Friday, May 18, 2007

Being Fuzzy, Being Proud. But As Hot and Hairy As We Like Them, Some Guys Want to Shave Off Their Sexyness

Guys get serious about shaving their bodies
Neely Tucker / Washington Post

Spring, and a young man's thoughts turn to chest hair.

Also, that of the back, the belly, the shoulder and maybe regions farther south. It turns out that there is a hair-removal waxing procedure called the "Boy-zilian," the male equivalent of the Brazilian bikini wax, for which you would have to put your ankle behind your head in order to do it yourself, and we never want to think about that again.

Your chest, back, shoulders. Summer beckons. The pool, the beach. Skin revealed. Worries: Slack gut, man-boobs, back fur, being regarded as a metrosexual. You don't want to be prissy (unless you're into that), and yet you don't want to be so hirsute that some guy comes up to you at the pool, going: "Burt? Burt Reynolds?"

"Body hair is a major category of what guys worry about," says Glenn O'Brien, author of "The Style Guy" and a column by that title for GQ magazine. "It's in the realm of 'What color socks match my shoes and pants?' I could write a column on it every month."

You might be thinking this is a fad. One of those alleged trends like feminists burning their bras back in the day, or maybe like the mullet haircuts on guys in the 1980s.
This is not so.

Consider: Last May, Philips Norelco rolled out the $34.99 Bodygroom BG 2020, a shaver designed to trim or shave body hair. "It blew our sales projections out of the water," says Shannon Jenest, a spokeswoman for the company. "It took off in ways we couldn't imagine. We tripled our original forecast by the end of the year."

Or: Men's Health, a magazine aimed at working guys who work out, has had exactly two guys with chest hair on the cover in the last 17 years, according to Brian Boye, the magazine's fashion and grooming editor.

Or: Last summer, a guy named Brett Marut in Santa Monica, Calif., came out with a thing called Mangroomer. It's essentially a shaver on a stick, designed to enable you to reach around and shave your back. He priced it at $39.95, looking to appeal to guys in Flyover, America, who were too self-conscious to go to a salon to get it done, or even let their friends know they were trying it out. He didn't have much money, so he just put a couple of ads on Internet search engines. It was an instant hit, blossomed at online retailers and, 10 months later, Mangroomer is in every Bed Bath & Beyond in the country.

There's also Nair for Men, which sells for about $5 and promises to get rid of hair in four minutes by rubbing a cream on it.

Waxing, shaving, depilating, lasering men's body hair: It's all part of the beautification of the male animal, an aesthetic that genuflects before the ancient Greeks.
In real life, it is boys, not men, who are devoid of body hair, and for ages one sign of adult male virility was chest hair. To be devoid was to be effeminate. This continued in Western and American pop culture right through the last century. Men never considered grooming below the neck.

Nobody has an exact beginning point, but bodybuilders, starting with, say, Jack LaLanne in the 1940s, would hearken to that Grecian ideal, shaving their bodies for competition, the better for judges to appreciate every oiled and sculpted pec. There's a picture of LaLanne posing beachside about 1950. He looks like he's made out of marble. The only hair visible is on his head.

By the early 1980s, the hairless chest and back was catching on with gay guys. Like earrings, it began to cross over to fashion-conscious straight men, athletes and celebrities, and then into the mainstream.

"When it comes to vanity, gay men have been at the forefront, the trendsetters," Boye says.
"But now, with all the celebrities, magazine covers, the movies, it's appropriate and acceptable for anyone who wants to go bald to do it."
When I had finally thought the hairy musclebear look had returned for good, this article appears. I only hope it is a fad. Hot hairy guys rule. Mega hairy muscle hugs to that, and thankgoodness for our hot hairy muscle studs. Keep that body hair, sexy guys.


Ed said...

You are soooo right! I love a hairy man. The more the better. I have some hair myself but I am a hobbitt sized guy and think the big hairy guys are all that. Give them leather and a bike, Woof!!!You are hawt! Buff, so very hawt!! I hope hair never goes out of style, I know it won't for me.

Lewis said...

I don't have much to worry about. Minimal except in a little in the shorts. For some reason, I dig all kinds of men...smooth, hairy, basically just natural...whatever. And, from time to time, I even wish that I had a little extra here and there. I love you boys no matter the hair percentage!

raindog469 said...

I love how the article claims it's not a fad, but then its justification for how popular it is only goes back about a year.

I think Queer Eye set us up for a wave of body hair removal, and then instead of making men shy away from it again, The 40-Year-Old Virgin made it okay to talk about, maybe even a rite of passage for some guys.

It'll come and go. We had a real renaissance in facial hair for a few years that seems to be sliding back a bit now. Even though I feel a man shaving his face or body is like a woman taping down her breasts to appear less feminine, to the rest of the world it's just a fashion choice.

Youth culture rules America, and unfortunately, that means a lot of men want to be seen as little boys.

