Since my very unfortunate mishap (for those of you who haven’t been keeping up with each groundbreaking entry of my blog: on Monday I accidentally flashed my overgrown bikini line to colleagues by wearing a shorter-than-short playsuit to work, and bending over in the staffroom. I know OMG, right?), I’ve been having a good think about pubic hair, in the way that my generation tend to have a think – by conducting Google research, feeling like an expert for 15 minutes, and then immediately forgetting the results. What I discovered is that pubes are a hot topic. They’re very zeitgeisty – what with everyone shaving them off, and neo-feminist warrior women growing them back and telling everyone else they should also grow them back and making a point about the role the shaven haven plays in female subjugation via reports rehashed from multiple sources that little boys are so overexposed to porn that they get all freaked out when they see a real live fanny with hair on it. It’s overwhelming, the amount of people who actually care about the subject, and so I thought I’d better chip in with my say on the matter before the moment passes, and I miss my chance.
Here are three of my most vivid pube memories, in chronological order:
– Feeling inadequate in year seven, when, during registration one monday, Danielle Mahoney and Sophie Morgan each plucked a single pube from inside their knickers and measured them with a plastic ruler to prove who was more pubically developed
– Nearly amputating my lady parts when ‘trimming up’ in the presence of an ex boyf – who fortunately had the presence of mind to shout ‘STOP!’ at me very loudly, thus ensuring that I avoided performing an accidental self circumcision on his bed sheets (if you’re reading this, thanks again for that)
– Watching a male stripper with white y-fronts, brylcreemed barnett and a pipe perform an unusual routine at a hard-core gay club in LA (we never saw his manhood but were treated to teasing and repeated exposure to his impressive genital mane) and the boys getting very aroused by what they called his ’70’s porno bush’.
I offer you these memories because they provide a neat illustration of my changing attitude towards pubic hair over the years since I’ve had it. The first example demonstrates the very competitive nature with which girls in my school viewed all outward signs of puberty: we wanted the biggest boobs, and the heaviest periods, and the longest pubic hair. If we couldn’t prove we had any of these things, we’d be ridiculed. I’m not sure why – I think it had something to do with sex (and the girls who had the biggest boobies and the heaviest periods certainly did reveal their prowess in this area, by all having babies by the time we sat our GCSEs). In those days, I longed for pubes to grow. I wanted flowing locks of them that would increase my popularity and make boys look at me, instead of at my friend Laura.
The second example illustrates the way I treated my longed for pubes in early adulthood: with disregard. Unhappy that they existed, and ashamed if any of the curly hairs peaked out from the edges of my underwear, I waged a constant wax and shave and trim battle against the bush. But no matter how hard I fought it still won by looking scruffy and misshapen, itching like mad and growing back within a couple of days. I was not a happy girl.
The third and final example illuminates my pubes renaissance, which took place last year. Wow, I realised, pubes are well sexy!
Unfortunately, my pubes renaissance has occurred at a time when the vogue for trimming has been absorbed into western society as the norm. I first noticed that the pubic hair removal fashion had reached alarming heights when, a few years after I became sexually active, even the men started shaving them off. I wasn’t too bothered at the time, but it’s started to feel like a problem. Pubic hair is impossible to see in modern Britain. Even on so-called medical programmes designed to teach us about the human body in all its gory glory – yes, pubes are too embarrassing for Embarrassing Bodies; a programme where members of the public whack out their crusty, pus-filled genitals for doctors, and the nation, to inspect. Something is very wrong here.
I know that not everyone will agree with me on the sexiness of pubes, and that those who know me personally will suspect I’m just saying they’re sexy because I’m too lazy to attend to the grooming required to keep my overgrown hair in line with current fashions. However, this is not the case (well, it’s not entirely the case). Having lots of pubic hairs is sexy for a number of reasons: 1) a healthy tuft of hair-down-there is a sign of normal, adult development; the girls in my school were correct, pubes do suggest that you’re a grown-up person who is ready to engage in sexual play 2) fluffy, wiry pubic hair adds another texture (besides the softeness of skin, the stickiness of sweat, and the hardness of nails/teeth) to sexual activity, which is, after all, a sensual medium 3) a decent sized bush suggests that the bearer is confident, comfortable in his/her own skin, and not bound to oppressive and uncomfortable grooming fashions 4) pubes are so pretty (except when they become detached, and get stuck in the soap).
A few people have asked me how long I’m going to keep this blog going, and whether I’ll soon embark on a relationship that might necessitate its termination. Well, here’s the answer: when the people of the western world start growing their pubic hair back again then I will consider rejoining the couples circuit. Turns out I’m in the neo-feminist warrior camp; plus, I don’t want to have sex with an insecure, fashion conscious lady-boy who is so worried about conforming/the size of his penis that he has to shave off all that nature gave him in order to feel desirable. So, until such time as we can embrace it again, pubic hair is a reason to be single. Thank you, and good night.