Monday, March 29, 2010

Body Hair

Dr. Awesome,

This is gonna be a weird question, and you might have been asked this already. I was looking at your blog and saw that you covered some similar topics already. But never the exactly question I'm posing. Obviously you have stated that it is absolutely awesome and manly to grow a beard, and I agree with you on that. And likewise it is not unmanly to also have a clean-shaven face, though possibly not as manly as having a full-on Viking beard.

But what's your opinion on body hair? I mean what's a guy to do when he wants to balance manliness with attractiveness to women. I've been doing some research, and as far as I can tell, the general consensus is that you don't want any on the back or butt, and none on the stomach. But that you want to keep the leg hair and the chest hair. Personally, I think a man should only have to shave the face and that's it. Women shouldn't expect a guy to be hairless downstairs. But I feel like a hypocrite because I prefer women at least shave their legs.

So what's the deal? Do I go with what's manly or what's attractive? And is it possible to do both at the same time?



I understand that you, being a CrowMagnum, would have some very personal interest in this question. Cave men are typically very hairy individuals, which is part of the supposed humor of those annoying Geico commercials. While I'm talking about cave men, do you remember those old SNL skits with the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer? They were hilarious. I know what I'm YouTubing when I get home tonight. Back on the subject, I'm sure that an abundance of body hair is a subject that hits close to home for you. So I'll try and be as sensitive as possible.

First, you asked a question that poses a false dichotomy. You want to know whether you should go with what is manly, or what is attractive. In truth, what is manly IS what is attractive, so there is no difference between the two. Effeminate, metrosexual men are neither manly nor attractive. Watch five minutes of any show on The CW and you'll see what I mean. These guys may have Y chromosomes, but that's where their masculinity stops. Maybe some women find it attractive for a guy to spend hours in front of the mirror with tweezers chasing individual hairs, I don't know. But I would think most women want a guy who they can count on if a situation ever gets dangerous. These guys are like the yorkshire terriers of the man world...tiny, groomed, full of attitude, and largely worthless. You shouldn't mimic them in any way, ever. They are not attractive; they are pansified.

So we've established that manliness is attractive and that what society says is attractive for a man is utterly ridiculous. But there also are some guidelines when it comes to manly hair, so, as weird as this sounds, let’s take a look at grooming body hair. Where does shaving stop for a manly man? In 99.99% of cases it stops at the face. And even then, I truly recommend always sporting some sort of facial hair, whether it is the Magnum PI-stache or the seasonal Christmas beard. It could be argued that a man should never shave his face, and for some that's a very good option. Occasionally, though, I have wondered if having a beard so manly that woodland creatures make their homes there is really that manly after all...because what is manly about squirrels pooping in your beard? As far as I can tell, not much. But then, what kind of man can’t handle a little squirrel poop? You can see why I'm so torn about this.

But let's move onto the other parts of the body. For the most part no man should shave anything else, especially as you stated “down stairs”. If you have stairs on your body, I think that the coolness of body stairs would totally negate the hair. Now of course there are exceptions to this rule, because sometimes shaving of body hair is really necessary. Surgery, for instance...the last thing you want is hair in a gaping wound, because there is nothing manly about hair lung. There are also rare men who turn into grizzly bears if they don’t shave their backs, chest, ears, toes, legs, etc. For them, some pruning is probably a good idea. It is hard to attract women if they are in constant fear of being mauled, or if you look like somebody stuffed some pants and a shirt with a big roll of shag carpet. Another area it is ok to shave is your nose hair. No one wants to see that enormous hair bulging out of your nose swaying in the wind with each breath you exhale. Trim that junk.

This stuff should all be pretty obvious. The real question is what do you do with the chest, legs, and arms area? For those spots I give you a cautious yet firm NO. What possible reason would you have for doing that? If it is just for appearance, I question why a man should be so caught up in how he looks. You see some athletes like swimmers, track stars, and other spandex loving people that shave these areas. But what is their argument, that having less hair enhances performance? Whatever. I pity the man who is slowed by a few strands of hair. Shaving is just a lazy excuse, like using a performance enhancing hormone made by Gillette. If the hair on your arm is slowing you down, maybe you should just remove the entire arm. A real man would be able to overcome this handicap and still win whatever event he was participating in. Plus, this would be a good excuse to fasten different handy attachments to your shoulder in place of an arm, such a sight level, rocket launcher, or a delicious bowl of queso. One of my He-Man figures when I was little had this capability, and he almost always won every fight he was in, despite his handicap. So other than what we've discussed, there is no reason to ever shave those areas if you are a man. I don’t care if you are a spy at a male gymnast’s sweet 16 birthday sleep over and you are afraid your hairy legs will give you away. If you get caught you must ask yourself 2 questions: 1) what kind information does a 16 year old gymnast possess that I actually need? 2) what information does a gymnast possess that a free ticket to the gun show won't solve?

So as I close, there is no reason besides having surgery or because you look like a family of beavers lives in your clothing that you should ever shave below the head. And as for the “down stairs” area, well, any sport where shaving that would possibly help you is not a sport you want to be involved in. Plus, do you really want razor blades in that area? Yikes. Bottom line, keep the shaving to your face unless you have a very, very good reason not to. The body is a temple, not the back lawn. So don't go mowing everything.

Dr Awesome


ACowardly March 29, 2010 at 4:47 PM  

"Watch five minutes of any show on The CW and you'll see what I mean. These guys may have Y chromosomes, but that's where their masculinity stops."

Clearly you haven't seen "Supernatural", then. Not only are the Winchesters hard-core monster-ass-kickers, the show's willing to address manly behavior such as self-control, purpose, and ethical decisions in some pretty dubious areas.

I admit that I haven't checked them for body hair, so I don't know where they rank on that scale.

Otherwise, kudos for another thoroughly manly reply!

crowmagnumman March 29, 2010 at 8:30 PM  

Supernatural kicks ass. And the Winchesters are pretty hardcore, but admittedly they do look a bit pansified by their complete lack of body hair and Sam's metro hairstyle. But other than that, the CW channel is a pretty good example of metro-sexuality.

And thanks for the answer Dr. Awesome. I agreed with you anyway, but it's good to have some confirmation from the source of manliness itself.

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