Tuesday, December 07, 2004


The fabulous Kristin Tracy's hilarious post recounting her pubic tales put me in mind of something Roseanne mentioned a while ago. Roseanne is a costume designer so she's up on the latest trends in fashion and what she said was something about the fact that since fashion was revisiting the 70s did that mean that the full pubic bushes that women once sported, most memorably on the pages of "Our Bodies, Ourselves," would be making a return as well?

I think the obsession with pubic hair, or the stripping of pubic hair is singularly American. When traveling in Europe I am always very aware of all the hair curling from women's armpits and flowing from the edges of their bathing suits, cascading down the thighs like furry bermuda shorts. Hair that the women upon whom it grows seem to be completely unaware of, but which I find somewhat shocking. It is only in America that women remove so much of their pubic hair as to approximate the appearance of their pre-adolescent selves, with the exception of a mohawk on the mons, or a landing strip, as I've heard it referred to by a certain group of guys who frequent an all naked strip club fairly regularly. The kind of strip club I call the gyno-show.

The act of getting rid of offensive pubes is almost always fraught with pain and I have tried almost everything. Shaving is just a bad call. You end up with razor rash and ingrown hairs and a total effect of cystic acne at the bikini line. Not a good look on the beach.

Electrolysis is very effective but involves hours and hours and hours of insertion of an electrode into each hair follicle where a surge of electricity is delivered to kill the root. Imagine being electrocuted a teeny bit at a time. Then multiply what you think that pain would feel like by a thousand.

Using chemicals burns the skin, as Kristin can attest to, and in my case, not only was there burning but there was an unfortunate outcome. I was at the river, camping, and realized that things were not so neat "down there" so I applied the Nair and went to wait in line at the showers wearing only my robe. As I stood in line I non-chalantly crossed my legs while leaning against the wall. About 20 minutes later as I stood in the shower not only was my bikini line bare but so was almost everything else down there. And this was back in the day when not even strippers were sporting the landing strip.

Next I tried waxing. At home. Because I couldn't imagine some total stranger down there between my legs. Not being one to read directions when all of the steps seem so obvious, ex: heat wax, slap on wax, apply fabric strip and rip, I completely missed the bit about applying powder to the area first to prevent the wax from adhering to the skin and ripping that off too. Consequently the first couple of strips rendered me almost unconscious from pain, to the point where I decided to just leave the last strip on and wait till the hair grew out to a length that would allow me to clip the strip from the very tender skin down there. The areas that I had succeeded in "waxing" looked like three large hickeys. Difficult to explain that.

Now I go to Ruth's Skin Care where women with Israeli accents quickly and efficiently wax my bikini line in about 5 minutes. I don't go Brazilian or Baldy, because frankly that just hurts too much. It's all about neatness and symmetry, nothing fancy, no creative or artsy shapes.

When I think about it most of the men in my life have sported full retrobush themselves and would probably pass out if they attempted to wax their area "down there," and I would never ask a man to do that, but a little manscaping wouldn't be a bad thing.

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