Someone asked me to write about my take on personal deforestation. On hair removal – pubic topiary, for some. I’m not really the one to write about it, given that I met my husband when I was 17, in an era and place where people my age didn’t wax, god, it might even have been pre-Brazilian. My husband frowned on the idea, having no issue with women looking like the women they were. And I was cool with that – sparing the expense, the mess, the pain, the embarrassment ... the alarming nudity of it all... so I’m not really the right person to wax lyrical on the topic, given that I am be-pubed, as god intended.
Times have changed though. At a meeting of women bloggers a couple years ago, a friend said that she’d seen an online exhibition of normal people who’d volunteered to be photographed naked. It was interactive – charmingly, you could click on their clothes and underwear, and see them in various stages of undress. She complained that to a woman, despite being quite different in age and style, etc, they were all waxed bare. She found it depressing that this had become the norm. Someone else suggested that perhaps she’d just clicked one time too many :)
I mean, I don't see anything wrong with this lovely happy woman.
(Sorry, this template has photo sizing issues. )
But no, apparently bare is the norm, now. In conversation with a man last night, he said he hadn’t seen pubic hair in two decades. Definitely Channel Four’s sex ed programme had all the boys thinking that women had to be hairless – though their standards came from porn, depressingly, and the girls were following suit. I loved Jiz Lee's stand on this issue, that she talks about here.
I do think that’s a problem, I don’t think it’s positive. It saddens me that this has become a blanket standard, that girls of ... what age now – 14? will assume they have to wax. I personally have no issue with pubic hair. Sure, a pube on the tongue is not the most fun, but as Demure Lemur pointed out in this wonderful post, hair gives texture, interest. Perhaps it’s a marker of our difference. And its purpose is to get our pheromoes out there. We're so scared of our animal nature - the horror of smelling. Is our fear of odour a form of evolution, or a frightened rejection of our animal nature... ?
I’m not so sure about the infantilisation argument either, though. That doesn’t really wash with me. It may be some people’s motivation, and I agree that not letting women be at all hairy in other places is an unfortunate societal construction – but it certainly isn’t something I’d consider. But I liked this post I found on Sex is Not the Enemy, in full here that demands an end to the politicising of the hair/no hair debate:
That said, I am sick to death of the “hair or no hair” debate. I’ve heard a lot of people on one side say that pubic hair is disgusting and unattractive, I’ve heard people on the other side say that without pubic hair, one looks prepubescent.
They’re both ridiculous arguments, positing personal preference as fact. It’s not fact. Some people like it with, some people like it without. Neither way is “disgusting” or “wrong”, it’s just fashion, it’s just what people are used to, it’s just individual taste. Why is that so hard for people to understand?
Here here. I think I agree with this. I don’t think anyone should feel they have to shave or wax – I don’t think anyone should feel they shouldn’t if they want to.
I read a nice story once, probably in one of Alison Tyler’s books, about a woman who shaves for her partner and is surprised at the deep, intense, fetish level of his arousal on discovering her smoothness. Having shaved out of curiosity, or ... boredom ... or in the spirit of adventure recently, I totally empathise with this. The silkiness! The smoothness... the ... intrigue. It really was like a brand new country. Yes, I do wish I’d done it while I still had someone to discover it with me. But even on my own, it seemed a very intimate experience. A sort of, ‘I’ve never been to me’ feeling :)
It didn’t make me feel childlike, I can attest to that. It made me feel, much more aware of myself, and like I had a secret I wanted to tell. And sure, I can imagine oral sex is a vastly different experience.
I gave a friend a voucher for a salon a couple years ago, for her thirtieth, and she horrified me slighly by going to get a full wax. I wanted her to have some luxury, a manicure/pedicure maybe, not to have her pubes ripped out by thier roots. But she loved it, felt gorgeous, went out and bought herself a thong just to revel in the sensation all the more. More power to her.
My main reason for not doing it before is that far from looking pre-pubescent, with my fatness, I’d end up on the other end of the scale and look like an old lady, what with my saggy tummy and stretch marked Mary (as a friend put it – I have stretch marks on my Mary!!) and the fact that being bigger means you’ve more pubic area too... it makes for a comfy hand rest, don’t get me wrong but ... ach, I don’t know. Does April work it? I don't know if I've seen a picture of her with pubes. I confess, I'm a little scared of this expanse of bareness on myself.
Still. It’s a place I’d recommend visiting, just to see...