Zee ‘Air Down There

“Dear Gala,

I have a question that I often throw around and debate with people, and would like to know your perspective on it (being the fashionista that you are!). In today’s modern society where image, especially body image, is emphasised and sex seems to be very liberal – what is the stance on pubic hair in modern society? Is it expected to be more on the bald side these days, or can you still look like a wookie ‘down there’ and be seen as attractive? What is seen as ‘good hygiene’ in the way of pubes? I’m often intrigued as to whether there is an official-like social stance on the matter. Especially since the rise in trend of getting a landing strip, brazillian or, if male, the more daring crack sack and back wax. Is it a conditioning and construction of society, or a natural progress of the sexual revolution?

Should society be proudly bald, taking away a visualisation of adulthood, or should we proudly be growing a chia pet between our legs? And do you think porn has influenced the stigma of having pubic hair?”

Well! Here we go then, eh?

History lesson, ahem!

Waxing of the genital areas has been prevalent in many societies around the world for centuries, in Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt but especially in arid or desert, predominantly Muslim and Arab countries. Arab, Turkish, and Persian women as well as women from the Albanian culture and Mediterranean regions have for centuries been waxing in the genital areas. The waxes used were often sugar-based and made with lemon; however present variations include oils and scents to lessen the discomfort. The reasons for genital waxing in these regions have not necessarily been for cosmetic reasons throughout history, as it is in the case of North and South America as well as Europe, but instead these cultures mentioned above have generally practiced waxing for centuries more for reasons of personal hygiene and/or religion. As a result, in many of these cultures, body hair of any sort on women is considered socially unacceptable. However, waxing the genital area completely is relatively new to modern Western cultures, developing mostly in the 20th century. In the United States, for example, the habit of waxing or even shaving the pubic area did not become common place until the 1960s.

The Brazilian wax originated in Brazil for women wanting to wear the then-new thong bikinis, which was not widely popular inside the United States at the time. Brazilian waxing gained huge popularity through the late 1980s & has boomed in the last couple of years in the US. Legend has it that the J.Sisters beauty salon in New York has helped spread the name out.”
From Wikipedia.

In reference to the original question, I don’t know if the argument is as simple as “taking away a visualisation of adulthood”. There are lots of other aspects of adulthood — such as mortgages, 5 screaming children & saggy bottoms — which in the past we were expected to just accept & deal with. These days, we are free to deny, embrace or alter these conditions as we see fit. The Brazilian falls into the latter category. It’s a cosmetic thrill & enhances your look just like having your eyebrows shaped does. Why only take care of SOME parts of your anatomy & neglect others?

I know that a few years ago, when the Brazilian craze hit, there were a great many women who were worried that removing their pubic hair would suddenly turn their husbands into child molesters or pedophiles… or something. The logic in this argument is interesting, to say the least, but I don’t think that going bald is going to turn dear hubby into Gary Glitter.

Pubic hair might make you look like an “adult”, but quite frankly, so do breasts & thighs. Hair that (quite frankly) obscures the clitoris serves no purpose, so why not whip it off? It heightens sensitivity, looks superb (in my opinion) & will give yo’ lover a thrill.

“That’s the thing about the Brazilian. It makes you do crazy things. You have to be very careful who you invite to Brazil.” — Samantha Jones

Now, I’m not going to kid you. Brazilian waxing hurts. It is an ordeal. Every time I get one, I swear I will never go back… & yet. Shaving is such a hassle: growing it back is ugly & irritating & it requires constant work (exfoliating or re-shaving). Waxing is also fairly expensive, but then, you would have to pay me a fair chunk of change to be attending to women’s hairy, secret parts all day long too. The good thing is that once you have it done, it lasts a long time — 4 to 6 weeks.

“I got mugged! She took everything I got!” — Carrie Bradshaw

Maybe it’s just the generation I’m from, but I am keen on hair removal. I tweeze my eyebrows at least every couple of days; I even shave my arms. This kind of obsession extends to more intimate areas, too. Here are my personal preferences.

On women, I think a ‘Hollywood’ or ‘Sphynx‘ Brazilian (totally bald) or a landing strip Brazilian (a line of hair down the front) is the way to go, whether you shave or wax to get it that way. If you simply cannot be bothered with all the maintenance this style requires, then you need to at least trim. I really don’t think there’s any excuse (or reason) for anyone to be completely wild in that area anymore. I actually tend to think that most women (of my generation at least) all have some kind of pubic upkeep routine, & you’d be in the minority if you just let it grow. Most of the women I know go completely bald — it seems strange to me to just neglect the area, almost backward. I feel that as liberated, sexually-active women, there is almost a responsibility to “put it out there”, be familiar with & proud of our genitals. Is it just me?

I think all men should trim. Not to do so is just discourteous. Shaving or waxing is perhaps a little bit extreme — I don’t personally think it enhances the aesthetics of the area, so, you know. Save yourself an hour. It’s not like anything anybody needs is going to be hidden away, unless perhaps you’re 80 & have never touched your, um, thicket! Just a little upkeep is nice!

I did some research (*moustache wiggle*) & I really couldn’t find anything referencing pubic hair “trends” that had been written more recently than about 2004. A shame, really, since I’d like to know what the recent style is. In the early 2000s, suddenly Brazilian waxing was a hot topic, & every print publication featured humorous anecdotal pieces about visits to strange Russian sadists brandishing tubs of wax & small paper underwear. After that stage, though, there is nothing, zip, nada — somewhat like a full Brazilian itself — to be found on recent trends in pubic hair grooming. For all I know, women in Germany are flocking to Matilda in Baden-Baden who will shave a maze into your crotch.

I thought about calling some beauty salons to ask them what’s popular these days, but that’s only really going to tell you what the pubic scene is like in Melbourne — not hugely useful. Then I thought, hey! I have an international audience of astute, independent thinkers! Maybe I should ask them!

So, is anyone game to talk about their, uh, pubic preferences?!

Extra For Experts
261 People Want To Do This… get a Brazilian wax” — with anecdotes & all. I particularly like this comment: “I am determined to do this, both for me and my boyfriend, also because I am having a baby soon and if I don’t I’m worried they won’t be able to see the baby as it’s coming out!!”
Nerve.com interview with a Brazilian waxer. Her tips? Drink two glasses of vodka beforehand, & ensure you’re clean first! (Arrrghhh!)
Some Like It Trimmed, from WebMD.
Tips from a Brazilian waxer, thanks to Yes But No But Yes.
This is hilariously badly-written, maybe by someone from Belarus (after the recommended two glasses of vodka)? “You are welcome to join the club of pubic hair shaving.” Well, thank you very much!