Hair, hair! An ode to man-follicles

Posted at 9:41 AM Jul 09, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

When it comes to men, I like to have a little something to hold on to whilst they're rescuing me from raging rivers, dragging me back to the cave or saving me from the tallest turret of the highest castle. So I'm sorry, manvertisements from Gillette et al., but a slippery smooth chest means no traction in the heat of the moment. The New York Times addresses the hairy man quandary today in one of their "it-kinda-sorta-seems-this-way, maybe" trend pieces.

But now evidence from market research and academia indicates that more men are removing hair from their chests, armpits and groins. The phenomenon skews to mostly college-age guys or those in their 30s. Reasons run the gamut from Because My Girlfriend Likes It to a desire to flaunt a six-pack or be clean.
Ladies, of course, have been dealing with their supposedly unsightly body hair for nearly 100 years. Actually, it's kind of amazing that it took skin care companies this long to realize that men could also be shamed into getting rid of what God gave 'em. But the scariest part: it's not just the gays any more! Quelle horreur!

"It used to be a hallmark of male models and homosexuals," said Kat Fay, a senior analyst at Mintel, who writes an annual men's grooming report. She added that the high-maintenance primping of metrosexuals was "privileged" and clustered in cities; by contrast, this campaign has "more of an everyday middle-America feel" and aims to convince squeamish men that body shaving is "the greatest dating weapon."
To each his and her own, of course, but when I see a newly waxed man-chest glistening in the sun, I don't think that I'd like a piece of that, mainly because the kind of guy who spends his time and money making sure he's as smooth as a freshly oiled baby's bottom is probably going to rag on me when I only shave my legs twice a week. And I don't want to be made to feel bad because I'm hairy. Lazy, yes. Hairy, no.

I think there are a few spots--below the belt, namely--where it's prudent for folks of both sexes to do a little trimming as a courtesy to a partner who may be getting rather personally involved with the area. But waxing, depilatating, shaving and skinning ourselves within a centimeter of being classified as mammals? No, thank you.

Let us do some "market research" of our own, shall we? Ladies, do you like your men clean-shaven--and where?



Susan said:

HAIRY PLEASE. I never want to asked to shave anything, and therefore I never ask anyone else to shave anything. Live and let live.

Hannah said:

Nope, I'm a the hairier the better type, but then again, you've seen my armpits. They should make my position perfectly clear.

amrygma said:

I would enjoy not having any body hair. Lucky for me I have very little to start with.

I like men shorn and as hairless as possible. Not to the point where I'd get mean about it, just appreciative.

Rose said:

Hairy guys are great. They are better to cuddle with. :)

Paul said:

Filed under the column of TMI...

I trim below the belt line, because I believe no one likes getting hair in their mouth.

I trim down the chest, not because it looks good, but because the stubble brushing against a t-shirt feels neat.

And I shave my pits, because otherwise the hair extends past my t-shirt sleeves. Ew. That and it's easier to put on deodorant.

Brittan said:

I'll take hairy any day! A little trimmage in the nether regions can be a nice courtesy depending on what you're working with, but don't go overboard.

CyraEm said:

I'm selective. I don't mind below the belt because my mouth doesn't really, in practice, touch any of it. In theory it's inches away from my face but I don't care so much about that. I hate chest hair, adore the happy trail, like the feel but not the sight of underarms and think beards are ok, but only the scruffies on the chin.

Really, though, who cares? If a man doesn't want to deal with a nest of hair on his chest (just as some women don't want to deal with the annoyance of lots of pubic hair) then why is this really newsworthy? It's not new. It's new to the fashion world.

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