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Big Hairy Fit

June 7, 2009

There is a place for everything, and everything has its place. Even hair. I know someone who believes women are unattractive unless Brazilian-waxed within an inch of their lives. When I informed him that no one, under any circumstances, would convince me I need to be bare to be sexy, he “complimented” me that, although he’d never seen me naked, he imagined I am still hot with my pants off, “which is saying a lot, since usually hair is a deal breaker.” Thanks, man. Your girlfriends sure are lucky ladies!

Hair is weird–it reminds us of our origins, and reminds that everyone (even that really stinky guy over there with dirty fingernails and a ball cap on backwards) has genitals. A lone, wiry hair on a dinner plate, lying in the sink, or plucked from your sleeve and which clearly didn’t come from your own body evokes a primal shudder. Rogue hairs call to mind bottoms and bits, pits and chests, strangers and monkeys and germs and secretions. Hair reminds us of the corporeal and reduces us to a collection of functions and basic parts.

The other day, a girlfriend and I whipped ourselves into an unpleasant frenzy, contemplating the unpredictability of back hair. We have recently jumped into dating after years spent with the same partner (me) or flying solo (her). Neither of us is particularly frou-frou, but we wear enough make-up, high heels, and hand-wash-only garments to score modestly on the femme scale. Our eyebrows are groomed but not permanently sculpted into a “surprise!”, and although we refuse to take it all off, we aren’t shy about keeping things tidy down below. Looking each other up and down, we figure our looks are pretty honest, pretty “what you see is what you get”. No padding to disguise flat chests, no hairy pits lurking beneath dainty blouses, no jackets concealing beer bellies.But, what of the men we’ve been stepping out with? There’s no reliable indicator when it comes to back hair, no sure give-away that once the shirts are off, there might be a layer still standing between our skin and theirs. There are no tells for mats of back hair, no matter what people say. “Just watch the knuckles and arms,” a friend suggested, assuring me that modest hand-hair equals at most, a modest smattering across the back and shoulders. I can attest, this is not strictly true.

Cue the aforementioned primal shudder. And then, cue a second wave of shivers upon which surfs the question, “Are we judgmental jerks for not being into outrageously hairy dudes?” Am I no different than my friend who thinks the natural state of affairs is a full Brazilian? And if so, does this make his opinion acceptable, or are he and I both in the wrong?

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