A reader writes in with a good bloody question (I’m back from England but the language is still a bit transitional):
In your latest episode of beard-blogging, you write that “Men …. will grow beards if they do nothing. The case, it seems to me, has to be made by those who want them to scrape the constantly growing hair off their face every day with a metal edge.” As a bearded man, I wholeheartedly agree with that statement (and your many others proclaiming the aesthetic, health, and philosophical advantages of beards).
However, as a bearded straight man, I find myself wishing that our culture would allow women to make the same “defer to the default” decision about their body hair. Ever since I was a teenager, I have found it really hot when women don’t shave. For a while I tried to surpress this preference, having internalized the cultural message that women’s body hair was deviant or gross. But I now realize that those who push for the removal of ever-more body hair are the ones who ought to explain themselves. After all, our best theory about why pubic and underarm hair evolved is that it helps with sexual signaling – either olfactory signaling, by catching and concentrating pheromones, or visual signaling, by serving as a visual cue that someone has gone through puberty.
I realize that it would be incredibly problematic for me to say that women should stop shaving simply because I find underarm or leg hair attractive. People should do what they want with their own bodies, full stop. But I can’t help but think that we are in an unfortunate equilibrium where heterosexual women shave because they think they have to in order to be attractive to men, and heterosexual men don’t speak up about their true preferences because they don’t want to sound deviant or weird. I have been in several relationships with women who shaved who – when I told them that I wouldn’t mind and in fact would find it attractive if they stopped – were more than happy to stop wasting time and effort on shaving.
I just wish we could remove the social stigma surrounding women’s body hair so that women could make decisions about shaving their legs and armpits in the same way that men are increasingly able to make decisions about whether to shave their faces: based on their and their partners’ preferences, and without having to seem completely countercultural for making what is ultimately the more natural choice.
I have to say I should stay entirely neutral on this, for obvious reasons. But if I were required to shave my legs and armpits every day, I would regard it as a form of unnatural servitude. But if it objectively helps women get laid, who am I to stand in their way? It’s a woman’s choice – coerced by men. Or am I wrong?
Explanation for the above image:
ChinaSMACK is reporting that a user on China’s microblogging site Sina Weibo has invented “hairy stockings” as a way for young girls to fend off perverts. It’s hard to tell if these are real or imagined but given that some people in China have been putting dogs in pantyhose, these might just be the former.
Update from a reader:
Could a false beard to be worn by females be next?
A reader writes:
Thank you thank you! I am so glad to have a Dish conversation about us gals having to shave. Well, we don’t have to, but it’s expected. I haven’t shaved in years, not anywhere; but I have a husband who doesn’t mind. I admit to having red-gold hair rather than dark, and I’m not particularly hirsute, so I can appreciate what dark-haired ladies have to deal with. Still, the feeling of two hairy legs rubbing is quite a lovely thing, especially as opposed to the painful stubble of a shaved leg or rash-riddled armpit (to say nothing of the pubic area).
I can remember the fun I had as a bartender, watching guys react to the sight of my hairy legs. It made me laugh, seeing their disgust and hearing them proclaim how their wives would never be allowed to let it grow free.
I look forward to hearing if there’s a sizable reaction to this thread.
Sizable reaction below:
I remember being pulled aside around age 14 by my uncle. The reason why? I was at his house, swimming in the common pool at his townhouse … and I had never shaved. Mind you, my uncle has barely spoken to me over the years, but on this one occasion he saw fit to tell me how unattractive hair on the legs and underarm were and if my mother was too much of an immigrant to realize, here in the US, women shave to be attractive.
I stopped shaving my legs in my 30s after moving to the Bay Area. I stopped shaving my underarms in solidarity with my wife, who during her cancer years was too weak to shave. Since then I’ve noticed a couple of things. 1) Ever notice that both sets of hair are near lymph nodes? 2) Since I stopped shaving my armpits, I haven’t gotten a cold and 3) my dog, a husky, has fur that acts like armor on him. He never gets fleas because they can’t penetrate his undercoat. All this has led me to believe that shaving is pretty much a foolish act. Your hair can act to block things out.
Anyway, in my “pre-lesbian” days, I only dated men with facial hair. There’s something fun about it and if I could, I’d be totally rocking a beard now.
Here is why I started shaving my legs: Girls in my gym class in the 1960s teased me about how hairy my legs were, and my first boyfriend flopped down beside me at the pool after looking me over and declared, “You have more hair on your legs than I do.” I have no desire to ever be 16 again.
