Wax it. Shave it. Love it. Hate it. Let it be.
If I’ve learned anything over the past decade
of dissecting modern relationships and sexuality,
it’s that we spend an inordinate amount of time
thinking about pubic hair.
Considering it’s a personal choice affecting such
a small piece of real estate, it’s absurd how nearly
everyone has an opinion when it comes to hair down there.
On one hand, there’s been a recent push towards more
natural pubic hair styles, with Vogue publishing a piece
which declared “the full bush is the new Brazilian.”
Since then, we’ve seen ample media reports citing
the health dangers of removing pubic hair –
including an increased risk of contracting STIs.
Recently, I came across an adult film from the 1970s.
I was amazed at the difference between it and modern porn.
Some things don’t change much (cheap sets, preposterously
thin plots, atrocious acting), but comparing the people
was like looking at two different species.
Then, everyone had hair, everywhere, and the sex was
by far the most genuine part of the whole show.
The couples smiled at each other and made
silly noises while copulating.
It all seemed so real. And the bush was real, too,
something soft and womanly at that gloried apex.
I find today’s ‘landing’ strip and its cousins to be
unappealing in their precision—almost compulsive,
they seem, and how prickly they must be!
Seeing a full Brazilian makes me sad.
It always looks like something is missing.
But how did the bush become endangered in the first place?
Where did it spring from, this idea that pubic hair
must be trimmed, mown into a careful trapezoid,
and temporarily or permanently removed altogether?
My personal guess is that the popularity of the
non-curly, non-bushy bush came from 21st century porn.
Even though not all women watch pornography, or
take fashion and grooming ideals from from it
trends tend to filter out into broader culture.
It’s long been my suspicion that we can thank porn
for the popularity of French tip nails since the 1990s.
Similarly, the landing-strip version of bush was once
available for our gaze in adult entertainment only.
Now, one seems less than groomed unless she has
reduced her pubic hair to a patch of bristles or,
sadly, to a tangle on a used wax strip.
This is bad for us. Before the advent of central heating,
pubic hair was necessary for warmth. Today, its removal
may cause all sorts of problems, including the
proliferation of lovely modern pathogens
like staphylococcus and MRSA.
Even if these side effects are less likely, hair
down there tends to cushion against friction, both
everyday and…more festive, in clothes and out of them.
Beyond scientific aspects, I’ve always felt expending
time and money to remove pubic hair on a regular basis
presumes that there’s something wrong with us,
with our natural state. Something that we must
correct with sharp or searing implements.
I have a good friend who tried a Brazilian once.
Her feelings were mixed. She liked the sensation
of being totally bare, in a way of which she was
slightly ashamed, but she also felt creepily
young when she looked in the mirror.
I admired her for trying something new, but
no one could ever pay me enough to do the same.
Of course every individual woman can make any
decision about her body that she desires,
as far as I’m concerned.
But I object to the notion that bush is unsightly,
that it should be torn out at the root if its
owners are to be thought attractive.
I object to pubic hair removal because it’s
another reach into women’s pockets by the beauty
industrial complex. It’s painful and medically
questionable, turning us into pubescent adults.
Removing body hair deprives us of the opportunity
to be our messy, gross, interesting, whole selves.
But I also object because I just can’t do it. Am
I the only one? Women unite!. Bring back the bush!