To shave or not to shave, that is the question

Don’t you just love women?

Well, yes, actually, but what the hell. This morning an ‘article’ was published in the Guardian about the trend towards pubic hair removal. Ostensibly about permanency, it soon turned, well, ugly. Actually, downright offensive (as well as factually inaccurate)
I have several problems with this piece. The first is perhaps the juvenile nature of its rant: ‘If porn told you to jump off a cliff …’ This is pitiful, playground stuff. This is meant to be an intelligent paper. It’s no surprise that comments were not opened.

If Bidisha wants to discuss this intelligently, then all well and good. She might consider asking people their thoughts. She might find that for some, it enhances sexual feeling, especially cunnilingus, and allows the ‘linguist’ greater access to sensitive areas … this leading to more pleasure for the woman. Surely that’s allowed?

Bidisha makes one frankly stunning assertion: ‘They [men] are not going to make the effort to do anything to please a woman, at the cost of their own comfort.’

Really? What a sad bunch you must think we are. And you respect that? Good heavens. This is offensive and, quite obviously nonsense.

More to the point, I believe that more and more men are following the trend – it’s not called a back, sack and crack for nothing.

But she ignores the vast, gaping hole in her argument. Men have been shaving for years. Now, what on earth does shaving one’s chin represent? Let’s ask Shakespeare:

Fulvia perchance is angry; or who knows

If the scarce-bearded Caesar have not sent

His Pow’rful mandate to you:                                                (Antony and Cleopatra, I.i.20-22)

Now Jove, in his next commodity of hair,

send thee a beard                                                                      (Twelfth Night, III.i.44-45)

You may light upon a husband with no beard.

What should I do with him? dress him in my apparel

and make him my gentle-waiting-

woman? He that hath a beard is more than a youth,

and he that hath no beard is less than a man;                   (Much Ado About Nothing, II.i.32-37)

Hmm. The prosecution rests with the fearsome Beatrice.

So, by Bidisha’s logic, shaving the chin is designed to imitate the youth. Or, in Shakespeare’s terms, the boy. Imagine if I, a man, wrote this:

‘A woman who likes a man without facial hair despises adult men so much that she wants us to resemble children. She should stay at home instead in front of a computer, masturbating alone to the hair-free images she reveres.’

And yet she feels it is fine and dandy to write this:

‘A man who likes a woman without pubic hair despises adult women so much that he wants us to resemble children. He should stay at home instead in front of a computer, masturbating alone to the hair-free images he reveres.’

And we’ll not even think about all those men who wax their chests … none of whom are ever presented as sex objects to women. No, no, no.

Now I don’t in any way intend to belittle the many, many serious issues that pornography raises. The fact of the matter is, that is articles like Bidisha’s, this is what the author unwittingly does.

She draws a delightful conclusion thus:

I worry about these men too, of course, those poor poonani-policing body fascists. They are now in danger of returning to a Victorian naivety. They may well believe that, like the hairless, passive and benign feminine allegories of grand masters’ paintings, women naturally do not have any body hair. Upon seeing some real hair on a real woman for the first time they may well vomit or faint, or both. That is something I’d like to see: a man so dizzied by the shortfall between reality and his own ignorance that his brain can’t take it and he loses consciousness.

Bless her and all who sail in her, as they say (don’t be filthy minded).

She finishes with this rather odd paragraph:

‘As for the women, don’t you have anything more interesting to do than dutifully coif your cassoulet? I got “cassoulet” from The Joy of Sex, by the way. It means “general musky pussy area”. Check out the original 70s hand-drawn illustrations. The couple are as hairy as anything, but they look like they’re having a lot of fun, fur and all.’

Now, ignoring the possibility that she doesn’t know what a cassoulet is (in the Guardian? Purlease!), and no, I’ve never heard it used as a euphemism, either, I wonder whether she thinks that the hairy figures in the Joy of Sex are any less stylised than the ‘grand masters’ paintings’. Furthermore, might she vomit or faint should she encounter partner who doesn’t have a lot of fun, ‘dizzied by the shortfall between reality and her own ignorance’?

Bless her. And I’m being ironically patronising. Because I can be.

Well, I’ve got that off my chest – now then, ought I shave, wax, or curl?