Long after I was married and was living in a liberal academic town, I stopped shaving my legs, though I consistently shaved under my arms. I resumed shaving my legs when I moved to a Southern state, where my hairy legs were obvious, in part because they were exposed for many more weeks of the year. When I moved back north, shaving declined in frequency and now is only an occasional event. I cringed self-consciously at one of my husband’s high school reunions when one of his classmates went on and on about how disgusting it was that the women serving at a natural-foods cafe didn’t shave their legs – thus proving, in the friend’s opinion, that their hygiene was seriously deficient. I was glad he wasn’t looking closely at my legs.
There are maybe five times a year I shave because I want to – first day of the beach, first week of skirt wearing, some date I’m excited about. It can feel festive and fun, like wearing red lipstick. Every other time it’s for men, or square women. It’s unprofessional to have leg hair, so off it goes when the outfit shows it. It’s not like it’s easy, figuring out how to maneuver around your own body with some dumb safety blades. And waxing is so expensive in America! You and your reader are right; it’s oppressive and just more misogynistic bullshit. And you know the shit of it? I would never date a man who demanded I shave, but I don’t think I could physically go on a first date with hairy legs. I’ve internalized the shame about my own body hair to the point that my stubbornness can’t overcome it (which, if you knew me, would be meaningful).
You referred to shaving as “unnatural servitude” and “a woman’s choice – coerced by men.” While men are a big part of it, the coersion is by our cultural beauty standards enforced by both men and women. The fact is, that whatever choice women make, it is shaped by the cultural definitions of beauty, from thoughtlessly following the standards of beauty magazines to rebelling against them.
I am “lucky” in that my leg hair is naturally blonde and not very noticeable (although more so now than ten years ago), so my decision to never yet shave my legs doesn’t really matter. I still shave my armpits relatively often, especially in the warmer months. And more recently, I’ve payed more attention to whether and how much I should pluck my eyebrows. I’m married, and none of these decisions are going to influence my sex life.
There is a cultural stigma against body hair on women. For most women all these body-hair decisions are quickly noticeable and will be judged by strangers on the street. So if it were just a matter of getting laid, as you say, a higher percentage of women would change their behavior when “off the market.”
Thanks as always for the interesting and wide-ranging reading.
Another Dish thread is born:
I stopped shaving in my mid-20s. Back then, I would joke to people that I am a Grateful Deadhead lesbian with a German mother, making it a triple threat for not being allowed to shave my legs and arms. Though I’m nearly 50 now I still, after 25 years, sometimes worry about people judging me for my unshaven legs and armpits. Not enough to actually shave them, mind you, but that thought is always there. Part of me revels in the rebellion of it and that I get to say an internal “Fuck you and your rules, man,” like any good hippy should. But part of me knows I’m being judged and I cringe a bit. How many ways can I create to get stared at and judged as a 6’2″ butch lesbian in a Grateful Dead t-shirt?
But here’s the thing I notice about not shaving. Deadheads and hippies mock women who don’t shave. Other hippy women mock not shaving. Many lesbians shave, to be attractive for other lesbians, though at least they don’t care or even blink when a women with hairy legs walks past them at Pride. And even my female German cousins now shave their legs and armpits (they didn’t up until we were about 30). If it’s just straight men asking for this, they have even more power than even the wildest of far-left radical hippies and feminists could ever imagine.
Another female reader:
I shave my legs only because I’m straight and hairy legs signify otherwise. I don’t feel shame about having hair on my legs (or armpits), nor do I feel that appearing lesbian is objectively bad. It’s just factually incorrect in my case. The haircuts, clothes shopping, hair products, makeup, hairdrying, face tweezing, jewelry, “accessories” (ugh) and on and on are just so fucking time-consuming, and it’s not fair. And I say this as someone who lives in Seattle, where my no-makeup, no-manicure, minimal jewelry, sensible-shoe, perpetual-bad-hair-day look makes me a pretty normal-looking straight woman. I don’t think it matters how girly you look otherwise; sporting hairy legs immediately labels you as gay – such is the ridiculously strong cultural expectation of bare-leggedness for straight women. (Considering how few of my lesbian friends/acquaintances currently have hairy legs – that’d be zero of them – it’s even more nuts that hairy legs remain a signifier of lesbiantasticness, but a signifier they remain.)
