Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So, Um, How Expected Is That, Anyway?

Moving away from atheism and politics and towards my vagina, I have a question: just how expected is a nearly bare genital area these days?

Concurrent with my kidney infection, I had a severe allergic reaction* to the wipes provided with urine sample kits (stay the fuck away from castile soap wipes, is my advice. really far away.), and by "severe" I mean "there was blistering and my external genitalia swelled to the point where the skin tore apart in places from said swelling." If you are ever offered a choice between a kidney infection and a severe allergic reaction on your genitals, take the kidney infection. It's less painful and it clears up quicker.

Anyway, during the followup visit to the followup visit, my gynecologist told me that I need to let my pubic hair grow out in order to protect my "external structures" because "that's what pubic hair is for."

So, in the unlikely event I ever have to date again (I sincerely hope not, mostly because I have always hated dating), and given that I can't very well do it in the 70s, how expected is barely there pubic hair? Do people really freak out as much as they did about Sasha Grey's "full bush"? I mean, do people really look at pubic hair and think "disgusting!" in real life?

"Yea she had a sicko BUSH"
"Entourage was wild. So was Sasha Grey's bush"
and "did anyone else think that was disgusting. ITS 2010!" **

More than that, how much policing of my body do I really need to take? Used to be, shaving one's bikini zone was quite enough. (And rigidly enforced in the locker room in high school, let me tell you.) Now I have to get all crazy about a body part nobody sees, and, in fact, a body part I can't see without a mirror. Should I carry around a doctor's note or just pretend I'm striking a blow for feminism?

Normally, I don't take advice from porn stars***, but I guess I'll just comfort myself with Sasha's response:

"A lot of bush comments after tonight's #Entourage episode. If you're curious...that's what a grown woman looks like. Besides, I shave where it counts. I'm happy to contribute to making it ok again:) All 'fashions' have their cycles!"

*Initially, I thought it was an allergic reaction. Then it was misdiagnosed as genital herpes. Then I pointed out that was impossible, then it became "you must have transferred mouth herpes to your genitals." Then, when the tests came back negative for both, we were back to allergic reaction.

**None of these people can spell. Coincidence?

***I feel the same way about people who wear jeggings, so don't think it's the sex work, per se.


  1. Considering my blog shows up toward the top if you google for DIY or at-home brazilian waxing, I probably shouldn't talk. But. Being that I don't make a habit of looking at other women's vaginas, I don't know how widespread the "fashion" is, but I do know that you can get a brazilian wax at just about every salon in NYC.

    You know how I feel about body policing in general (summary: not gud). And genital policing? No ma'am. I mean... I personally feel there is a courtesy length/amount (for BOTH sexes, mind you). But it's really about comfort and health, isn't it?

    Of course, I do have to point out that the "it looks like you're having sex with a little girl if there's no hair!" thing is a total lie. Anyone who has ever seen an adult vagina knows that there is a vast different between a mature woman and a prepubescent. I mean, duh. So that one does bother me, because it's a lie.

  2. That is a good point, CN. Female genitalia changes during puberty the way male genitalia does. I still think totally bald is a little odd.

  3. I think it's one of those things that's socialized one way or the other. Interestingly, if you look at erotic statues from the far east in the, say, 1700's and earlier, you can often notice that the pubic hair on the female figures is not in a natural shape.

    In fact, pubic hair has been shaped, shaved or wigged (yup) one way or another at LEAST as early as the 1600's. Probably much earlier. So Grey is dead-on when she points out that everything has its time, and fashion touches every part of our lives - and bodies.

  4. I wish I could talk authoritatively about common it is :p

    I only know there are guys like myself who like a bit of variability, from smooth to wild and woolly. A little change goes a long way.

    Honestly, though, I guess I don't prefer completely bare all the time; I like something in-between.

  5. Hilariously, during the most recent Boardwalk Empire (amazing! and set in 1920), you see Nucky's girlfriend fully frontally nude and she has a landing strip. Considering how far they went for verisimilitude (no fake boobs and every woman is heavier than the current "perfect", specifically with wider hips and smaller breasts), the landing strip was a complete anachronism.

