Wise Guys: Is Manscaping Required These Days?

photo by Vladimir Istomin

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: “Is manscaping automatically required these days for men under a certain age? And if so, what does this entail exactly?”

Straight Committed Guy (Johnny): Without knowing exactly what age you mean, or whether I fall into this age group, I have to say yes. Guys generally prefer epilated women, and what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. The question is, to what extent must a man ‘scape? I’d say the “musts” are: unibrow, nose hair, ear hair, facial hair, pubic hair. If you’re a really hairy guy, there’s just no way you’re realistically going to get rid of all that fur. If you’ve got a few small, stray patches of hair on your back, you might consider waxing or shaving them just when you go to the beach – as I did when my little lady recently asked me to. Fair’s fair, right? She’d wax anything I asked her to.

I’d be curious to hear the female consensus on chest hair. I like my chest hair, and so far no one has complained, but I’m from the “give ’em what they want” school of thought. If women on the whole demanded it of men, the way men demand that women trim their pubes, then I’d do it.

Gay Single Guy (Angelo Nikolopoulos): Manscaping standards are strikingly divergent (and contested) in the gay community. Some gay men opt to be happily hirsute, whereas others are brazenly bare. The garden-variety straight man, however, should exist somewhere in the middle. For this I suggest hair clippers. And unless you’re one of the 44 members of this Facebook group, here’s a rule to live by: if it’s long enough to braid, it’s ready for a shave.

chris_diclericoStraight Single Guy (Chris): If manscaping is not required, it should be. I have been a big proponent of some form of grooming for a long time. I don’t even know if there should be an age requirement. Basically if you expect someone to spend significant time with their head and mouth down there, you have to take certain steps to ensure it’s a pleasant experience for them too. And almost every guy expects that their partner is well-groomed, so fair is fair. As far as what it entails, Philips makes a great device for buzzing down there. The blades are rounded off and don’t pinch or cut anything sensitive. If you don’t own a BodyGroom, you won’t understand how easy it is. No wax, no razor blades. Just simple waterproof buzzing once a week. No big deal.

But I think this is one question that needs to be turned back to Em & Lo. What do the ladies really want?

Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Gay Guy is Angelo Nikolopoulos, host of an NYC queer reading series The White Swallow; Straight Single Guy is blogger Chris DiClerico; and our Straight Committed Guy is regular EMandLO.com commenter, Johnny. To ask the guys your own question, click here.


  1. i am not a really hairy guy…some chest hair,pit air,leg hair and yeaaaa crotch hair. i would never let anyone near me down there with sharp tools cause heck..i never had a haircut from a male or female barber who didnt hook my ear at least once and draw some kind of blood…
    but, one girl i was dating for a long time ask me to shave or at least trim up some below the belt…and also added she did it for me also….so i did. at least i let her do it for me. no blood drawn but…guys and gals…use sharp hair cutting instruments or you may end up pulling the hair out instead of cutting it. ouch was cried out several times…but also there a lot of laughing and playing around. it was fun…and yea…i guess you could say a lot of foreplay. after all, the shaving cream was slippery and got everywhere and on both of us. i let her shave me completely down there. but that didnt last long..lol….looked funny to me…so now..i trim and shave the twins. every girl since has liked it and my current love does also.
    by the way..i am a 54 yo man……..

  2. I recently found out that the place I get my hair cut has a woman that does waxing. What a treat for me (and my wife) to get my ears done. It’s cheap ($14), lasts 5 weeks and more effective than those personal groomer cutters that don’t work. Plus I don’t have my wife chasing me around the kitchen with sharp scissors.

  3. My boyfriend buzzes his chest, arms, legs, armpits–everything. He’s very hairy, and it results in his hair just being shorter, which I find more attractive than clean-shaving or full tufts of hair poking out of the necks of shirts, etc. Armpit hair is the worst in my opinion; I just hate how it looks. I had a boyfriend that completely shaved his, I was so happy with that discovery.

    Really, overall, keep your eyebrows from looking like caterpillars and keep your pubes from travelling into my mouth during oral and I’m happy. I’m not happy when I’m criticized for not shaving my legs often enough or what have you.

