Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: “What’s the deal with manscaping? We’re talking both genitals and chests.”
Straight Single Guy (L.A. Chris): I think it’s great that men have taken an interest in personal grooming. Where’s the downside of shearing a chest rug or bisecting a unibrow? And it’s every man’s secret that shaving your pubes makes you look bigger. Of course, like anything, preening can be taken to comical extremes (think tweezed eyebrows, hair stencils, and fake orange tans). But if you look at advertising and celebrities, male models are intricately manscaped, so that’s where a lot of it comes from. Ultimately I think it’s a fad: in another 10 years, bushy pubes, woolly chest hair, and thick mustaches will be all the rage.
Gay Engaged Guy (Joel Derfner, author of Swish): I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter, because manscaping is, for all intents and purposes, dead. Gay men are manscaping less and less each year, which means that in a few years straight men are going to be manscaping less and less each year, and then our national nightmare will be over.
Straight Married Guy (Figleaf): Great question! It’s a great irony to me that, at least in Western Civilization, we don’t think anything of the original “manscaping” — men who shave their faces. For instance, you never hear debates about how shaving makes grown men look “prepubescent” even though technically that’s exactly what it actually does. As for the recent trend in straight men trimming or shaving pubic hair, I think you could make a case that it’s driven, at least a little bit, by the same things that drive women to do so: porn and advertising. The two come together in a recent razor manufacturer’s ad campaign with shaved kiwi fruit and hints about the “optical inch” of penis length that comes from trimming away an inch of pubic hair.
There’s also the point that it just feels nicer being kissed on bare skin than on hair…and, for many partners, it feels nicer kissing bare skin than hair. As for men grooming hair on the rest of the body, I think there are two big reasons. First, because it makes us look younger. Not so much “prepubescent” but, since body hair increases with age, not middle-aged or older. Second, because when it’s long it can be itchy both to ourselves and to our partners. Of course the other side of all that is first that a lot of women and/or men think body hair on men is very sexy, and second that stubble can be even pricklier than if we left well enough alone.