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Men Are Going Bare. Down There.

The Deforestation of Males


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I don’t have a lot of bad things to say about monogamy. Most of the time it’s a sweet deal: I never worry I’m going to blurt out the wrong guy’s name in bed, and I always have someone to drag with me to the office holiday party. But there’s an undeniable downside to sharing naked time with just the one person. And that is this: I am the last one to know about fascinating new pubic-hair trends.

Starshine Roshell

While I’ve been hibernating in holy matrimony, it turns out that an increasing number of men — from pubescent teens to been-around-the-block bachelors — are going utterly hairless in their private regions. And thereby giving a whole new meaning to male-pattern baldness.

I first heard about the fad from a single girlfriend of mine. “I haven’t seen a male pube in a long time,” she said.

Then a pediatrician told another friend that it’s getting harder and harder to recognize when his patients hit puberty because that primary indicator has vanished — on both girls and boys.

There’s even a new men’s grooming product called Edge Body, the first-ever shaving cream designed for shaving “below the neck.” (Its thicker formula is supposed to “combat irritation and bumps on sensitive areas.”) And some salons now cater to guys who want to be waxed in zones where previously only females dared to be bare — giving rise to the term “Brozilians.” Yes. That actually happens.

When I shared the riveting news of this subequatorial deforestation with friends, coworkers, fellow book club members, and the poor, unsuspecting family members with whom I shared a Thanksgiving table, their reactions ranged from “Well, yeah. Where’ve you been?” to “It’s about dang time” to “Stop it. That can’t really be happening. In the name of all that is short and curly … why?”

One shocked friend asked her teenaged daughter, who confirmed that shaving is now de rigueur for all parties because pubic hair is “revolting.” The porn industry probably begat this belief; it’s been offering close-ups of just-Gilletted men and women for so many years now that even offscreen, any — er — impediments to intimacy are perceived as messy.

More than any other explanation, though, fans cite the old postulate that a tree appears taller when there are no bushes at its feet. And I’ll leave it at that.

What’s funny to me is that young men used to revel in every testosterone-triggered follicle they were able to produce. It meant they had arrived at manhood. So by lopping off and ripping out those follicles at the root, where exactly have modern dudes arrived?

“Following in the trend of ‘metrosexuals’ and ‘househusbands,’ today’s man has lost his manhood,” insists Dr. Carole Lieberman, psychiatrist and author of Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets. She interviewed more than 100 men for the book, asking about the intimate details of their lives — including whether, and why, they choose to be bald below. “The truth is that although it may make their male organ appear bigger, it is actually a sign that their ‘manhood,’ in a more general sense, has been diminished — that is, the take-charge masculine qualities of men from former decades. It’s hard these days to find a man who knows his way around plumbing, woodwork, or even cars. So although shaving his pubic hair may be aimed at attracting more bed partners, it makes a man look like the little boy he has evolved into.”

I don’t know if that’s true. But I do know there are plenty of men who refuse to partake in this clear-cutting craze — regardless of current trends in adolescent grooming.

“Going bare as a teenager is redundant,” chuffs one man I know. “I go bear.”

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Starshine Roshell is the author of the new book Broad Assumptions.