No more bushes!

This post is probably best avoided if you are a blood relative of mine or a tad prudish.

Hey kids! It’s a New Year!  Now put that tree away, don’t worry about that extra five pounds you have gained from too much baking, it will come off.  Let’s kick the year off right here in BGIM land by talking about bushes or shall I say the lack thereof. The other day I came across this piece in The Atlantic and well it left me stunned. If you have been with me for a while, you may remember this piece I wrote when I was contemplating the plunge and getting my first Brazilian wax. I never did follow up that piece, after all it seemed a tad awkward even by my standards to write about the process, but I will say I did it.

Yep, I paid $75 plus a tip to get scalding hot wax smeared over my nether regions and ripped off with cloth strips. Turned out it wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it would be, but I will say the process is ummmm, strange. I don’t know, usually when my nether region is that exposed and I am putting myself into positions, it means Mama is about to get happy. Now many women will tell you once you get a Brazilian, you will never go without one…hate to tell ya, BULLSHIT! Sure it’s an interesting feeling and yeah you do notice a difference when you are getting your sex on, but the reality for me it simply wasn’t worth adding that type of expense to my budget. I mean shit, I already have to wax, my eyebrows, upper lip and occasionally spot work on the chin and neck. Sorry, that’s enough regular waxing just to make sure I don’t start looking like that scary clerk at the local grocery store who proudly rocks her stache.

Now after I took the plunge, I asked the Spousal Unit what he thought about the whole Brazilian thing and he was basically of the mind, that sure it’s nice but no need to do it monthly or even quarterly for him. I mean we are adults here, but he’s been getting my goodies all these years and the goodies are the same whether I am bald as an eagle or a hairy lioness.

Well based off The Atlantic piece, it’s a good thing we are a couple of old heads. Apparently today’s young man does not appreciate a woman with hair in her nether regions. To paraphrase some of the thoughts expressed by men, a woman who isn’t bare down there is seen as weird. Really? It’s weird to have hair in an area that traditionally has hair? Of course young women aren’t exactly fighting the sentiment when they express that being bare in their nether region makes them feel more attractive. In almost 39 years on this rock, the state of my pubic hair has never had much impact on how I felt about myself. In fact any time I have been in a deep mental or emotional funk, my pubic hair situation had zero bearing on the situation.

I admit even before I read this piece I occasionally found myself thinking about this, but unlike college kids or younger women, most gals in my age group aren’t necessarily talking about the state of their pubes with one another. Hell, until one of my besties a die-hard feminist who often railed against the idea of being bare down there, took the plunge and was so surprised about how much she liked it, I never gave it a second thought. I do know that since I wrote the piece a while back, I have heard from a few gals in my age demographic on the matter. In my small very unscientific sample, women either are Brazilian devotees or frankly pretty repulsed by the whole thing. I haven’t heard from too many who fall into my take it or leave it camp.

I admit the thing about Brazilians as routine that bugs me is that it feels like it places yet one more unrealistic expectation on women. Can we talk cost? Look, these things aren’t cheap, even here in Maine, the cheapest Brazilian will cost you $40, and basically you are taking a risk. The cheapest ones are offered at the Asian nail salons, where every time I go to get a pedicure, I notice the same dingy looking towel on the table as I walk pass the waxing room. I don’t know about you, but I am not stripping down and laying my bare ass on a less than sanitary table all to have a bare vulva. Never mind the fact that at my local nail shop the language barrier sometimes means my foot soaking water is the wrong temperature, I am either freezing my tootsies or being scaled.

Why is it, men don’t have silly unrealistic burdens put upon them when it comes to their bodies? A man get older, develops a paunch, loses his hair and he gets to be himself and probably can still get a woman if he is reasonably attractive with a personality and some teeth. Yet let a woman get a little gray, develop a little potbelly and have some hair on her vulva and she might as well just snuggle up to her Hitachi Magic Wand.

