Can you get a bird in the hand if you are too far in the bush?

A male acquaintance recently joked that the current fashion for an enormous foliage of facial hair is rendering beards the status of appliances, as opposed to light chin coverage.

Ever other guy over 18 seems to be trying out a facial garden. And we aren’t talking a neatly trimmed lawn or ‘goatee’ here, but a shaggy ‘shipwrecked for a month’ look. A cross between this and a Victorian gentleman akin to Charles Dickens or Bram Stoker, if it wasn’t for the obligatory tattoo sleeve, sockless footwear and earlobe-disfiguring jewellery/bath plugs.

Now, I am all for people expressing their individuality/creativity through their appearance (says the woman who once teamed a long orange cardigan with pink tutu-style skirt in a fit of youthful madness). But this isn’t it, seeing as this style choice is afflicting around 25 per cent of the western male population.

I have yet to meet a woman who is in a relationship with such a species (probably due to the fact that most of my female friends are over 35). If I did I would be tempted to ask some intimate questions, e.g.:

  • How is the kissing process?
  • Does his beard get tangled up with your downstairs beard?
  • Do you spend long evenings picking out from his beard bits of spaghetti/steak/rice/biscuit crumbs?

The second of these questions reminds me of an ex’s comment on a couple on our course at uni. She had auburn hair, his was brown, then he decided to try growing a beard. The beard came out ginger. My then beau whispered in my ear: “You do realise that his beard was brown before they got together…?”

The other downside to this over-cultivation of facial follicles is that it ages a man by ten or 20 years – someone who shaves a beard off often looks baby-fresh, years younger. I suspect the younger chaps often adopt a beard to assume a more mature façade.

And let’s remember that there are some men who look better with a carpeted chin – take Russell Crowe, for example. In my view there are ‘either/or’ people too, such as the genetically-blessed Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp – I would share a tub of posh ice cream with either of them, bearded or nude-faced (them, not me).

Now, don’t get me wrong, readers, I am not against beards per se. A manicured bit of bristle is fine – and I don’t mean ‘designer stubble’ (too George Michael circa 1986) or ‘soul patches’ or the pencil-thin facial hair stripes favoured by some Mediterranean men.

Light, neatly trimmed beards are even quite sexy on the right man; take my 8 or 9 out of ten who featured in last week’s post. It was in no way an untamed bush (behave!) but a perfect frame for his beautiful features – highlighting his lovely mouth and sparkling eyes. The difference in such coverage is that its owners take time to nurture, trim and maintain, in a similar way to some of us care for our ‘downstairs beards’. Although I do hear on the grapevine that, in this bodily region, the bush is back!

A pubic inconvenience?

It is usually coarse and wiry, looks like a pet ferret, sticks out like spiders’ legs from under bikini bottoms and knicker legs and gets stuck in ones teeth at passionate moments…

So why would anyone want pubic hair? It seems that no one these days does want it, including the men. There’s all-off waxing, Brazilians, or just modest bikini waxes, depilatory creams, ‘sugaring’, electrolysis and even the option of vajazzles, if you wish to decorate your newly naked lady bits (but how anyone can ‘go down’ on a jewel-encrusted peacock or unicorn is a mystery).

As a self-proclaimed slut with a curiosity over most things sexual, I am no stranger to the smooth mound. In fact, the act of shaving off all my plumage in the shower is strangely arousing, especially if it’s been growing there a while. The Man also likes to strip down to a pair of smooth plums from time to time. There is the added benefit of the newly shorn area being hyper-sensitive to touch and arousal being heightened (even if the flip side is that it can be a bit sore and prone to a rash).

I do, however, normally stick to a now almost ‘the-least-a-woman-can-do’ bikini wax as I like the way it means everything fits neatly away into my underwear.

But waxing has its side effects – ingrowing hairs which to the untrained eye look like horrible big spots, bright cerise sore bits, tiny rashes and generally ouchy skin. Often this is even less tolerable than the ripping, stripping and stinging sensation that goes hand-in-hand with the waxing process.

According to a recent medical article I stumbled across, all this messing with nature, which has become almost essential to many, is not doing us any good.

It has apparently been medically proven to cause microscopic open wounds, creates a breeding ground for streptoccus, staphylococcus aureus and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to its friends). Boils and abscesses can also pop up.

Pubic hair protects our privates from friction that can cause skin abrasion and injury, bacteria and other nasties. Medical professionals are said to be so convinced by this that they now believe shaving a body part before surgery can actually increase, rather than decrease infections arising from operations.

I will probably continue to carry on as before, but it does suggest we pause for thought before taking to the razor, wax or sugar.

In the 1990s, as I remember it (through a haze of cider and funny cigarettes), no one, apart from the rich and famous or page 3/porn models bothered about their pubes. We were all happy and proud to have big bushes, unless we were going swimming or away somewhere hot when we’d give it a bit of a trim. I even remember a guy telling me I had a ‘fantastic pussy’. Surely the word ‘pussy’ derives from a woman’s furry bits, or at least it should.

I am not about to suggest we all go au naturel, letting our bushes grow down our thighs, plaiting them and adorning them with ribbons and beads. But maybe we go a little easier on them. Maybe just stick to the bikini wax and do the big shave off as a special surprise… Well, it’s Comic Relief soon – do you think they would broadcast a sponsored fanny and balls shave?!