  4. I in the “the less hair the better” camp. I wouldn’t make remove hair, but in my honest opinion, I’m turned off by a lot of it. Armpit hair and well-controlled pubic hair don’t put me off, but I cannot for the life of my understand the appeal of chest or back hair. BUT, I think the upshot of all these different opinions is…guys, however much hair you have, somebody’s going to like it, and you can ask your partner if you’re concerned. Too bad women don’t usually have the same luxury.

  5. The idea that someone, male or female, would spend free time on waxing their balls/vags/full bod, to seem more attractive, is a major turn off for me. I can appreciate a bit of grooming if you have a mighty boosh that prevents people from going down on you, but I haven’t met anyone that bushy as of yet. Natural men are beautiful. Sexy has nothing do with groomed or not. It’s all about attitude and what you radiate so don’t touch that chest hair, boys, it rocks. Then again, I’m Scandinavian, maybe the US is more wax hyped, haven’t got a clue but I like my vikings the way they were born to roam.

  6. My bf shaves everything…EVERYTHING. and he’s been that way since the first time we had sex. I’m use to it so i’m sure it would be weird for me to be with a guy with hair down there. I like that i can give a bj without hair in the way, but i dunno…i think if he let his hair grow out, i’d still wanna go down and explore.

  7. I’ve actually been manscaping since the first tufts of body hair appreared on me during adolescence. I barely remember what I look like with full-lenght pubes.

    This was before I became sexually active, before the internet put ideas in my head about what hair is right/wrong… so far back that Playboy Magazine – the most accessible form of porn at the time – still featured bush. Even then, I looked at my pubes and thought, “ew, too long.”

    I guess there was just always something about pubic hair that I wasn’t crazy about.

  8. For everything that is good in this world, please take care of that unibrow. I haven’t seen a lot of guys with horrendous nose or ear hair, but please take care of that if you have it. Also, chose appropriate facial hair, but don’t expect women to dig your beard if you look like a homeless man or have crumbs stuck in it. Other than that, all is fair. Show everyday (if you can), and be fresh and hygienic. And, if I’m not asking you to shave your pubes, please don’t ask me to shave anything else.

  9. Personally, I love my husband all nice and hairy… then again, he doesn’t have ear or nose hair sticking out.

    I hate the idea of him waxing anything, especially his chest hair! Its so soft and warm. I love it! Yes, I love his back hair too. I don’t know, something about it is just so manly

  10. I think all women can agree that you need to do something with the unibrow, nose hair and (shudder) ear hair.

    Facial hair can tell a lot about a man – whether he’s a “lumberjack” or spends hours shaving “star burns”.

    My ex-husband stunned me in year 5 of our marriage by all of a sudden shaving his armpits and nipples. It weirded me out. Well, the nipples I get, but armpits? They are so manly and can trap yummy manly smells. Don’t shave them. Trim if you must.

    As for down-there-hair, I’ve never been with a guy who wanted sharp things in that area. Which, I’ll say it, made for a lot of spitting out hair during bj’s. Gross. Most ladies these days keep it shaved or close because we’re just hospitable. Take it from me, guys…if you want someone to spend time down there, at least give it some curb appeal.

  11. My man is relatively sparse(body-hair wise) everywhere but down there, and I LOVE that dense patch of hair. I cut his hair and do his grooming for him, and he’s asked if I’d trim there too sometime. I’d do it to shake things up, but I dig seeing that dark patch against his light skin. I don’t think he minds that I can’t keep my hands out of his patch either.

  12. I, personally, have never been picky about hair on men–or women, for that matter–but that’s just me. As long as everything is clean, it’s not a problem. Chest hair is a lovely thing, to answer a posted question, in any style and quantity. Having said that, I will say trimming pubic hair does make things…easier. Enthusiasm is facilitated by actually being able to access all sorts of things. Armpit hair can often stand a trim on men, but just because too much looks uncomfortable. Really, though, it’s all a matter of aesthetic judgment for all parties involved. As long as proper hygeine is involved and everyone’s happy…who care’s what general society demands you do?

Comments are closed.