Rosie Green: Body hair – would you cross the bikini line?
Pajamas, Asceno. Top, Hanro, Fenwick
What do you think of the hair there? And do you think it affects the quality of the sex you have? It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. Because when you plan to enter a new relationship, you focus on presenting the best version of yourself, right?
Which to me means clothes with no food stains visible on them (base point) and a slimmed down, slightly sun-kissed body that is generally smooth and hairless (work in progress).
When I first started dating after my marriage ended, part of my action plan to get back there was to tackle the hair downstairs. I felt it would symbolize a new look at myself as a sexual being.
I decided to do it (mainly) with a laser. I had tried doing this myself years before with a home machine. (It was an early version of these things from Boots; I did the laser while my young kids were watching CBeebies.)
This involved putting on glasses and shouting “look away now” as the machine flashes. (I think my kids may need therapy later in life.) A friend of mine did his after consuming more than the recommended units of dry white wine. She said the result was “uneven”.
This time around, I signed up at the local clinic for professional work. An adorable young woman in her twenties – with false eyelashes so thick I was surprised she could lift her lids – walked me through the process. She started by talking about the number of sessions needed and the painful situation, then said, without any discomfort, “and do you want the lips done? I almost spit out my free white dish.
There she exposed the generation gap around the thought of pubic hair. Millennials get rid of theirs the same way we get rid of armpit hair.
Before my first sexual encounter after the separation, I asked my group of friends to find out what their hair was like there. There was a big divide between the married and the unmarried. Of this last group? Turns out they don’t have much. Even my best friend, who I can usually count on to be more prudish than me, told me that she had all of her landing gear done.
So when did being totally naked become the norm? Is this the norm? When I started having waxes (Rackhams, Birmingham, please) you just pulled your panties up until they looked like Pamela Anderson’s Baywatch swimsuit and asked them to do everything what sprouted on each side.
A decade later, the Brazilian has become the thing. I visited the initiators, the J Sisters in New York, in the early 2000s and it was like walking through a delivery room – all partitioned off and women crying in pain. A stern woman told me to take off my panties (I mean!) And then at one point told me to turn around. When I looked at myself later, I thought I looked a) wider at my hip and b) like a child. My husband was puzzled.
I learned that taking control makes me more confident
So, does it make sex better? The case for: you feel tidy and in a curious way, it reduces body anxiety. In addition, you can see everything, and therefore locate everything, and your partner too.
The case against: isn’t it a bit porny? Does he look a little puzzlingly prepubescent? Does this perpetuate unrealistic ideas of female bodies? Besides, my God, it can get expensive. An all-in-one wax costs around £ 55 a piece. Which works out to £ 660 per year.
But you don’t want to skimp on it. Before my first sex after marriage, I went to a salon and met someone who had or had no work experience. It all took two hours! And there were welts. What I think we can all agree is not sexy.
While my limits keep me from telling my current hair situation (I know, I have limits on sharing, who knew?), I’ve learned that taking control makes me more confident.
Oh, and that you should never mix wine and hair removal …