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There’s a Hair Down There

Words by Joshua Green
Illustration by Cameron Baker

It was the year eight swimming carnival and I had donned my school speedos in preparation for the 50-metre boys breaststroke. I was teetering on the brink of high school victory and stardom. It was at this point though that I glanced down and noticed puberty had worked its magic that summer.

To this day, the risk of a curly mane protruding from an unforgiving expanse of Lycra has shaped the very way I enter water. And my budgie smugglers have been replaced forever more by the infinitely less risqué board short.

But why the fuss?

Pubic hair (and the manner in which it is approached) brings up some fairly curly questions.  Are the waxing, plucking and pruning of our pelvic garden merely another beauty regimen with which we submit ourselves? Or is it perhaps something a little darker? By eschewing a pubic mane are we infantilising our otherwise sexually mature bodies?

Given my past life as a dancer (and the surplus of Lycra that came with it) the topic of waxing was discussed freely and often. For some women it appears to be a practicality thing. It’s easier to just get the curly mates downstairs removed than constantly be tugging on a leotard.

When discussing this article with my sister I only needed to mention ‘pubic hair’ before she responded, “Kill it with fire”. While there is a pro-wax camp, there are some not so keen on messing with what yo’ mama gave you. Figuratively speaking, of course.

Another woman I spoke to voiced concern over the notion that by waxing themselves, girls are emulating child-like bodies to gain adult male attention. While I don’t think anyone would condemn a bit of light sprucing around the edges during swimsuit season, there are certainly interesting ramifications of balding the vagina.

What of it for men, though? Some of my female friends are vocal in their preference for a cleanly shaven man as opposed to ‘a full body dreadlock’. Indeed, manscaping—along with its key tenet, ‘a smaller bush makes for a bigger tree’—has gained prevalence lately,  but when it comes down to it, how much does any of this maintenance matter?

Unless you’ve just been cast in an amateur production of Hair, there’s little likelihood you’re going to be exposing your pubic region again until at least November. Sure, if you’re due for any coitus in the next couple of weeks you might want to tidy the furry-pant fuzzies, but is a bit of hair really going to change the situation? The long and short of it is that pubic hair fashions come and go, for women and for men, and in the end it’s a matter of choice. Under the cloak of winter though, it’s probably safe to let everything go to seed—if not for aesthetics then for a bit of extra warmth.