A few years ago, someone skilled in the art of torture, taught my Father how to forward email. From prayer requests to hunting videos to funny cartoons, the man is a mail forwarding machine. And while I usually just tolerate his fwd proclivities, sometimes he sends me a gem.
Last month, my Father sent me an article about a Florida woman who caused a traffic accident because she was shaving her bikini line while driving. Strike that. While she was sitting in the driver’s seat, the car was actually being piloted by her ex-husband, who was sitting in the car’s passenger seat.
And if that scenario wasn’t unbelievable enough, please keep in mind that Pubic Enemy Number One was engaged in a little high-speed shaving because she was on her way to a date with a new boyfriend.
(The mind, it boggles.)
Apparently, her ex wanted out of his alimony payments so badly that he was willing to do just about anything to help his former wife land a new spouse. And given that the woman’s mugshot could stop a clock and wreak devastation on a jeweler’s case full of small watches, a clean bikini line was probably an absolute necessity.
After I stopped laughing, I started thinking about how, in just a few short years, bikini waxing went from an unmentioned taboo to a basic tenet of good grooming. But why did so many American women make the switch? What convinced us that paying a scary looking Ukrainian woman named Yuli $75 to trim the undergrowth was a good idea? And why did a torture method, second only to water boarding, become an essential part of our twice-monthly beauty routine?
I think the answer is pretty simple…men.
While men are usually oblivious to our beauty routines (happily so, I’m sure), proper bikini maintenance seems to be the one arena in which they are understandably, but somewhat uncomfortably, interested. And given that younger generations of men (the under 40 set) came of age in a post-Sex and the City era, when everyone from Playboy centerfolds to tween pop-stars talk publicly about their intimate grooming habits, I think that many of the men in my peer group expect and prefer a cleaner look. Or at least, it feels that way. And that perception is driving women to great lengths to keep their landscaping looking pristine.
This reality was evident just last weekend when a neighbor, who had a date the following night, spent her poolside lounging time calling every salon in a 20-block area searching for an open waxing appointment. “I just don’t feel sexy without it. If I forget, I start to worry that I’m being judged.”
And in that moment, I realized that our new follicular foibles might be more about our own self-esteem and a desire to live up to expectations than they are about knowing what men really want. Because as Miss M so bluntly stated some years ago when we were both naïve college students, “No man worth his testosterone would ever turn down sex because you didn’t wax.”
This discussion also raises another question for me: If a woman is practically expected to keep things neat and tidy, why are men just allowed to let the garden groweth over? Few women who I know, even if they’re Brazilian devotees, would ever ask their male partner to go for a wax or get a trim. So why are we so willing to indulge their proclivities (real or imagined) and unwilling to demand the same treatment?
What do you think ladies: do we endure the pain of intimate maintenance because we like it, because men like it, or because we just assume that it’s expected? And as for the men, do you need it, prefer it, or fail to care either way? And finally, would you ask your man for some depilous reciprocity?
Leave your thoughts in the comments.