Another sends the above Youtube:
This song by Keb’ Mo evokes a strong positive reaction from his female fans whenever he plays it. It’s my favorite song of his (and I’m a big fan).
I have four reasons why women enjoy shaving their pubic hair:
1. Oral sex, the runaway winner. Both giving and receiving. I give you a pass on knowing this, Andrew, but this is probably the #1 reason why women in relationships go bare. There is no comparison in the amount of enjoyment for the giving party. No comparison. It also feels better and more sensitive receiving (at least with a clean-shaven man or a soft-skinned woman as the giver; I can’t speak to receiving from a bearded man as that’s the one experience I haven’t had). If the giving partner is happier to give, the receiving partner is happier – full stop. What percentage of women cannot achieve orgasm through intercourse alone? More enjoyable foreplay makes for more orgasms, which makes for stronger relationships.
2. More comfortable during hot humid weather. Hair sweats. Sweat chafes.
3. Lochia! I’ve given birth five times. Lochia is a comparative BREEZE without hair (especially during the first few weeks when you’re not physically able to shower very often).
4. Less hygiene maintenance during the gloppy, mucousy week around ovulation, less annoyance during that slow 24-hour trickle after sex, and obviously less odor and cleanup during menstruation. The normal gooey hassle of femininity is hugely reduced when you don’t have individual curly strands of hair to keep clean.
Maybe you read all that and went, “ew, I don’t want to hear about this.” Well, I don’t want to live it! Female bodies are full of icky-feeling liquid messes, and shaming me into accepting a life without modern, unnatural conveniences like tampons and razor blades isn’t un-repressing me.
I’m a female ginger, and I have hairy arms and hair on my chest. The latter is quite fine and downy, and when I was younger, it really bothered me. I was relieved whenever I ran across another female whose arms were also noticeably hairy and I shied away from two-piece bathing suits because of the hair on my torso, which probably only I noticed according to my husband whose attention I had to direct to the issue, and being quite the bear, he laughed.
I don’t worry about the hair anymore. Mostly because I am older and I long ago stopped caring about culture and its norms, but this conversation reminded me that as a female, there are a lot of inane “rules” we are expected to adhere to in terms of our bodies that are largely dictated by men. Men are free to be apes, which happens to suit me (except for the ear and nose hair – pluck that, seriously).
I have dark hair, and lots of it. Dealing with upper lip and even underarms is no big deal; it only takes a few seconds. But shaving my legs takes 5-10 minutes every time. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it essentially doubles my shower time on days when I do it. On the other days, my legs don’t show, period. I recently wore jeans on a 90-degree afternoon because I was rushed that morning. I cringe at my arm hair, too, but I learned in middle school that shaving your arms is somehow even more shameful than leaving them hairy.
Given the extent to which leg hair affects my life, I’ve considered laser. But the dilemma is my daughter. She’s 5, and a carbon copy of me. Her hair will get darker, and she’ll probably have the same issues that I do. Maybe she’ll want to laser it off, too. What would I say? Half of me would want to challenge the notion that a significant portion of her body hair should be removed permanently – no need to adopt my hangups. But the other half thinks back on my own experience and would love to save her the trouble of shaving through all those years before she can afford to pay for removal herself, if that’s what she’s going to do anyway. So I keep shaving, and hope to find her some better role models in the meantime.
There’s another element to this, which is what many women do to keep hair off other parts of their body – like their faces. I have dark, curly, thick hair; I’m Ashkenazi Jewish on my mother’s side. Since I was a teenager I’ve grown facial hair, and as I aged, it got worse. I had highly-visible hair on and under my chin; on my cheeks; on my upper lip; and I grew a pair of thick sideburns that would be the envy of many men.
As an adult I finally felt I had to confront this – I’d started going everywhere with my eyes down, unable to look people in the eye – and so I had it lasered off. This is a painful, slow, and expensive method to permanent hair removal; basically you are burning out the melanin in your hair follicles with a laser. It hurts like hell, like being snapped repeatedly with an electric rubber band (though the degree of pain varies by person and treatment). Some of the hair grows back, but less of it each time, and it’s thinner, lighter, and weaker. After an intensive initial treatment period lasting about a year, I now go back for a treatment about every eight months or so.
It’s been unpleasant, but I can honestly say that it has changed my life. I feel good; I look good; I walk with my eyes up, meeting people’s gaze.
