpet (I’m talking to the men now, girls).
She might decide to defoliate you like Australians defoliate sheep.
That’s right, guys, it’s your carpet, your manhood and it’s a razor blade — or a pair of sheep shears — away from being shorn. First a path is cleared, like a hydro line going through a northern wood. Then comes the clearing of debris. All you can do is scream out “Please don’t turn me into Mr. Bigglesworth!” —like Bigglesworth wasn’t a long-haired Persian first.
This, of course, will take place over what sounds like a lawnmower scalping the grass. If she hears you, she might pull back a bit — or she might do even more scalping. She might decide to defoliate you like Australians defoliate sheep.
Before you know it, you’ve got a turkey neck rising uneasily above what could be mistaken for a doeskin string purse. You’re clean as a whistle, emasculated, a “dude-shaped topiary,” as one journalist called it.
And don’t think for one minute you’re alone. Cosmopolitan published a story claiming that 95 percent of men now trim or shave their body hair in one way or another, either willingly or at the hands of an emasculating partner.
As the same journalist pointed out, “Body hair is one of the secondary sex characteristics of being a man, so why would anyone want to eradicate it?”
You could say God gave us body hair so we wouldn’t look terrible in the sun.
Well, that’s the interesting thing. Some women want men with less hair and some don’t. They’re equally divided on the subject. So are men, for that matter. Hair is either a defining part of who we are, or it’s an encumbrance women want removed.
So, okay, a little deforestation does make junk look bigger — but resembling a Ken doll isn’t every guy’s — or woman’s — idea of manly. Unless you’re buffed like Mark Wahlberg, all manscaping does is turn you into Mr. Bigglesworth. You could say God gave us body hair so we wouldn’t look terrible in the sun.
“ — not that I support killing deer.” Brianna, 25
But, like I’ve indicated, there’s a clear division on this subject — and not just between sexes. Some men want to look like men, and so do their partners. Others, especially women, don’t want to turn sex into a hunting expedition.
“Navigating the hair on a guy’s body is kind of like going hunting,” Brianna, 25, explained. “Do you want to walk through an overgrown, dirty forest with lots of weeds trying to find a deer? No — you’d like a nice, tidy forest with flowers, that smells nice and has paths that you can easily maneuver through — not that I support killing deer.”
All both sexes can agree on is that back hair is unsightly and has to go. It’s a perversion of sorts, often equated with knuckle-dragging. The rest is personal preference. Nobody in the Cosmopolitan study was against trimming as long as it’s “well tended.” Furry and stubble are two different things. Women don’t mind a little roughage. They’re just not crazy about making love with Chewbacca or trying to give head to a cactus.
Being trimmed is considered more sexy and, for many women, a turn-on that leads to better sex. As fallen_angel pointed out in AskMen Reader, “I’m a fan of shaved also. Less hair more head!!”
Which leads us back to the question of whether you want to escape manscaping or not. If you’re leaving it up to your partner, she’s going to work to her preference, meaning it could be a light trim, or it could be full “back, sack and crack” grooming. On the other hand, laying down some perimeters could result in both of you being happy.
So let’s look at those perimeters and see how much you really need — or want—to cast off in a pinch:
Facial Hair: Nobody’s crazy about a mess of patchy whiskers, whether you’re trying to look like Wolverine or not. Either keep some level of organized whisker growth or get rid of it. Just as women don’t like going down on a cactus, they aren’t crazy about tonguing a sea urchin, either.
Chest and Stomach: If hair takes up 40% of your body, it’s time to manscape. Nothing ruins sex like having to do a “parting of The Red Sea.” Think of the aerodynamics of a car. You want the wind to glide over you. Same with women. If they can’t glide over you, you’re essentially a Volkswagen.
The Groin: This causes all men to cross their legs. Our nether regions are sacred territory and not to be taken lightly. With a little coaxing, though, men can be convinced to reduce the “wreath of pubes.” Just don’t go about it like your grooming a Shinzu.
One final piece of advice is given by Bella Pope on lovespanky.com: “If you are a man who is manscaping any region of your body other than the ones listed, we have a response just for you: don’t.”
I’m not exactly sure what regions she’s talking about. I thought I’d covered everything worth mentioning. If there are other regions of manscaping you want to discuss, talk to Bella. My legs have been crossed all morning.
As Neil Diamond once wrote: “The shaving razor’s cold and it stings.”
Robert Cormack is a freelance copywriter, novelist, children’s book author and blogger. His first novel “You Can Lead a Horse to Water (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)” is available online and at most major bookstores. Check out Yucca Publishing or Skyhorse Press for more details.