To Shave or Not To Shave, That Is The Question

Editor’s note: This post is not about me, but about a different, married, 6’6″, father of three children named Ryan. And if shaving, waxing and balls offend you now is your chance to bail on this post.

As a young man body hair wasn’t something anyone had to worry about, yet as an adult I find that it’s become increasingly a part of my everyday life. Do I have any nose hairs sticking out? What about ear hairs? Don’t even get me started on back and shoulder hair. I once worked at a tux shop in high school and fitted a man wearing a wife beater over his fur coat – during the Summer. A gross experience to say the least, but this isn’t even a blog post about any of the aforementioned hair. Nope, we’re going straight to the groin on this one.

It all started back in high school when a girlfriend made a comment to me about butt hair. Gotta love Catholic school girls. I had never really thought of pubic hair as being anything other than what it was – stuff guys had all over their bodies. Some men have more, some have less, but we all have it. One common thread is that having it in some places is less desirable than others — but nonetheless something we all had.

It was shortly thereafter that I saw my first “adult” film and noticed the lack of pubic hair down below. It looked odd, both on her and him. This is probably a result of the 1970’s, grow it as long as it’ll go, National Geographic afro-bushes that the Playboy models in my Dad’s dated mags were sporting, but nonetheless it was normal. Shaved just looked, well, odd.

As a college student I had a few friend with back hair. One in particular was actually bald by the time he graduated high school and looked like Chewbacca with his shirt off. Dude is Sicilian and tried everything to keep women from noticing the juxtaposition of his hair. Trimming, shaving and eventually waxing — nothing helped. I never asked him which worked best but have my own tales of woe to share. This is the part where you can either close your browser or read on and never look at me the same. I understand both ways. 😉

Flash forward to my weightlifting years and I noticed that very few of the men at the gym had body hair. Again, I thought this looked odd. Even stranger was when these guys would shave part of their body and not others. Typically the upper body would be the first hair to go. As locker room nudity goes, it looked like they were wearing nylons made out of pubes and it all ended right below their junk. Again, very odd looking to say the least.

If Only Marty Had Warned Me
If Only Marty Had Warned Me

Shaving Ryan’s Privates

Ah, it all comes back to porn. This classic title is a play on the Tom Hanks film, and while my name isn’t Ryan it certainly will be for the rest of this post. Ryan was in his early 20’s and started to think “Wow, I wonder if things are out of control down there based on what I’ve seen in said adult films?”. Curious, he started with a razor. Yep — like the kind you’d use for your face. Ryan’s advice: Never use a razor. Long hairs don’t get cut and well, razors are FRICKIN’ SHARP BLADES. I’ll leave it at that.

Ryan’s next foray into trimming was using a mustache trimmer. Whose mustache trimmer it was is unimportant. After all – would you ever touch your face again with a mustache trimmer you knew had been on someone’s junk? Some things are better left unsaid. In fact, the more I listen to it I think the Hall and Oates song is all about using a mustache trimmer to shave your junk. Eventually Ryan bought his own trimmer however laughed at the thought of his balls on someone else’s face.

The mustache trimmer experiment yielded successful results for Ryan. His dating life took off, and he soon broadened his shaving horizons and unofficially joined the hairless club at the gym. After all, he was buff, tanned and now cleanly shaved. The down side to this? Ingrown hairs and chafing, especially during the winter months. The up side? Tons of action.

After a few years Ryan noticed that shaving with a mustache trimmer was taking too long and it had to be done frequently, so he decided that waxing would be a better investment. And why not? It’s quick, lasts a lot longer and it’s totally not gay when a woman does it to you, right? 😛

Waxing is a lot like this memorable scene from “The 40 Year Old Virgin”. And yes, he swears in this scene, which I believe the kids call “NSFW”:

Waxing was a lot like that for Ryan. Except instead of it being an Asian woman it was my straight workout partner, who asked that Ryan help him wax. Ryan was smart enough to only try waxing his own chest, while his friend decided everything above the belt line had to go. Ryan’s friend is Serbian and hairier than Robin Williams. In fact, at one point Ryan thought his friend was sporting the Iron Mike Sharp forearm brace. It was due to the aforementioned arm carpet that this dialogue began:

“Are you sure?” Ryan asked.

“Just rip that shit off, man”, said Iron Mike.

RRRRRRIP.

“AAAAH!!!!!”, yelled Iron Mike.

And with that rip came blood.

“I’m done,” Ryan said.

“What? There’s still a shit load of hair left! You can’t leave me hanging like this,” Mike said.

Ryan declined and Mike decided to rip the rest off himself. In an effort to make sure he got all of the hairs in one rip, Mike let the wax sit on his skin for a while. Like, until the wax almost dried.

RRRRIIIIIP!

“AAAAAHHHHHH!” yelled Mike.

“What the hell are you doing?” Ryan asked.

“Look! It’s coming off!” Mike retorted.

“Yeah, along with your skin, dumb ass!” Ryan astutely pointed out.

Needless to say that after heading home with a beet-red (but smooth!) chest Ryan never attempted waxing again. Iron Mike ended up wearing long sleeves everywhere during the entire month of July while the scabs healed.

Since those days several products have been introduced to try and coax men into the “Manscaping” movement. Given the sales of these products (my firm helped launch Bodygroom back in the day and it was the #1 pre-ordered product on Amazon) I would say that a lot of other men are now comfortable enough with shaving and even more comfortable with the end benefit.

Ok, enough about me Ryan, what’s your take? Shaved or unshaven?