JB said...

"It blew our sales projections out of the water"

Philips who-whatty? They're just called "Philips" over here. And I suspect part of the sales projections thing has something to do with the fact that it's advertised in places like Boots via a huge cardboard display involving a hot muscleman with massive abs.

As for the hair issue, well, I don't like my excessive hair, getting it on my back is annoying and it used to be a major issue for me. My genetics seem to be inclined to give me a "mane". Since boyfriend is just as "imperfect" and happy to shave me as I want, that's fine.

I keep the "main areas" but get rid of anything I don't like. Sometimes I'll trim the chest hair, but not too short, just a bit neater. The fact of the matter is that he likes it (a *lot*), and these days I kinda like it too - it's nice to see it poking out of my collar. A lot of gay guys seem to love hair on a guy's chest, so if they like it, I'll keep it. It'd take an age to remove anyway - I have a thicker, more even covering than even you, Buff.

I must confess, though, I used to be majorly into completely hairless musclemen. It took me a while to appreciate a nice hairy chest. Now I love it.

Lemuel said...

Hair rules! definitely!

Andrew said...

Spikey backs are not nice. If it is a hairy back, leave it to be.

Leonard said...

That is a damn shame!! Men should be natural and if it's hairy then even better!! I am Native American, so I am naturally smooth and I get offended when people ask me if I shave, no...I don't. I just don't have any hair, men who shave will eventually have stubble and that is not a good texture to snuggle with! I also don't believe that the more hair you have the more man it makes you, men should be able to just be who they are. I know in high school I got teased 'cause everyone else was growing body hair and I wasn't growing any, well that's ok. Later in life I realized a lot of men like smooth bodies. *grin* Thanks for the article Buff! ;-) peace

Robguy said...

Sexiness has to do with so much more than the amount of body hair. While I don't think that total removal is the sexiest choice, I'm confused by people that think only the hair on one's head should be groomed in any way.

Rob said...

I dated a man for awhile who hated back hair, so I spent a lot of time removing it it was a pain but I did like the look of my hairless back. After he dumped me i kept removing my back hair then one day I said to myself this is stupid I am a man and I have hair on my back if another man does not liek that then it's his problem so I have vowed to let it go natural. Of course now I have met a man with a back that is even hairier than my and even though I was never really turned on by a hairy back on him it is so sexy I woudl never want him to shave his back. Iguess if you love him you will accept him as he is. And as far as I am concerned I woudl take a hairy man over a man who shaves any day. Hairy or smooth if it is natural it is better

Shaney said...

Body hair is just one of the features of the male physique that we have the choice to either like or laothe...How much body hair is considered SEXY depends on whether we like what we see...But most importantly, it is how the person with the body hair feels about it...Personally I think it is sexy! But I could not say how I would feel if I actually had a hairy chest! Would it look good, would I feel ok about it...Groomed body hair just shows that a man is interested in his appearance & wanting to keep it trim & tidy...nothing wrong with that...There are some pretty WILD hairy bodies around in need of some attention...*winks*

BIGMallrat said...

If gay men are the trendsetters, then hairy will be back in a decade.
I prefer "trimmed." Lots of fur kept at a manageable length. :)

Horny Perv said...

I have always preferred hairy bearish men. I remember being 12 years old and hoping to grow a hot, hairy chest like Sean Connery in the early James Bond films. A thick thatch of hair pouring out of the V where the shirt buttons stop below the throat ALWAYS makes me hot. Once, at 14, I even glued crepe hair on my chest with spirit gum to see how it would look. Sadly, I only became moderately hairy myself, except for my ass and legs, which have been EXTREMELY hairy since puberty.

I have nothing against NATURALLY hairless men. I had an 8 year affair with a blond, nordic man who hadn't a strand of hair anywhere but his head and pubes. But when my friends shave or "Manscape" I chastise them severely. I tell them "It's only women who should shave their chests!" I prefer naturally hairy, and never manscape or trim anything below my neck. If you don't like my shaggy bush, go suck someone else.

So great posting.

Tony said...

Aah, the great hair debate. Personally I go nuts for a hairy chest and legs - but inexplicably I'm turned off by back hair. However, I'd never insist that all men should approximate my version of attractive - that's crazy and boring. Body hair also ranges in form - from stiff and wiry to soft and silky, and colour too.

As the body itself has evolved into a 'product' and plastic surgery, teeth whitening and manscaping enter the norm who knows what the next trend will be? Perhaps surgery to make sure our balls hand at the same height?

TOS said...

I would kill for a pill to give me chest hair... Even if it gave me back hair and made me an ogre I'd take it for a furry chest (backhair doesn't bother me, but I have an itchy enough back already!)

How can I be Italian and so smooth chested!?!?!

sissyboi said...

myself i like being smooth but on lots of other guys having hair looks great so its up to the guy if u look good with it keep it its all sexy