But I did leave the sideburns. They were so thick I frankly didn’t see how they could be unobtrusively lasered away, since between treatments they would grow back and be obvious to anyone who saw me over time. It was too embarrassing. Now they are the only remnant of my prior hirsute self, and I don’t actually mind them (and I’ve had partners who found them downright hot.) So I trim them down and forget they’re there, and that mostly goes okay except for the occasional incident where I hear a whisper, or catch a stare on the street or on a train.
Still, I imagine my experience isn’t that unusual. For women, facial hair is common, and what we go through to get rid of it – and the judgment we suffer for it, much of it from other women – would surprise you. Behind many a perfectly smooth female face lie thousands of dollars and hours of pain in treatments.
Thanks, as always, for hosting such a fascinating discussion.
Some dudes sound off:
Now this is an interesting thread. I am a straight male and I personally would despise having to shave my armpits and legs every few days. So I don’t actually know why I expect women to do it. I mean, when I have to shave my face I go old-school and make it a luxury. I have my safety razor, my badger hair and my creams and I get a nice shave. I do this once a month. The rest of the time is a Monday morning once-over with a beard trimmer (I am somewhat blonde and can get away with it). If I had to do that to a higher percentage of my epidermis, I’d be even lazier.
All that said, being in NYC I’ve seen plenty of women who have stopped shaving their legs or armpits. I cannot explain it, but I have an absolutely visceral reaction to it. I am immediately and ferociously grossed out by it. This is likely immature and/or neanderthal of me, but I can’t help it.
I was going to stay out of this one, but here goes: I don’t think women should have to shave, but it is the case that basically any woman who wants to date me has to shave on a very regular basis. I simply find smooth legs on a woman very sexy, and hairy legs completely off-putting. I don’t know if that’s a mere cultural construct, but it doesn’t really matter; I’m not changing my mind.
Besides that simple preference, I think the idea of shaving is really sexy. It means that a girl paid attention to her body and changed how it would look and feel, just because it might make me want her even more. That idea is hot!
I should add, I also groom myself very carefully. I trim my pubic region and shave everything balls and below. I shave my face regularly. I moisturize twice a day. I clean the hairs out of my nose and pluck the few strays that grow off my earlobes. I don’t see this as an imposition, and I really don’t get why women or anyone find it to be such a pain in the ass. We’re talking about 5-10 minutes of effort in the shower, right? Is that really such a terrible thing? If that’s the level of problem we’re down to, I’d say we’ve come a long way in terms of women’s equality.
I also don’t think that wanting women to be hairless as a sexual preference constitutes “misogyny” per se. Misogyny properly defined is “The hatred of women by men.” Having a certain aesthetic preference, I think, doesn’t rise to that level. It’s tempting to use that word to more generally refer to anything men want women to do that some women don’t want to do, but we shouldn’t make that mistake. There are men out there who really do hate women. Those are the misogynists. The rest of us just think smooth legs are sexy to touch.
Straight man here with a preference toward women who shave their legs and pits. I applaud those in the thread who choose not to shave, but I don’t view myself as “oppressive” or “misogynistic” because I have a preference toward a cultural norm. Most people find baldness or men with toupees less attractive than men with a full head of hair (granted not to the same extent). It’s the same with men with patchy beards, or neck-beards. Nearly all of them have to regularly shave to feel attractive in the public’s watchful gaze. Do I think these are “oppressive” viewpoints? No. Do I think it sucks for bald men that want hair, neck-beards that don’t like shaving, and women that don’t want to shave? You bet.
A reader writes:
I saw this thread and want to echo what one of your more recent readers wrote, with an added note. Women don’t have to shave, but I probably won’t date one unless she does, at least semi-regularly. But also: if a women I was interested in wouldn’t date me unless I shaved my legs, pits, chest, and pubes, I would have no problem doing so! We want what we want in partners; that’s what I want, what I find attractive, and I’m also willing to bend to what my partner wants from me if that’s what she finds attractive.
I’ve always been curious about that: do women secretly find hair on men gross and wish we’d shave? Or are men just really lucky (as we are in the difference in the cost of haircuts, the price of cosmetics, birth control, and seemingly every societal norm)? By the way, fascinating reader threads lately – with the death of Google Reader, I sense I’ll be spending a lot more time on your site.
