Waxing and Jazzling: Some Reasons Not to Do It

Posted on September 28, 2012


First it was the women removing every wisp of hair from their private areas.  Now it’s the men, too.  And to make matters even more extreme, men are getting their privates decorated – “pejazzled,” with  “crystals in patterns like stars and dolphins…  affixed on newly defuzzed skin,” writes Rachel Felder for The New York Times.  I guess this is the counterpart to “vajazzled” for women.

So men are now falling squarely into the trap that they helped set for women:  over-obsession with the outward appearance of a body part that is supposed to be seen only by a small, select number of individuals in private settings (hello?  this is why they are called private parts).

I don’t see how any of this is a good idea.  Yes, we’re sexual beings, but what does this plucking, shaving, waxing… decorating… say about us?  Is monogamy dead?  Privacy?  Modesty?  Do gentlemen (and ladies) kiss and tell these days?  Is the crotch now as commonly viewed as a leg or an armpit?  Why else would anyone be so overly concerned with the appearance of a body part that isn’t supposed to show?

Well, at least among the younger set, it does seem that people’s privates are not so private.  And the answer to all those questions?  Yes.  Guys apparently do chortle with their buddies over what a girl looks like.  Yes.  Monogamy, privacy and modesty are… well, maybe not dead, but wallowing in a ditch somewhere, and frankly, I don’t like it.

Far from being an antiquated Victorian notion, modesty has a dignifying, empowering effect; it might even turn you into a whole person, rather than a screw-toy.   For women, I’m not talking about wearing a burka; I’m talking about wearing panties, please, and better yet, clothes that hide the dang panties.  And your bra.  The whole thing.

For men, well – if, the first time I saw a guy naked, he was all shaved and pejazzled, that would be the end of the encounter.  I never had an interest in male sluts (someone needs to come up with a term for that… mutts?).  And now I have to worry about getting scraped by their… um… pubic jewelry, too?  No, thanks.

Women and girls have been subjected to a lot of over-sexualization in recent years; marketers have been sending the message through clothing, media, music and advertising that a female’s value lies solely in looking hot and putting out.  And now it would seem men are starting to fall for that, too.   For all you young folks out there spending your time and money gluing shiny bling to your creepily baby-smooth crotch, consider this:  if you want to be all about sex, then you will be all about sex.  Welcome to the Land of the Screw-Toys.

There are those who swear that they do this “for themselves,” usually claiming it’s cleaner.  It’s not.  It actually introduces more health hazards to your nether regions.  Ms. Felder informs us of the importance of “aftercare” following your salon appointment:

…aspirin is not advised because of its blood-thinning properties…  the risk of ingrown hairs, which can get infected, is higher….   For the first 24 hours,… most aestheticians advise avoiding anything that will get the area overheated, including steam rooms, workouts and (alas) sex…  Keeping the area clean is also important.  A unisex calming product, like Malin and Goetz’s newly-introduced ingrown hair cream ($34) and FixMySkin healing body balm ($12), which comes in a tube that looks like a child’s glue stick, can help soothe any irritation or redness.

Wow, what a deal.  I can spend 80 bucks getting my most sensitive hair painfully ripped out by the roots, and then need all that “aftercare.”  And then there is this:  some doctors are pointing out the increase in abscesses, inflammation, scarring, bacterial infections and other health problems “down there” as a result of this aggressive hair removal.   So for our troubles, we may achieve something resembling the after-effects of a nasty bout of smallpox, and probably… oh, I don’t know… grow our pubic hair back to try to hide it.  If we even can.  Scar tissue doesn’t have a whole lot of follicles.  But hey, there’s always merkins.

Besides, I’m not entirely buying the “we do it for ourselves” claim.  Clearly, some women do feel pressured to conform to this silly new standard, as we see in Ashley Fetters’ Atlantic article about the trend:

Herbenick recalls one encounter in which a popular, well-liked college student in a class she taught openly professed that he had never hooked up with a girl who had pubic hair, and would frankly be disgusted to undress a woman and discover a veil of genital fur.  “Some girls talked to me and wrote in their papers that they had always had pubic hair…  They never thought it was a problem. But when he said that, they went home and changed it. They really started to feel ashamed about their bodies.”

Uh-huh.  And as for the male clientele visiting the waxing salon in Felder’s NYT article?

Mr. Padilla of Strip said that many of his male clients are submitting to pressure from their partners. “The vast majority say they’re doing it because their wife or their girlfriend told them to do it,” he said. “The wives bring them, saying ‘If I’m going to do it, you better do it as well.’”

So.  Too many women take it all off because they think that’s how it’s supposed to be, and they are afraid of being judged or gossiped about by their partners.  Coming full circle, too many men are taking it all off because their women are telling them to, and the women are telling them to because they feel like they  have to do it.  This is what we call “a self-licking ice cream cone.”  Great for salons.  For you, eh, maybe not so much.

Hey, I’ve got an idea:  how about we stop flashing our privates around to anyone with an eyeball to see them?  How about a little circumspection, selectiveness, sexual continence?  If your partner is grossed out the first time you take off your pants, guess what:  you took off your pants too soon, and for the wrong person.

I leave you with this trip down memory lane.  Melanie Griffith as porn star Holly Body, in Body Double (1984):  “I do not do animal acts. I do not do S&M…  No watersports either.  I will not shave my pussy, … and absolutely no coming in my face.”  Now there’s a woman who might be a porn star, but she knows how to set her limits and to hell with anyone who doesn’t like them.

My, how times have changed.

Related articles:

What’s Pubic Hair For, Anyway?  Now We Know

Bra Construction and What it Means About How Society Views Women