The graphic art in the plastic surgery center’s ad was what caught my eye. It was a large photo of Michaelangelo’s David, one of the most exquisite and realistic depictions of the nude male ever created. In the ad, amateurish airbrushing over his groin area had rendered him anatomically neutered, as smooth and genderless as the Ken dolls of my youth. Under the altered David was the clinic’s slogan, “We think of ourselves as artists with medical degrees.”

I’ve never heard a man express a wish to have his genitals erased, although I have heard of a woman who had numerous surgeries to look more like a Barbie doll. Even she, though, probably didn’t request the services depicted in that ad.

It has become a routine part of regular grooming to remove all body hair. I’ve been told being as slick and hairless as a seal allows swimmers to glide through the water toward a possible Olympic gold medal. Since the closest most of us will get to an Olympic venue is our bathtub, I fail to see the advantage of a hairless body.

If you wait long enough, Mother Nature will take care of your body’s deforestation, since aging brings about graying, then shedding, of most body hair. By your senior years, maybe you could qualify for the Olympics, but only if they add a dog-paddle division. Being a hairless swimmer is not going to make you an expert in the backstroke or the butterfly.

For me, the sole exception to aging hair loss would be my big, hairy, Sasquatch-like feet. There’s enough hair there to stall a lawnmower. A pedicurist would turn me away because, “Sorry, but our Weed-Eater is out of gas,”

One morning, as I lay in bed trying to drag myself from the depths of slumber, I decided a little breeze from the ceiling fan might feel good. I lazily stretched my leg upward, grasped the pull-chain with my toes, and gave it a yank. The chain got caught in the undergrowth. Medical science should formulate a new degree-of-pain chart. Labor Pains? Kidney stones? How about a scale of one to ten, with one being a hangnail and ten being a hairy toe caught in a pull-chain?

My feet are so hairy that I may be responsible for the legend of Bigfoot. Years ago, I became disoriented in a snowstorm. I was wearing a cheap raccoon coat and hat when I stumbled into the septic tank runoff behind Bernie’s Motor Lodge and Bait Shop. I lost my boots in the muck and wandered barefoot in the woods for hours leaving behind my huge bare footprints and a lingering stench. Some hunters followed my trail for miles. When they caught sight of me in the distance, one called to the other, “It’s him! It’s Bigfoot! Help me chase him down and tie him to the hood of the truck!”

I made my escape, but a few days later I saw the hunters on the news, showing the viewers a hunk of my raccoon coat, a plaster cast of my big hairy footprint, and a blurry snapshot of my backside darting through the woods and dodging bullets.

There are only a few methods for removing body hair (on your toes or more sensitive personal areas). All of them are unpleasant. Shaving, though relatively painless, must be repeated often and leaves itchy regrowth and epidermal tactile sensation not unlike 40-grit sandpaper. Plucking them one hair at a time is tedious and painful. Waxing involves pouring hot wax on your genitals, then yanking the hairs out by the roots. I believe this is the origin of the term, “burning bush.”

Once I said to my husband, “Hey, will you put on a mask and then powder and trim my rose bush?” His eyes lit up and he said, “Sure, but I didn’t know you were into that sort of thing, and since when did you start referring to it as your rose bush?”

“I was talking about the rose bush by the garage. It’s infested with bugs and needs a dusting of insecticide and some pruning. Wear a protective mask; it isn’t safe to inhale the insecticide. Geez!”

If I hadn’t clarified that, I suspect he would have come out of the bedroom wearing only a Batman mask and carrying a bottle of talcum powder and a razor.

It isn’t as if only women are dethatching our bodies. Men have jumped onto the bandwagon. When I was young, adolescent males were proud of their body hair. It was visible proof they had survived puberty and were officially “real men.” I once dated a young man so hairy it looked like he was smuggling squirrels in his shirt. If he’d dropped his keys down his shirt, it would’ve taken a team of landscapers with garden rakes and metal detectors to find them.

I personally don’t mind a hairy fella. I look at it as a treasure hunt. You never know what you might find down there. If you’re hungry, and he’s a sloppy eater, sometimes there are potato chip crumbs or even half a deli sandwich down there. Sure, you might have to deal with a few cigarette butts or an empty beer can or two, but occasionally you might scare up a rabbit or a covey of quail.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to put on my pith helmet, fire up my Weed-Eater, and see what I can find.


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