The Bald And The Beautiful: How Old Is Too Old For A Brazilian?
Here's where I draw the line.
When my husband and I moved to a turn-of-the-century farmhouse, we uncovered a treasure trove of left-behind junk, including an old, wooden filing cabinet. As my husband carefully opened the top drawer, I jumped as he yelled, “SCORE!” He pulled from the drawer what turned out to be a rather large collection of 1960s and early ’70s porn magazines.
“These are old,” he said, thumbing through the dusty pages.
“What year?” I asked.
“I’m not looking at the year,” he said, turning the magazine sideways and opening the centerfold. I was perplexed when he said their hair gave away their age.
I realized he wasn’t talking about the hair on their head.
My husband continued to examine the “hairstyles,” explaining that today’s porn magazines (from what he has been, ahem, “told”) have only “bald” centerfolds. I had actually been contemplating getting a professional groom “down there” after driving by a new authentic Brazilian wax salon. Even reading the sign gave me a painful wince.
When I shared our literary discovery with some 40- to 50-something friends, a heated debate on the popularity of Brazilian waxing ensued, and the growing trend of young Generation Zs to quit shaving body hair altogether. I grew up in the era of shaved legs and pencil-thin plucked eyebrows. If any woman past puberty had underarm or leg hair in the 1970s or ’80s, it was assumed you were either a hippie or European, and you were essentially shunned. I recall buying a bottle of Nair and slathering it up and down my legs, only to end up sitting in a tub full of ice water to sooth the burning, as the lyrics replayed in my head, Who wears short-shorts? Not me — until the scabs healed.
I never tried Nair on my nether parts, and never even considered bikini shaving until forced to community shower in junior high gym class. I matured early, and was one of the only seventh-graders with pubic hair, so I drew a large audience. As I stood under the eight-person shower head, I drew stares, glares and whispers. I was publicly pube-shamed. Still, I never even tried shaving my bikini area until late into my teens when tiny bikinis were in and bikini sprouts were out.
The battle of the bush has been around since ancient Egypt, when a hairless body was the standard of beauty. Ancient Greeks believed a woman’s pubic hair was not only uncivilized, but downright ugly. Michelangelo and other artists of the time painted hairless hoo-has. Today, many young women have laid down their razors and gone full-body au naturel, and I admire those who do. Maybe I’m even a little envious. So much time saved. And have you seen the cost of razors lately? But I couldn’t do it.
As I mature into my 50s, perhaps I’m just too entrenched (brainwashed?) in society’s expectation that I have no visible body hair below my eyebrows. I draw the line, however, of going bare down there. I prefer a wide landing strip, or sometimes if I’m feeling adventurous (special anniversaries, Valentine’s Day), a Dorito chip. As a 50-something female, I feel I’m past the age when a fully shorn juvenile vagina is acceptable (and by the way, gravity affects everything). But I also can’t go the way of the ladies in our recently discovered 1970s porn magazines.
Pubic hair grooming is a personal choice, and I guess I fall somewhere in between the “organic” look of the ’70s and the prepubescent look of today, but styles come and go, I suppose. I’ve been told that as I grow older, the need to shave will decrease (along with my hearing, patience, self-censoring and libido). I see that bushy eyebrows are making a comeback this year. I’m totally down with that trend.