Friday, April 16, 2010

Hair In Strange Places

I've written before about the importance of men having a respectable face suit - beards, goatees, mustaches, sideburns and their ilk - but it seems like the New York Times has just recently woken up to the fact that women often have their own hair issues to deal with. Rarely do we get to experiment with facial hair, but we do have a ton of other hairy issues to address.

For instance, in the year 2010, it's standard issue to have a smooth underarm. Go back 100 years, and to the birth of the sleeveless dress, and you'll find that women had hairy pits. But a savvy promotional campaign and the endorsement of hairless ancient Greek sculpture (and seriously, can you even imagine how time-consuming and asinine carving out wiry little hairs for photorealistic sculptures would be?), we've come to a time when female underarm hair is decried as gross, or worse, French.

There was that whole Brazilian public hair thing, where women would wax the hair off their vaginas and then talk about it on Sex and the City. The hairstyle, or lack thereof, was standard issue in pornography, making it acceptable for men to be all "pffft" towards women who cultivated a more natural look. In the same way that I love beards, I can't deny a man's right to prefer a hairless vagina. But making it some sort of across-the-board standard for all women seems a little...unimaginative. Some men like a big hairy bush. Some men don't. Some women like having hair down there, and some don't. (And, as a side note, just because something is standard in porn don't mean it carries over into real life. I'm sure you could convince more women to wax their areas if more men had ten-inch penises and more trips to the Pottery Barn ended in a gangbang).

In any case, the NYT was all "Women! Armpits! There's hair there! Whaaaaaat? Gross!" which is something I think they do every spring. Writing's a bitch, eh? They pointed to an ancient photo of Julia Robert flashing some pitbush and then interviewed erstwhile Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer about her decision not to shave. Palmer was a little all over the place, claiming it was both a personal, non-political decision and that she did it for her fans, but I get the confusion.

Every time a women opts not to follow the regimented beauty path, there's the possibility that she's doing it for political reasons. Back in reality, however, the majority of the women I know who choose to leave one or more of the possibly smooth body areas downy do it because they either don't care either way, or they prefer the way it looks.

Preferring your pits to be smooth and smell like baby powder (and who decides on these deodorant flavours? Cucumber? Give me a break) is seen as a healthy, attractive option. Preferring them hairy seems to mean that you're a vegan co-operative bean farmer who worships the equinox and has named her son Macaroon. That you're smelly, or dirty, or a throwback the Neolithic era. It's decidedly not in line with the silky bitches in the fashion magazines.

Then again, who is? Okay, raise your hand if you're five-eleven and weigh 117 pounds. Keep them up if you have stick-straight hair - or perfect glossy curls. No acne? No stretch marks? No scars or chipped teeth? Symmetrical features? Delicate eyebrows? A clavicle you could use to slice cheese?

That's what I thought. And you can't buy those things either, just like shaving your pits isn't going to net you the life you want. There are other, more interesting things you can do with your underarms (like the tattoo I saw once in a magazine: this totally blase woman who had tattooed a vagina in one of her armpits, with a line of ants coming out of it. It was equal parts WTF, amazing and repulsive. I've been trying to Google that for, like, half and hour and I'm getting some horrible stuff). Amanda Palmer, come drink beer with my friends and I. You seem like a woman who could wax (or not) poetic on a number of different issues, grooming included. We can sit around and talk about real things, instead of what happens when a woman decides to forgo the razor.

1 comment:

  1. I think lady fuzz is equal parts hot and funny.

    I went out to a friend's birthday gathering a couple weeks ago and trimmed my armpit hair instead of shaving. Shaving turns from smooth and silky to insanely itchy in about 12 hours :( This lasts for days. It's seldom worth it. Before trimming them, they looked like bats slumbering under my arms which brought me much amusement.

    About a week later, Arielle and I did a pin-ups shoot and I styled my armpit hair. Hot. I shaved some off and left a big healthy patch to ham it up in our photos.

    The number one reason I cave and shave is to avoid the dirty looks people give me on the street, or comments I often receive. It's really annoying. It's far more annoying to endure the comments and stares than the razor burn so I end up shaving. arg.