  6. Gosh it varies. I was obsessively hairless for the first few years after puberty, in vain attempts to pretend I hadn't become "a woman" yet. Some guys prefer the clean-shaven (or waxed) look but I know plenty who find it a little skeevy because it does seem so pre-pubescent.

    What a male or female partner is looking for in your lower hair maintenance department depends on them, but keep your vagina healthy and happy and let the rest follow.

  7. Seriously, don't worry about. They are your parts. If you like your vulva hairless, go for it. If you are feeling au natural, go bushy.

    I had a boyfriend who wanted the completely hairless look. I told him that if he wanted that, he needed to do it first. Never challenge a guy to do that. If you think the prepubescent girl look is gross, consider the prepubescent boy.

    I know that a lot of women feel super sexy and empowered by a brazillian wax but I really can't see myself in the mood for sex after having all my pubic hair ripped out. Leg waxing tends to cause me to break out in eczema - I don't want that for my vulva, thank you.

    Anyway, it's your vulva. You keep it how you like it.

  8. And it's these conversations that make me quite happy to not be having sex. Thank you.

    Seriously, I don't care either way about maintenance in the nether regions. I don't really want to think about it. And I suspect that if I were having sex I'd have to spend more time than I currently am doing exactly that.

  9. It's a matter of comfort and personal preference; that's all. You can generalize about how "acceptable" shaving (or refusing to shave) is, but individual responses are so idiosyncratic that knowing the "general" view is all but useless. At least, that's been my experience.

  10. "you see Nucky's girlfriend fully frontally nude and she has a landing strip."

    Yes! I totally noticed this and went, "Nuh-uh." Also, last January when GlamKitty and I saw the current Broadway revival of Hair, most of those actresses had styles contemporary to our times, not to the late '60's. (Which I was deliberately checking for, because I was curious. And I'm not embarrassed to admit it.)

    Anyway, social opinion regulating hair is hardly limited to scalp hair and public hair (think about the last time we had a president with a beard). The pubic hair is just a lot more personal. But everything in our lives that involves other people (which usually ends with everything about our bodies) eventually gets targeted for control. Ev.Ry.Thing.

  11. RE: genital hair in the 1920's - i'm willing to concede that a "landing strip" SPECIFICALLY could be anachrostic... but, in general, shaved vulvas happened. not as much as TODAY [because, also in general, a woman had her husband do it. so, also in general, it was mostly "swingers" who did - whatever swingers were called at that time]

    that aside, and to the specifics of YOUR vulva:
    in my experience, if one has ANY sort of rash, hair should go away until the rash does. this may only be me - i don't know - but you want the rash to BREATH, and to STAY DRY [almost always] and hair tends to defeat both of those.

    OTHER than medically-necessary stuffs [and, since your doc seems to believe hair is better in this case? i'm... not sure that your doc is actually PAYING ATTENTION, and that the statement is anything other than his/her ingrained prejudice...? reading it, it SEEMS like not-medical advice, really, and more just "pubic hair has a PURPOSE so "responsible" adults keep pubic hair because we wouldn't have pubic hair if it didn't have a PURPOSE" circular reasoning.

    i don't know.

    but, QUITE literally, in this case it's ALL about YOUR personal comfort. after the rash [reaction? whatever it is, and i have to say it's REALLY annyoing when they don't bother to find out WHAT it is, because it isn't what they thought at first. so it isn't herpes, yay, now figure out what it is! don't just say "oh well whatever" because you're pissed that you're wrong about the cause!] is gone, you can figure out what's best for you.

    but - BUT - i used to work in a strip bar, about 4 years ago [as the "house mom" - babysitting strippers, joy]. not ONE of the strippers was COMPLETELY bald. just enough to wear the costumes.

    if that helps?

  12. I used to be bald in my late teens early 20s. But now I'm not having one-night-stands so I don't care. I am coupled up and it's an effort just to shave my legs let alone deal with my bush.


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