Maybe I am just in a cranky mood, but the fact that younger women play along with these ridiculous standards created by the media and men, just piss me off. It’s one thing to do what you want to your body because it’s something you want. In other words if you like to be bare, go for it! But if fear of a man ridiculing your body or judging it when you are willing to share your deepest self is what keeps you tethered to hot wax, I say bullshit!

15 thoughts on “No more bushes!”

  1. So from a male point of view I have only two points to make. 1. There are guys out there that are take it or leave it too. It is not an expectation for many men. 2. More and more I’m hearing of (and seeing in the locker room) men going bald. I think it’s more of an age thing than a gender thing (personal opinion based on personal observation).

    That being said, I can’t say I miss getting a hair caught in my throat, a coughing fit puts the brakes on things very quickly. But it’s such a rare occurrence that I can’t say it has influenced my opinion one way or another. If I had to go out on a limb and speculate I would imagine that the perception that “down there” is well taken care of has something to do with the popularity of this hairstyle. Obviously, that perception has nothing to do with reality, but it might be a factor.

    Love the writing.

  2. Ladies, i’m new to the site and I truly hope i’m not out of place, not only by being here, but also by getting into this conversation.

    I read blogs by black women because I enjoy reading the opinion/views of black women. I must say this topic caught me off guard.

    Anyway, I’ve enjoyed the comments, some serious, some very very funny. Exactly what I needed after reading a couple of political blogs!

    Oh, and Danielle, stay away from those shopping carts!

  3. June, I wish a motherfucker would tell me that he’s not going down on me until I wax. I hear the Rocky theme music starting now! I’d let my bush grow out 70’s fierce while I am packing up your things. My body is mine. Now if I want to do it-then fine. And if I don’t-deal with it. If he doesn’t want to he can be replaced.

    • I love these sentiments and thought I lived by them… Until I was faced with the world as it is now. If you can stay in that good, strong place, I am so glad for you. It’s how it should be (don’t like me as I am? Get out.). There are just so many levels of insecurity involved in new sexual relationships and The Beauty Myth is so omnipresent I think it’s important we don’t blame (not saying you were, truly) those of us who succumb to the pressures of trying to reach those unachievable standards. That is, when people (not you, it just made me think of it) tell women they should be strong and like themselves as they are, I think it minimizes the obscene pressures most of us (I’d argue it’s all of us) feel to try to meet the standards set (and constantly changed) by The Beauty Myth.

    • In your place, I would’ve left the same reply to me. I guess I don’t want to blame my partner for feeling the way he does, because like me, he’s simply responding to social expectations for women of my age. It’s not as simple as “You don’t like it? Take a hike” because I’m unsure of how I feel about the practice, I have an open communicative relationship with him, and I’m certain that when I manage to decide how I feel about the issue we can work through it together.

      …at least until I can afford laser hair removal from the upper lip down. Which, for the record, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do for me!

      • True he is responding to cultural norms, but I also think it can be a great learning moment too. I don’t think most men realize just how much women go through to maintain these ridiculous standards. Case in point, my hair. When I met the man, I had chemically straightened hair that was cut in a bob. My husband loves bobs but after we were in the same house and he realized how much it cost me to maintain that look, it changed his views. He still loves bobs, he just knows a bob on me is not worth the resources and use of caustic chemicals.

        I suspect his attitude on being bare or not is based on the same thing…so yeah we can change these attitudes but it does take time.

        • I can’t stress enough, though, how powerful an influence the beauty industry has on us. What I mean is that yes, if we have a strong sense and awareness of our own personal beauty (natural, unaltered) that’s fantastic. Having it so strong that we can “sell it” to lovers or partners who don’t immediately embrace it seems to me to be an almost insurmountable challenge.

          There’s this knowledge of what should be (love ourselves as we are, help our partners do the same/expect our partners to do the same) that denies the omnipresent and devastatingly powerful messages that (are constantly changing) from the beauty industry.

