Man hair . . . perhaps the phrase produces a response in you . . . it did in ancient Egypt and Greece where there was great emphasis placed upon the appearance of a hairless body. Men and women often went to great lengths to achieve this state by shaving their body hair with pumice stones and razors. It is funny how trends shift — until recently a hairless appearance was strongly associated with women only and not with men as hair was viewed as a sign of masculinity.
However, hair removal is happening again for men, and it's not just occurring among athletes or gay men, but across a broad section of American men. Popularly known as "manscaping" or a common characteristic of the "metrosexual" man, a recent study by Gillette estimates that upwards of 73 percent of men engaged in shaving or trimming their body hair. New research has also been undertaken that suggests that a hairless body is no longer strictly feminine or masculine but rather a common ideal shared across genders just as in ancient times.
But what is today's woman's take on the subject — with all of the color and flavor of her opinion still intact? What if one were to approach today's woman and inquire about the manscaping phenomenon and other associated hair removal techniques for men — what would she say, were her language allowed to remain intact and unsanitized?
You asked, dear reader, and I answered the call, having recently written a piece on men's opinions of women's body hair. So often popular media dominates public opinion without a thought as to what actual people like. So here goes nothing: the average woman's take on men's body hair . . .
To Manscape or not? The jury's still out . . .
Jennifer (age 24): I definitely like a guy who is manscaped.
Betsy (age 46): I definitely don't like it when men shave their body hair. Too feminine . . . But I do like it when bicyclists have shaved legs. If I had to choose, my favorite would be the strip of hair between the belly button and the penis.
Liesel (age 33): I'm a fan of manscaping. It is polite.
Randi (age 39): Leg hair is OK if it's tame. I don't want a monkey, so no back hair, please. I like muscular men, and muscle is more visible when not covered by a rug of man fur, so shave your chest for me, please. I like arms to be shaven and kept smooth; I don't like stubble when I'm rubbing your arms. If you expect a blow job or any business below the belt, manscape it!
Renee (age 38): Facial fur, a little scruffy but not too unkempt. Trim ears and nose hair but not legs, arms, chest, or pubes. It's best if he only has a little hair there. Moderate chest hair is OK, but don't trim it even if there is a lot; own it instead.
Mollie (age 36): If the balls want to be anywhere near my mouth, I need it at the very least trimmed. With regards to facial hair — it's my favorite thing. The more beard, the better. I don't care about chest or back hair, it's not really important if it is there or not.
Alicia (age 54): Shaved balls please :)
Lily (age 29): I'm not 12, and I'm not willing to put up with any amount of razor burn to look it. Personally, I don't want my partner looking like a bald little boy either. Just my two cents.
Kerri (age 35): I don't like body hair on men. Maybe some but for sure not a gorilla. The less, the better.
Shari (age 48): I find bald men sexy! The less hairy the better!
Bianca (age 26): No chest hair, trimmed and groomed facial hair. Men are so sexy to me, when they actually maintain facial hair! The chest hair is just weird and gross to me though!
My big takeaway from this little social experiment is that women are very particular with regard to male body hair. Some like a lot, some like a moderate amount, some like little to none. The important thing is to communicate with your partner and figure out what she likes and how you can meet her needs while still retaining your individual hairstyle (I'm laughing as I write this).
One of the most hilarious things to happen during the already funny experience of writing this piece was that in the middle of my Facebook thread inquiring as to likes and dislikes, a random man busted in, proclaiming: "If a man shaves his body, he probably shaves his vagina too." That was pretty short-sighted of him, especially considering women were responding to the thread and don't consider the word "vagina" to be pejorative. Ah well, you'll have that in the world of to shave or not to shave . . .
Interested to hear what men think about female body hair? Click here to read what 12 guys have to say about body hair on women.