He and other Reader refugees, who were getting all of the Dish for free, can subscribe [tinypass_offer text=”here”]. Another reader:
I’m not opposed to women having armpit hair in the abstract, but I would be unlikely to date a woman who does not shave because it is a social signal attached to certain values. I know this not a causation or even a perfect correlation, but the women I’ve known who don’t shave tend to embrace ideologies such as new age spiritualism, ascribe to conspiracy theories about the food system, reject modern medicine, etc. So I don’t actually have a problem with the hair itself; it’s the associated values that turn me off.
I just had to respond to one reader’s line in this thread: “Men are free to be apes, which happens to suit me (except for the ear and nose hair – pluck that, seriously).” Are we? I’d suggest things are changing and men are now expected to trim up their body hair. Perhaps not to the extent women are expected to do so, but it’s becoming more the norm for both men and women. For instance, Gillette is running a series of commercials with Kate Upton all about how girls like men to style their body hair [see the above video]. According to that commercial, some girls don’t mind a hairy chest but can’t stand a hairy back. Others want the stomach shaved to show off the six pack (now it’s assumed we have one?!?!) And still others want their man completely shorn.
ESPN ran an infomercial this morning for a “personal grooming product” comparing men from the ’70s to today. The caricature from the ’70s had a a huge afro, chest hair that could have doubled as a merkin, and some of the hairiest arms around. Present day man is much more trim.
Anecdotally, my past girlfriends and fiance all preferred very short pubic hair. I also get teased about the single strand of hair on my back, so I assume if that was worse, it’d have to go too.
I think much of this relates back to one of your posts a while ago about male sexuality and how Marky Mark’s Calvin Klein ads changed perceptions of male sexuality. There was another post about male porn stars and how they have changed from unintimidating and ugly men to the guy next door or even very good looking.
I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to accentuate human attraction and sexuality as long as people do not excessively objectify one another.
I’m a straight guy who kinda hates body hair on both men and women ever since my own armpit hair grew out heavy in 6th grade. I am definitely a manscaper (I trim my pubes, chest, and armpits in addition to facial trimming) both for my own physical comfort and attractiveness to women. If I could afford laser surgery I would get it.
The only reason I don’t shave my body completely is because women don’t prefer that – most women I’ve dated or slept with enjoy both facial hair and body hair on men. So if there’s a “double standard” for body shaving it’s probably because secondary sex characteristics are somewhat different for men and women (same for body shape, voice pitch, jawline, etc.).
But as some of your other readers suggested, this phenomenon is also based on socio-cultural norms, which are definitely changing; more women seem to prefer hairless dudes these days – have you seen those Gillette commercials? So, I would happily shave my entire body if a girlfriend wanted me to, as I have no love of body hair on anyone let alone myself, but since most women seem to prefer a little manly hair, I’ll keep it around in moderation. And no, I would not consider it oppressive or sexist if women wanted men like me to shave their bodies; we should all be naked.
Just to throw a seldom-heard perspective on this, I’m a pretty hirsute bear who has to live and work in Texas, more often than not in full business getup – suit and tie, even when it’s 106 outside. And on top of that I’m just naturally more prone to sweating than most men seem to be, even in air conditioning. I found years ago that regularly shaving the natural-grown sweater off my chest and back helps immensely with the heat, and have even come to shave my legs down to the knee.
Why stop there? Because when I do get to wear shorts, it’s considered very weird for a middle-aged non-swimmer male to go completely hairless. If I could, though, I’d shave those damn natural knee-length wool socks that make up the thick hair on my legs from knees to ankles. Someday I’m just going to say “fuck it” and do it anyway.
A female reader writes:
This thread has been fascinating to read. My perspective: When I was in Basic Training, I didn’t have time to shave. I was 18 when I went in, and I got to spend nine weeks growing out the hair on my legs. BDUs are pants, of course, but our Physical Training (PT) uniforms were shorts for the first few weeks while it was still warm outside. While the men had to shave their faces every day, less suffer the consequences (having to dry-shave with a pink disposable razor in front of the battalion), women didn’t have that requirement and none of us had the time.
The day before graduation, we were released to spend with our families. I went back to the hotel room of my best friends, who had come to see me graduate, and immediately stole a friend’s razor to shave my legs. There’s photographic evidence of this, which I will decline to share, but it’s humorous. For me, shaving that day was something I could do for myself, that military could not regulate (the only regulation on women’s hair in this regard at the time was that we could not have visible facial hair) and that I could take my time to do. I wasn’t hurried, there weren’t 59 other women trying to use the shower … I sat in the tub and shaved my legs. It was glorious.
