My wife asked me the other day if I’d ever heard the term “manscaping.”
Uh oh, I thought. This is surely a set up question. It’s a “Honey, do you think I look fat in these jeans?” kind of question. If I say “no,” she’ll accuse me of being dishonest and of patronizing her. If I say “yes,”…well, I don’t even want to think about that.
I thought for a moment about the word in question and figured it had something to do with lawn care. Then I thought perhaps this was a lead in to being taken to task for paying a landscaping company to do that sort of stuff instead of saving us money and doing it myself.
I still wasn’t sure what it meant, so I asked her to ’splain it to me. “You know how women often trim their pubic hair, get a ‘bikini’ or a ‘Brazilian’ trim,” she explained. “Well, manscaping is when men shave or trim their body hair.”
“You mean down there?” I asked, pointing toward my groin while moving my legs tightly together in a crotch-protecting stance. “Why would a guy do that to himself?” The word “ouch” came to mind.
My wife patiently explained that men might engage in manscaping for the same reason that women shave their arm pits, their legs, and shave or trim their pubic hair. It’s cleaner, it’s smoother, it’s sexier.
I’m a relatively hairy guy. I have thick, flowing hair covering much of my body. Except, of course, on the top of my head, which is the only place I would actually want to have thick, flowing hair.
When I was in late adolescence and young adulthood, I couldn’t wait for my chest hair to grow. Back then, a hairy chest was considered manly, masculine, and a sign of virility. By the time I was in my mid-twenties, I had acquired a thick, fur-like covering of chest hair. My back and shoulders were also nearly as hairy as my chest. And I was blessed (or some might think cursed) with a thick patch of the short-curlies “down there.”
I hadn’t given much thought to my abundant body hair until my wife asked me about manscaping. I was content with, and maybe even a little proud of, my man-fur. It simply never occurred to me that some might think it gross or perhaps a bit too Neanderthal.
I Googled “manscaping” to see what it’s all about and was surprised to find more than five million hits. I came across an article in The Daily Beast with the dubious headline, Why ‘Manscaping’ Isn’t Just for Porn Stars Anymore.
It seems that male deforestation is gaining in popularity and is moving into the mainstream of men’s grooming habits. There’s even a term for the male equivalent of the Brazilian female trim, the article noted. It’s called the “Boyzilian.” Cute, eh?
Not so cute, though, was when the same article mentioned that some guys regularly get their butt cracks waxed. Hey, that’s TMI.
Manscaping has become a big business. One site suggested that “keeping a neatly trimmed chest, back, shoulders…and more…will make you appear cleaner and send the message that you care about grooming.” I did not know that.
And I was shocked when I read in that same article that “nobody likes a hairy back and shoulders.” Omigod, nobody likes me!
It’s not as if I needed yet another reason to shun being seen in public in a bathing suit. Now I’ve got to be concerned about causing people to puke when they see my disgustingly hairy back and gross hairy shoulders that nobody likes!
Well, it is what it is. I am not going to succumb to this ludicrous manscaping trend. I’m announcing here and now that there is no way any hair removal wax, razor, or shaver is going to get anywhere near my body below my neck. I may be hairier than the average bear, but it’s who I am.
But wait. Could my wife have been giving me a not so subtle hint that I need to step up my grooming a notch? Hmm.