          That annoying song, “Pretty pretty please, don’t you ever ever feel that you’re less than, less than perfect” for example, dismisses the influence of the beauty industry and actually blames the victim. “If you are insecure about your real beauty, it’s because you don’t like yourself or aren’t strong enough, etc.”

          Still, what you say, BGiM, is totally right on and inspirational. 🙂

  4. I TOTALLY struggle with this issue. I’ve had some seriously negative reactions to an au naturel look down there with a number of partners, and as a result of my boyfriend refusing to go down on me unless I did, I started waxing it all off in 2009. After awhile I bought myself an epillator and use that instead because it’s crazy cheaper, even thought it is pretty darn painful. And I’m Italian, so forget doing this ever 4-6 weeks. I had to wax every 3, and I epillate every 2.

    Sometimes, I want to quit doing it because it’s painful and while in process, it feels like I’m hurting myself more than I’m taking care of myself. But the rest of the time, I like being able to keep clean, and the current amour hasn’t seen me anything but bare, and likes me the way he is. I totally agree that this is an unrealistic expectation men are placing on young women – but as a young woman, I’m personally too afraid to alienate my partner or feel unattractive to stop removing it. Not to mention, if I stop for any length of time, it’d be WAY more painful if I chose to start up again.

    No solutions here, just the sad truth!

  5. Twin, you know how I feel about the bald. Wanting to dry hump the shopping cart at Target because if regrowth itch is FIERCE! is not the business. I keep my hair at different lengths actually it depends on how lazy I’m feeling before I do something about it. The most waxing I’m doing is for the beach. Besides, there just so much I don’t like about being bare. So much…So if he doesn’t like it, he is easily replaced. The hills are alive with the fucks I do not give lol.

    • Waxing for the beach makes sense, after all we don’t all have to catch a peek of one’s hairs. But every 4-6 week balding IMO is insane.

  6. When I found out women did this, and then found it it had become the NORM, not the exception I was stunned. I felt so ashamed of myself, mostly because I immediately assumed I was considered disgusting.

    I tried to get #baldvulvas going on twitter for a while as I ranted about how bullshit the expectation is. Not the choice. The choice is fine. If it were really a free choice. But it’s true that young women (and many single women, in my very personal experience) only feel okay going bald in the area of the vulva (I love that word, can you tell?) — it’s a major source of insecurity. It makes me angry and, still, I’m not willing to be self-loving or courageous enough to stick to my principals (spending that kind of money just to try to meet the UNACHIEVABLE standards set by the beauty industry (Madison Ave/hollywood).

    I loved this piece, of course.

    • I think we all grapple with these impossible standards but after nearly roasting my sensitive parts with a DIY removal process, I am all set as far it goes. It’s not that serious! I agree it does seem to be mostly single and younger women that truly worry about this.

  7. I’m another “take it or leave it” girl. Not anti or pro Brazilian wax, but in my lifetime, I’d like to give it a try. As a 28 year old, I guess I’m still in the young woman category, so I will say this . . . the first guy I’d ever been with was VERY opinionated about my bush. He wanted it shaped and shaved, etc. Needless to say, I’ve stayed away from men like that ever since. In other words, if a guy is getting my goods, then he has no other reason to complain as far as my nether regions go.

    • Run away from man that wants to dictate how you maintain your body. Seriously, if a man wants a bare look he needs to be willing to chip in on that cost if and I say if you are open to it. Just mt two cents.

  8. LOL! I loved this piece. I think society has somehow made it clear that the boys want it bare but not many of us really talk about the worth, risk, or preference. We either do it or we don’t. I’ve heard men say its a must and I’ve heard others say it takes away from the excitement when it’s completely bare and lacking any sort of “mystery” for lack of a better term. I can’t justify spending that kind of cash regularly at this point in my life and thankfully the mister has never asked me to.

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