I have never liked the feel of my legs rubbing together when they are unshaven. I spent a month in the field on a training exercise in Korea and could not shave. In the field it didn’t matter; we lived in pants and I never could feel it. But the moment we returned to the barracks, I shaved. I couldn’t sleep until I did because it was bothering me so much. I just don’t like the feel of my legs when they’re hairy. (Funny side note: during field training in areas where there are a lot of ticks or other bugs in high grass, soldiers of both genders were encouraged to shave to reduce the chance of bites, infection, and bringing something home with you.)
Also, your reader who commented on the practical reasons for shaving, including all of our messy femaleness, is dead on. Hairy areas gather sweat and other fluids. It smells, things get matted … unpleasant all around.
Athletes of both genders sound off:
I’ll apologize for taking this thread in a new direction, but as a guy who swam competitively for many years, I have inhabited the flip side of this coin (though of course without the kind of oppression that women endure, to which I am wholly sympathetic). When we shaved for competition, it was considered by many to be an effeminate act and we endured taunts from classmates. Folks were particularly merciless when it was revealed that we made an event out of it and shaved together as a team. It must have been the mental image of a room full of high school athletes shaving together, and shaving each other. Part of the advantage of shaving was thought to be related to the removal of the top layer of skin, so we shaved backs and other inaccessible areas – try that without a helper.
The removal of a layer of skin was thought to make you more sensitive to the flow of the water, but I remain skeptical. The first thing I noticed about being shaven is how little you can feel, compared to being hairy. When you swim with hair, you know exactly where your leg is and how the water is acting on it, due to the tiny tug that passing water exerts on each little hair. When swimming following a shave, I felt temporarily lost in the water and swam largely on muscle memory. Folks saved their shave for the most important race of the season.
Maybe this was the reason most swimmers used “motion lotion,” a Ben Gay-sort of oil that gave your skin the icy-hot feeling. It was described to me as lubricating the body so it slips through the water better (swimmers would avoid applying the oil on parts of the arms and hands where you would want to “grip” the water”). On reflection, it seems more likely that the icy-hot feeling helps swimmers feel the water, in the absence of hairs.
This seems like an area ripe for systematic study.
Just to make the conversation interesting, I thought I’d throw in the topic of men who shave their legs. I suppose there are a few reasons that come to mind, either you’re a body builder, a swimmer, or in my case, a racing cyclist, then there’s also those who perform in drag and those who just feel like it. Others abound I’m sure.
As a cyclist it’s a funny thing because unlike swimmers, we do it throughout the season, and not just before competitions (as I understand it, that’s what they do). The reasons a cyclist does it are 1) for treating road rash, which if you’re racing, is inevitable, 2) to signify that you are a racing level cyclist, and not a weekend warrior, 3) pros have the additional reason of making it easier for leg massages. People talk about wind resistance, but the time saved is an insignificant difference. Some people might not mention reason 2, but I contend that that’s a force motivating people to do it – like a monk shaving their head before committing to the lifestyle.
The funny thing I’ve run into is having to mentally prep a girl for when I might be hairless again, and the understandable response of “oh, hmm.” I think it’s less a visual thing for girls – cyclist legs are ripped and sweet lookin – and more a feeling thing. When we lay in bed making sexual congress, the silk feeling of my legs against her legs will prompt a “wtf” reaction whether she’s “cool” with it or not. It’s a mixed signal since a part of her mind is expecting one feeling and getting a very different one It’s a small matter to me, if a girl would really object to having sex with me because I have shaved legs I’d stop being interested anyway, but still funny to remember there’s a minority of men who deal with the same problem, though in reverse.
A female cyclist:
I have one particular reason for keeping my nether-regions nearly clean-shaven and haven’t seen it addressed on the blog: cycling. Yup, I’m a long distance bicycle rider and, after many years of feeling a post-ride soreness that felt as if someone had taken a baseball bat to my genitals, I realized my pubic hair was the problem! Being on a saddle for 8 or 9 hours at a time resulted in my pubic hair being tugged every which way for hours. Tugged, pulled, yanked. Ouch. So I began trimming and realized immediate relief. No more tugging or yanking as I shifted around on the saddle. That was years ago and I remain happily trimmed. As long as I continue to turn a pedal, I’ll keep the trimmer close by.