Nearly a decade after the “metrosexual” invaded the mainstream, men are taking grooming to the land down under.
Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that bikini waxing, a torment previously reserved for women, is growing trend among men in the U.S.
And it’s not just the gay men. Mike Indursky, president of Bliss spas, told the New York Times that men of all orientations are forking over one hundred-plus bucks a month for “the Ultimate He-Wax.” But never fear, thrifty men. Manscapers on a budget can find at-home trimmers on pharmacy shelves, and sales are on the rise.
While men give he-waxing glowing reviews, Cosmopolitan writers say they’re “not so sure” about men “having zero hair where there should be at least a little.” After all, body hair is (or was) considered manly. Some women worry that the “boyzilian wax” means that men are becoming, well, more like women.
But clean crotch advocates insist that deforesting the nether regions isn’t feminine at all. “It actually makes you feel more masculine, instead of less masculine, to get waxed,” Indursky told the New York Times. “It sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s not.”
Perhaps the “masculine” feeling comes from the Brazilian wax’s “enlarging effect.” Apparently, clearing the table accentuates the centerpiece.
Waxing isn’t the only surprising way in which men are redefining and reemphasizing “masculine” gender expression. CNN recently reported that modern men are under pressure to follow fashion trends and maintain their figures (sound familiar, female folks?).
The article likens the trend to a “Mad Men revival”—”the return of pomade, polish and of the perfectly cut suit. It stays within the boundaries of masculinity while offering men the option of looking their best.”
Waxing, given its alleged penis-pumping results, falls within that “masculine boundary.” But what makes all-over hairlessness “best” for people of any gender?
Victoria Sherrow, author of Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History, told the Chicago Tribune that women began removing leg hair in ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece.
“Some cultures regarded it as uncivilized, since body hair appears on animal bodies,” Sherrow said. “The idea of a hairless body for American women developed between 1915 and 1945.”
By the turn of the century, female leg and underarm hair was considered unsanitary and deemed an “embarrassing personal problem,” which sounds a lot like the way some modern men are reportedly viewing their pubes.
Men’s grooming expert Pirooz Sarshar told the New York Times that when he sports a naked crotch, “I feel like I’m cleaner, and its more sanitary.”
But sanitary shaving is not, especially not around our genitals. Body hair keeps us warm and protects against infection—we’re still animals, after all.
Yet men have somehow grabbed onto the aesthetic value of hairlessness. Their participation in what used to be a “girls only” club, however, doesn’t mean they’re shooting for “waxing equality.” Remember: the point is to enhance penis size and snatch a fraction of Don Draper’s well-groomed manliness.
No, the “boyzilian wax” doesn’t signal the end of gender. If anything, our obsession with hair removal hearkens the end of humans as we know them. Take one look at the hairless aliens of sci-fi movies and you’ll see that we’re shooting for something post-human, something more perfect (and way creepier) than we are now.